Beaches for Disabled Swimmers in Split Few and Far Between

Total Croatia News

The search for beaches with disabled access in Split.

The summer season is at its peak and many citizens of Split find shelter from oppressive summer heat by putting a towel over their shoulders and going down to the nearest beach. However, for members of the Association of Persons with Disabilities in Split, going to the beach is more challenging, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on August 11, 2015.

The coastal zone of the city beaches is approximately 11 kilometres long, but only about seventy meters belong to the two beaches fully customized for immobile and disabled persons. The first is located on Bene, where we met Senka Mrkonjić, president of the association founded more than 30 years which is committed to the goal of Split becoming a more accessible city. Affectionately called “The Marjan Beauty”, this thirty metres long beach was opened 11 years ago.

“The beginnings were very hard, but we did not give up. At the end, the city accepted the need for this type of beach. With their financial support, we now have at our disposal this beautiful space, ideal for disabled persons and handicapped people, which offers a combination of natural shade from pine trees and terraces for sunbathing”, explained Mrkonjić. With the help of donors, the association bought special cranes which are used to lower people into the sea.

Regular visitors are mainly members of the association, such as Mate Melvan, Vinko Antunac and Nela Norac Kevo, who claim that they are very satisfied with the beach and its accompanying facilities. Swimming and relaxing in the sea means more to some than going to a spa, so many people from continental Croatia and foreigners also come to this beach.

Another beach was opened four years ago on Žnjan, but according to Mrkonjić, there are still some difficulties. Although there are all the necessary infrastructure facilities, it lacks natural shade, and there is only one crane used to lower people into the sea. Also, some of the more ignorant citizens sometimes cause problems. “Other swimmers often do not know that people with disabilities should have priority, so from early morning they take those few parasols which are available there. Of course, the beach is open and everyone is welcome, but it is important that people know and are aware for whom it is primarily intended.”

Although generally satisfied with the shift that has occurred in last twenty years in infrastructure, members of the association say that further progress is very much needed. “The most important thing is to raise awareness of our fellow citizens. In this area we are still on shaky ground, as it is more difficult to deal with barriers in the human mind than architectural barriers. Healthy people often forget that they have the ability to swim wherever they want, while people with disabilities, which make 12 percent of Split population, do not have much choice. But, let’s go step by step”, concluded Mrkonjić.


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