On August 8, 2021, in Calafell, the death of two divers who participated in a diving baptism occurred. 15 days later, a young Portuguese man was on the verge of losing his life in a dive in the breakwater that separates La Pineda beach from Cap Salou.
The two cases focused on why it happened and then if the companies that offered that tourist activity had their papers in order. In the first case, as confirmed by sources from the Generalitat, the company lacked authorization to give baptisms and in the second, the authorization was pending, which did not yet allow diving activities to be offered.
The two events were motivating enough so that this year the controls and surveillance of the diving centers are more persistent, but at the same time they are also trying to detect and close those that do not comply with the norm and put people at risk.
Protocol and controls
The Directorate General for Maritime Policy and Sustainable Fishing has published a “program for monitoring, control, surveillance and inspection of maritime activities in Catalonia”. There are 572 legal companies divided into nautical academies, nautical centers and immersion centers. In this last section, Catalonia has 225 centers, of which 25 are located on the coast of Tarragona, from Cunit to Les Cases d’Alcanar.
Sources from the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, the ministry to which the General Directorate of Maritime Policy and Sustainable Fishing belongs, explain that “Catalonia is one of the territories in Spain where there is great diving activity, behind the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
Although the Illes Medes, on the Costa Brava, is the most frequented spot, the same sources admit that the Costa Daurada and Terres de l’Ebre are in high demand and there are very attractive areas for diving. This implies that companies that offer dives, diving baptisms and specialized courses are located in the territory.
But to be able to offer this possibility to tourism or to the people of the territory, the demand must be maximum. And even more so when the death of the two divers in 2021 brought to light the excessively extensive irregularities that exist in this specific sector of the nautical world.
In Tarragona there are 25 authorized centers, 19 of which are active today (the others may open their doors as summer arrives). One of them is ice seaa business born in 2017 as a sports club (only valid for members) and converted into a specialized tourism company a year later.
Sergio and Pilar are in charge of a team that is made up of four people all year round (expert instructors) and that will be expanded in the summer to absorb the expected tourist demand. In the offices, in the marina of Tarragona, the folders with documentation are always at hand.
“We have already passed an inspection so far this year and we know that many more will come. We have everything at hand to make things easier, be transparent and show that we strictly comply with what is established by the different regulations that govern the sector”, they explain.
The Generalitat has its inspectors, who this year are also coordinated with the Maritime Captaincy. Both teams are the ones that must visit these already accredited centers so that they comply with the regulations. However, from the Tarragona company they emphasize that these exhaustive controls must be extended to all the companies that offer these diving services to detect those that do not comply and close them if necessary.
From the Generalitat it is admitted that courses have been carried out to train Mossos and there are also units in the Civil Guard, competent on the coast, to monitor these activities. The same sources recognize that it is a necessary job and that it must have the collaboration of everyone, including clients. And remember that the only legal centers are in this official page.