About Blue Flag

Promoting Sustainable Development through Environmental Education

The Blue Flag award is given to beaches, marinas, and tourism boat operators who comply with stringent environmental, educational, safety and access related criteria annually. The program has been operating internationally since 2001 and involves a collaborative effort between government and local communities to implement.

The program aims to increase environmental education and multi-stakeholder engagement; promote healthy and safe coastal environments, sound environmental values, and sustainable lifestyles; and encourage ongoing organizational development, integration of conservation and development, and appropriate policies and decisions.

Environmental Education

The Blue Flag program’s main mission is to connect the public with coastal environments through environmental education opportunities at all sites.


Stringent criteria, independent reporting, and periodic spot checks encourage compliance and excellence at sites.

Environmental Management

Management of criteria by appropriate local, state, and federal partners ensures consistent standards.

Safety and Services

Applicants agree to provide safe public access to the environment by participating in the program.

Important Note

When owners/operators of beaches, marinas and boats are awarded the right to display the Blue Flag, it is because they have satisfied FEE that they complied at the time of award with a number of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria. Following the award, the owners/operators accept full responsibility to ensure continued compliance with all of these criteria. While FEE may carry out checks of sites from time to time, neither FEE, nor any of its officers, members or jury members accept any responsibility to any person in the event of any non-compliance.

Program Background

Foundation for Environmental Education

FEE is the largest non-governmental environmental education organization, operating five programs in 77 member countries. FEE’s guiding principle is Promoting Sustainable Development through Environmental Education worldwide. Along with Blue Flag, FEE produces Green Key, an eco-award for accommodation and hospitality facilities. Their other programs include: Learning About Forests, Young Reporters, and Eco-Schools.

Visit their website for information on each program, history of the organization, reports, and more.

Blue Flag International

The Blue Flag program mission is to:

promote and participate in environmental education programmes for the users of beaches, marinas and boating operators.

implement sound safety and environmental management systems.

monitor environmental conditions to reduce the impact of human activity at the beaches, marinas and boating operators.

commit to partnerships and collaborative action to promote the sustainable development of tourism.

Learn more about the history, international staff and jury, and the entire network on their website.

Blue Flag and the Sustainable Development Goals

The Blue Flag criteria  contribute to many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Find out how the criteria and sites around the world are making concrete impacts on the Blue Flag global website.