An MHK is calling for local authorities to get their beaches designated.

This would mean more areas of the island would be earmarked as safe places to swim.

According to the UK government website, a bathing water is ‘a coastal or inland water that attracts a large number of bathers in relation to any infrastructure or facilities that are provided, or other measures that are taken, to promote bathing at the site.

‘There’s no set limit for how many bathers are needed for a site to be identified as a bathing water.

‘A bathing water could be a coastal water in a large resort or a smaller site attracting a large number of bathers for its size.’

Local authorities usually apply for designation.

Rushen MHK Dr Michelle Haywood is a political member of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), is a marine biologist by trade and owns Discover Diving in Port St Mary.

She does not understand why more local authorities haven’t signed up for DEFA officers to designate their beaches. Once a beach is designated, a sign will be displayed with the water quality, and other information.

For example, it may provide information about any facilities at the site that support and promote bathing, such as: ease of access to the site, public toilets, changing facilities, parking or public transport, lifeguards, first aid service and cafes, shop or kiosks.

Speaking to Manx Radio, Dr Haywood said: ‘The designated bathing beach is purely about saying to people “this is the beach, this is the environment you’re in, these are the things to look out for, and this is the assessment of the water quality”.’

Some beaches are already designated, including Port Erin and Douglas.