The Blue Flag is a prestigious eco-label award given by the Foundation of Environmental Education to beaches, marinas or boats across 49 different countries. Seeing a Blue Flag on a beach or at a marina symbolizes that the utmost care goes into maintaining that area along with ensuring the safety of and educating those who use it. The Blue Flag has been an international award since 1987 and there are currently 3,466 awarded beaches and 688 awarded marinas with the Blue Flag award worldwide.
The Blue Flag is awarded yearly based on 33 individual criteria in the categories of Environmental Education and Information, Water Quality, Environmental Management, and Safety and Services. The international Blue Flag jury that reviews each application is comprised of representatives from many of the worlds environmental agencies including the World Tourism Organization, the United Nations Environment Program, the International Lifesaving Federation, the European Union for Coastal Conservation, the European Environmental Agency, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an Environmental Education expert, the International Council for Marine Industry Associations, and the Foundation for Environmental Education. All Blue Flags are awarded by the jury for one season at a time, with the Blue Flag season in the territory running from December 1st through June 30th. If the strict criteria is no longer fulfilled or the conditions change the flag may be withdrawn.
What does is really mean to earn a Blue Flag award? The beaches, marinas and boats that earn this award are meeting or exceeding global standards in amenities, safety, water quality, and environmental standards. The Blue Flag program strives to encourage authorities and managers to provide marinas and beaches that maintain high environmental quality, cleanliness, and safety standards. Across the U.S. Virgin Islands, we currently have six Blue Flag destinations, three of which are here on St. Croix!
The Palms at Pelican Cove received the Blue Flag award on December 1st of 2011, making it the first beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands to receive this prestigious award. Located on the North Shore of St. Croix, the beach at The Palms at Pelican Cove boasts a beautiful stretch of sand, a great snorkeling spot with Long Reef just yards away, lounge chairs, a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, a full service bar, bathrooms and handicap accessibility. The beach at The Palms at Pelican Cove has continued to be awarded the Blue Flag designation each year since 2011.
Green Cay Marina, located on the Northeast Coast, was awarded St. Croix’s second Blue Flag award on December 1st of 2012. The marina is part of Tamarind Reef Resort and offers safe harbor, close proximity to Buck Island National Park along with quality amenities and friendly staff. Amenities include fueling, potable water, bath facilities, laundry, shore power, two restaurants and full resort privileges for visiting and live-aboard yachts. Green Cay has continued to be awarded the Blue Flag designation each year since 2012.
Green Cay Beach at Tamarind Reef was awarded it’s first Blue Flag award on December 1st of 2015. Also part of Tamarind Reef Resort, this beach affords beautiful views of both Green Cay and Buck Island. This small stretch of well maintained beach boasts rows of towering palms and amenities galore including fantastic snorkeling right off the beach, lounge chairs and cabanas, hammocks, a volleyball court, restrooms, a beach bar and grill, and a beach shack that rents water sports equipment.
Congratulations to The Palms at Pelican Cove and Tamarind Reef Resort, Spa & Marina for earning the Blue Flag designation. We appreciate the hard work you do to keep this eco-label, and to keep your beaches and marina’s cleaned, your amenities maintained, and everything up to the global environmental standards that the Blue Flag represents. Keep up the good work!