Beach closure rumours denied
PHUKET: Rumours that Patong Beach is to be closed until the bad weather clears have been denied by officials.
Friday 8 June 2012, 04:13PM
Visit Jirametakorn, chief of Patong’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office (DPM), told The Phuket News today (June 7), “No. The beach will not be closed.
“These are normal conditions for this time of year, with waves surging right up to the beachfront.
“We have erected red ‘no swimming’ flags and lifeguards are standing by at three points. If they see tourists going to swim, they will warn them not to.”
In Kata and Karon the situation is similar. Suphachai Chanphet, the deputy chief of Karon DPM said, “The weather is really not at all suitable for swimming, but we have no legal power to stop tourists from doing so.
“If the weather improves sufficiently, the lifeguards will erect yellow-and-red flags 30 metres apart and direct people to swim in the sea between these flags.”
Mr Suphachai added that although the authorities do have the legal power to close beaches, “It is not our policy to do so because we have life guards everywhere”.
Prathaiyoot Cheuyuan, President of the Phuket Lifeguards Club, stressed that even with red flags erected everywhere, the beaches are still manned with a full complement of life guards.
However, he said, this morning a group of about 20 tourists all dashed into the water at the same time, in an area of Kata Beach that is covered by only three life guards.
"It's very difficult to deal with a large group like this," Mr Prathaiyoot said. "I just wish that tourists would comply with the red flags and listen to the lifeguards."
He added that the Club and the DPM have been discussing whether to ask the police to back up life guards when they are trying to keep tourists out of the water.