Camboriú Beach has a sea with more waves and sandbanks after work

VINICIUS KONCHINSKI

CURITIBA, PR (FOLHAPRESS) – With the widening of the sand strip of Praia Central de Balneário Camboriú, in Santa Catarina, bathers and firefighters noticed the presence of sandbanks and sea currents more frequently. The change may have made the sea more agitated, with more waves.

The Fire Department reinforced its staff in space to avoid drowning and the need for rescues. The work has already generated controversy, with the case of women who got stuck in the sand strip and that of a homeless man found inside a pipe.

Movement of people on the central beach of Balneário Camboriú (SC), at the end of 2021. The beach underwent a process of enlargement. (Photo: Flávio Tin/iShoot/Folhapress)

“The work changed the characteristics of the beach”, said Captain Marcus Vinicius Abre, deputy commander of the 13th Military Fire Battalion, which serves the beach.

“There are more sandbars and some rip currents where none exist.”

The work to widen the sand strip was completed in December and has become a new tourist attraction in the city.

According to Mayor Fabrício Oliveira (Podemos), the project of more than R$ 66 million contributed to the occupancy of hotels in the city to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Lifeguards heard by the report, however, say that bathers who pass by the beach since its reopening have to deal with stronger waves and a bottom that is no longer as regular as before.

“The waves on Praia Central reached the shore very light, dissipated. As the sand advanced to the bottom, now the wave arrives with more force”, said a firefighter, who did not want to be identified. “The risk for the bather has increased.”

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The expansion made the strip of sand enter about 45 meters towards the ocean. Before the work, the bather walked for approximately 25 meters from the boardwalk to the sea. Today, he gets his feet wet after walking 70 meters.

The difference is due to the transfer of 2.5 million cubic meters of sand removed 15 kilometers from the coast to the seaside. The process also made the slope of the sand strip at the bottom of Praia Central steeper, making it easier for bathers to access deeper areas.

Before the widening of the shore, on average, every 70 meters walking towards the ocean, the bather sank one meter into the sea. Today, according to the most current data from the city hall, to sink one meter, it is necessary to walk about 50 meters.

Engineer Rubens Spernau, former mayor of Balneário Camboriú, was the coordinator of the work to expand the sand strip. He said the change in the slope of the bottom of Praia Central was expected. In fact, according to the project, it could be even greater: an increase of one meter in depth every 20 meters.

Also according to Spernau, every work on beaches needs a period of accommodation. In the case of Santa Catarina beach, this period can be up to one year. Until then, he hopes that the beach will resume characteristics closer to natural ones.

Today, however, the engineer admits that the bathing potential of Praia Central is not the same: “It does have more waves. And the waves arrive with more energy in the bathing area.”

“Every work has its impact. In the case of Balneário Camboriú, there is a change in bathing, but we are very satisfied with the overall result”, said João Acácio de Oliveira Neto, engineer and president of DTA Engenharia, one of the companies contracted to expand the beach.

Surfer and teacher Waldemar Wetter, 59, sees the overall balance of the project as positive. He has been going to Praia Central for decades and has run a surf school there for seven years. Wetter only stressed that, after the enlargement, the attention with the students had to be redoubled.

“The sea got a little more radical”, described.

“To give lessons to beginners, it got a little more complicated. Children also need more supervision.”

Adriano Trinca Ferro, 41, a professional surfer, also noticed the change in the waves. He stated that, for those who practice surfing, the change is positive. But he acknowledged that it may not please bathers. “The beach started to have stronger waves.”

Captain Abre stated that, taking into account the new conditions of the beach and also an increase in the number of tourists after its reopening, the Fire Department changed its strategy of action on the site.

According to him, last summer, on days of great movement of bathers, up to 60 lifeguards worked in Balneário Camboriú. This summer, that number reaches 70, with about 45 focused on serving the Central beach.

Part of these lifeguards monitor the sea and bathers from 12 chairs installed this season closer to the seaside. The equipment helps firefighters stay closer to the water as the fixed stations ended up staying away from the water with the widening of the beach.

Also according to Abre, as the extension of the beach was inaugurated in December, there is not enough data and time to know how the new sea conditions impacted the number of rescues and drownings.

He said that climatic elements, such as La Niña, can also have their consequences. He also recalled that the lifeguards’ idea is to guide bathers and signal the beach precisely to avoid occurrences.

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