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News

A beach cleaner for the Caribbean

29 March 2021

On the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, a Cherrington 5500 is being used to make the pristine beaches even cleaner and safer. The self-propelled beach cleaner from Kässbohrer is the result of an international fundraising campaign with the goal of eliminating the debris from hurricane Irma and seasonally occurring seaweed accumulations. The idea is to allow the vacation destination to once again offer its guests unforgettable hours on pristine beaches.

The bi-national island of St. Maarten / St. Martin is divided between The Netherlands and France. In 2017, a TripAdvisor survey declared St. Maarten one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world. For years it has been ranked as the number 1 Caribbean cruise destination on Cruisecritic.com. A recent survey among 10,000 visitors in 2019 identified the thirty-seven pristine beaches as the most important points of interest.

Hurricane Irma had a devastating effect on the island. The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) took the initiative and purchased a beach cleaner to sustain tourism. The most important international donors include the international Rotary Disaster Relief fund, Rotary Club of Sint Maarten, Port St. Maarten, Rotary Club St. Maarten Mid-Isle, the Oyster Bay Beach Resort and Owners Association of the Coral Beach Club. 

The Director of the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), Mr. Wyb Meijer, and the General Manager of the Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Ricardo Perez, give thanks to all their partners. In their words, "We are grateful for the wonderful effort and the support from Kässbohrer – BeachTech, which assisted our fundraising activities from Europe. Without help from them and other foreign supporters, the purchase of the beach cleaner would not have been possible."

The three-wheel design makes the Cherrington 5500 particularly agile. The cleaning system uses a conveyor unit to guide the sand across a riddle screen. The sand is screened, making sure that the beach is clean and safe – no matter whether it is wet or dry. Thanks to its high-performance turbo diesel engine, a propulsion drive with three hydrostatic wheel motors ensuring optimum power transmission, as well as its low-pressure tires, the BeachTech 5500 can be used on various beaches and locations with extreme versatility.

On the beaches of St. Maarten, the Cherrington 5500 will be used to screen the sand for potentially hazardous debris left over from hurricane Irma. In addition, the Cherrington 5500 will make it easier to clean the seasonal sargassum seaweed accumulation. The Cherrington is operated by a Beach Cleaner Foundation incorporated specifically for this purpose. The personnel working with the BeachTech beach cleaner will be trained in its operation and maintenance starting in February.

The Cherrington 5500 for St. Maarten is the outcome of an extraordinary international alliance of private organizations, local agencies and the manufacturer. Our local partner - MAISON DE LA GUADELOUPE ET DES ÎLES - has also been very supportive of this project. Regular cleaning will restore the beach – the world-famous number one asset of the island – to the pristine state that vacationers expect to find it in.