The swimming season opens officially today (Friday) and the city of Haifa declares that its beaches are ready for action, reports www.local.co.il. The city said it was spending NIS 23 million annually to maintain and operate the Dado, Hacarmel, Bat Galim, Hashaket and Kiryat Haim beaches, and that in preparation for the coming swimming season it had repaired and upgraded life-saving towers, toilet facilities, the promenade and other beach installations. According to the report, Haifa has some 17 km of beaches, 3.5 km of them "recognized" swimming beaches equipped with life-saving stations and other facilities. All the beaches open today for the swimming season, except for the segregated (religious/secular) beach at Kiryat Haim, which will open from May 31. The report said that Haifa's beaches contain a total of 13 life-saving towers - three at Kiryat Haim, two at Bat Galim, one at Hashaket, two at Hacarmel and five at the Dado and Zamir beaches in the south of the city - and that in line with requirements by the Interior Ministry the towers would be manned between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the swimming season. It said 41 trained life-savers would work at Haifa's beaches, and that they would have three jet-skis available to assist in rescues, placed at Hacarmel, the South Dado and Kiryat Haim beaches. A municipal spokesman said the city was aiming to turn the beaches into a focal point for events during the summer, with concerts, sporting competitions, dances and other activities to be held there.