Marbella plans to fine tourists €750 if they urinate in the sea – but how will they enforce it?

The ‘sea peeing’ regulations will apply to 25 beaches in the Malaga municipality (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The ‘sea peeing’ regulations will apply to 25 beaches in the Malaga municipality (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A popular Spanish holiday resort plans to serve tourists caught urinating in the sea a hefty fine under stricter summer rules for holidaymakers.

Marbella is cracking down on paddlers peeing in the sea to preserve the cleanliness of beaches on the Costa del Sol coastline.

A €750 (£634) fine will be imposed on 25 beaches in the Malaga municipality – a favourite with British tourists.

The city council in Marbella approved the initial plans on Friday (21 June) as part of efforts to limit the damage caused by the high footfall of tourists in the summer season.

Previously, a 2004 legislation saw bathers who committed similar infractions face fines of up to €300 (£254).

The new proposal – more than double the previous maximum fine – must pass a public consultation before it can become law.

It is unclear how holidaymakers guilty of “physiological evacuation at sea and on the beach” will be identified by on-duty lifeguards in order for them to enforce the fine.

Swimmers aren’t the only ones facing tighter regulations, with an emphasis on keeping dogs out of the water and on dog-designated beaches outlined in the new measures.

As part of the push for better beach safety, playing with a ball in the water, reserving areas with parasols and public events without prior authorisation will also be prohibited in the Malaga region.

Smoking has not been banned on the Spanish sands, however, tourists caught littering cigarette butts or food scraps risk picking up a fine.

It’s not the first Spanish beach town to hold tourists urinating as they swim accountable.

In 2022, the city council in Vigo, Galicia, passed legislation slapping a fine of €750 (£645) on anyone caught short while in the shallows.

Under the rules, public urination in beach areas was made a “minor infraction” and “an infringement of hygiene and sanitary regulations”.

Elsewhere, visitors to Benidorm could also face fines up to €1,200 (£1,025) for setting foot on the sands between the hours of midnight and 7am, with swimming, sleeping and camping on the beach also strictly forbidden.

The heaviest fine you can receive is for smoking on the beach, a penalty of €2,000 (£1,700), and the use of soap and shampoo while showering can see tourists fined £560.

Similar rules on using soap and shampoo in beach showers and smoking on beaches are commonplace throughout Spain.

Smoking was also banned on a number of beaches across Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca ahead of summer 2023.