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Safe swim zones set up off Phuket after Chinese tourist death

PHUKET: The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) has started installing safe swim zones and moving large buoys from protected areas at the Koh Khai islands off Phuket to better protect the reefs from the hordes of tourists that visit the popular sites.

accidents, Chinese,

Chanida Summast

Saturday 16 July 2016, 08:00AM

DMCR officers began moving buoys at Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui and Koh Khai Nai, all a handful of kilometres off Phuket’s east coast, yesterday (July 14).

“Today (July 15), we started moving the big buoys that fishing and large tour boats use because they were too close to shore and inside the swimming zone,” said DMCR Phuket Director Suchart Rattanareangsri.

At low tides, the bottom of large boats hit the shallow reefs, said Mr Suchart. “Also, some captains were dropping their anchors in the area, which was also causing damage to the reefs,” he said.

DMCR officers are also installing more buoys for smaller boats to use, Mr Suchart said.

“We have started installing more smaller buoys at Koh Khai Nok first, and we hope to finish there by next week,” he said.

“The buoys are outside the safe swimming zone so boat captains can safely drop off and pick up their guests,” explained Mr Suchart.


“We do not allow boats and jet-skis to come inside the safe zone for tourists’ safety and also to protect our reefs,” he added.

Maps of the zones where tourists can swim safely and and where tour boats can tie up to buoys will be available soon, Mr Suchart added.

“After we have finished, we will create a map to let tourists and tour operators know what and where they can and cannot do while visiting these islands, and we will continue working to enforce the rules,” he said.

The move to protect corals at the three Koh Khai islands follows a crackdown on tourist activities at the popular sites late last month. (See story here.)

The installation of safe swim zones also follows the death of 18-year-old Chinese tourist Li Yuheng after he suffered fatal slash wounds inflicted by a speedboat propeller while he was on a tour to Phi Phi Island last week. (See story here.)



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Ed Sanders | 16 July 2016 - 14:35:40

Agree with Skip... more measures developed by clueless officials because they think it shows people that they are doing something...but we know it is nonsense. So after 2 recent accidents that resulted in 3 Chinese deaths, all caused by reckless untrained morons, Thai officials come up with stringing bouys in overcrowded swimming and boating zones.  Within a week this silly measure will not be a consideration to anyone, particularly reckless, untrained and incompetent boat drivers and tour operators.  PN, I would also like to know what country sends the most tourists home in boxes or urns.  Thailand has to be near the top in exporting tragedy.

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skip | 16 July 2016 - 13:14:46

yeah sure, there going to police it...haha. yeah sure there going to maintain it ..haha. safe tourism in thailand is a fairy tale and mr magoo is watching over it. the damage to chinese tourism is done already, thank god for thailand that there are 1500 million chinese. phuket will only be "FIXED" when tourism is on its knees and the money runs out.i wonder collectively how many non thais die in phuket every year from safety related issues. any one know ?

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