Lonely Planet Writer

Outlawed moonlight swims may soon be a possibility thanks to a new invention on Dubai beaches

Swimming at night is currently forbidden at night on Dubai’s beaches, but this may soon change thanks to a bright new invention. The game-changer is that the first two “smart poles” have landed on Umm Suqeim Beach 1, and they provide high-intensity lighting on the shores to illuminate the beach area after sunset.

View from Umm Suqeim beach. Image: Maremagnum
View from Umm Suqeim beach. Image: Maremagnum

Located almost a kilometre away from the Burj Al Arab, the poles generate electricity using solar and wind energy and have been installed on a pilot basis. They have been designed by Dubai-based company, D Idea Media, who are responsible for other smart installations on the beach, in partnership with Dubai Municipality.

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These installations include two smart palm Wi-Fi and charging stations and two smart changing rooms, which allow beach-users to change somewhere lockable and private. Each dressing room has an alarm feature that sounds if the door is locked and there is no motion detected inside for five minutes, thus alerting authorities of a potential medical emergency inside.

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The aim of all of this innovation is to turn Umm Suqeim 1 Beach into the “smartest beach in the world,” according to local media organisation, Gulf News. It reports that the pilot project has been initiated so authorities can consider allowing night swimming, which is currently forbidden for safety reasons. Now that the smart poles produce a light strong enough to illuminate the sea, it opens up that possibility. The new power poles are made of fibre-reinforced polyester and are able to produce 1.5kW of energy per day, and they use sensors to automatically turn on with the sunset.

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The poles will have digital screens that display when swimming is, or isn’t, safe. If the pilot project is successful, the aim is install more poles on Dubai’s beaches, which could possibly lead to legal and safe night-time swims.