Spanish city Vigo introduces new fine to stop tourists peeing in the sea

One of the islands just off the coast of Vigo
How those disobeying the 'no pee' rules will be identified hasn't been announced. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwis hoping to banish the winter blues with a Spanish beach break better hope they're not caught short, as it could cost them a pretty packet.

That's because one Spanish city has introduced a €750 (NZ$1245) fine for anyone caught having a pee in the sea.

Authorities in Vigo, a city in the northern Galicia community, have announced that "physiological evacuations in the sea or on the beach" will be considered a breach of health and hygiene laws.

Vigo is on the north-west coast of Spain and has a number of beaches on the Atlantic coast.

The beach bylaw update also includes fines for using soap or shampoo in the water, while barbecues and other fire hazards are also banned. Smoking will be banned on certain beaches too, according to reports.

Exactly how authorities plan on monitoring such "evacuations" hasn't been revealed, although they have said public lavatories will be installed on beaches in high season. 

International research data and analytics company YouGov, which conducts public polls, suggested nearly half of all Brits could find themselves in trouble under the new rules.

"Tourists caught urinating on the beach or in the sea at the Spanish town of Vigo will face a £645 fine," it tweeted.

"Potential bad news for the 48 percent of Britons who have weed in the sea, although how they'd get caught is anyone's guess…"

It then shared a graph showing 68 percent of those polled had relieved themselves outside in a rural area, 54 percent had done so in the shower and 12 percent had done it in a sink.

Another user tweeted that their "mind boggled" at trying to work out how authorities would manage the rules.

"There's an old saying about not passing laws that you can't enforce," they said.

Spain has some strict local laws around beaches, with San Pedro del Pinatar also banning urinating in the sea alongside nudity, playing with bats and balls and using a towel to reserve a spot.

The country has also been clamping down on beachgoers who wander the streets in their bikinis and swimming trunks.

"Some local councils will impose fines if you're caught wearing swimwear on the seafront promenade or the adjacent streets," the UK government's travel advice says.