Classifieds 50% off, use promo code FBkpkPromo The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News Phuket News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Waiting for support: Phuket lifeguards pitch plan to Deputy PM to go pro

PHUKET: The International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) has submitted its plan directly to Deputy Prime Minister Gen Thanasak Patimapragorn to upskill Phuket lifeguards to world standard and make the critical life-saving service a professional career on the island.

tourism, marine, death, accidents,

The Phuket News

Saturday 29 April 2017, 08:00AM

Phuket lifeguards stand at the ready. More than 700 foreigners were rescued by the island's lifesavers at beaches along the west coast in just the past year alone. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot
Phuket lifeguards stand at the ready. More than 700 foreigners were rescued by the island's lifesavers at beaches along the west coast in just the past year alone. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

Deputy PM Thanasak specifically asked Phuket’s lifeguards during an inspection tour of Phuket last month. “I am here today to see the situation and hear their concerns in person. It is the main purpose of my visit,” Gen Thanasak told The Phuket News during that visit.

“Make a list of what you need for me,” Gen Thanasak told Phuket Lifeguard Chief Prathaiyuth Chuayuan in no uncertain terms.

In response, the Surin-Bangtao Surf Lifesaving Club, in conjunction with the International Surf Lifesaving Association, this week issued a 33-page improvement plan directly to Deputy PM Thanasak.

In the accompanying letter, ISLA President Henry Reyes describes the plan as “an urgent and necessary step that should be considered immediately, to prevent needless loss of life.

“The arrival of the monsoon in May is the beginning of Phuket’s ocean danger season. Therefore, your immediate support to help modernize and improve Phuket’s lifesaving forces is respectfully requested.”

The plan specifically lists as its aims to 1) Improve beach safety for lifeguards and visitors; 2) Reduce ocean drowning at lifeguarded beaches (Laem Singh, Surin, Bangtao, Layan); 3) International certification for all Surin-Bangtao SLSC lifeguards; Mett international standards for operations and equipment; and 4) Educate the public about water safety.

“The goal… is to use government sponsored ‘Lifeguard 4.0’ upgrades to reduce drowning and injury at our beaches by 50% within three years,” the plan states.

Testament to the importance of the service Phuket’s lifeguards provide, from March 19 last year through to Jan 20 this year, the island’s lifeguards rescued 755 people – 49 Thais and 706 foreigners. However, they were unable to save four people from watery deaths during that period.

Gen Thanasak’s visit to Phuket last month was in response to Mr Reyes appealing directly to Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha. Citing hundreds of drownings in Phuket in recent years and little improvement over the past 10 years, Mr Reyes called the ongoing deaths at Phuket’s beaches an “epidemic”.

Mr Reyes also pointed out that many of the victims were tourists from Australia, China, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom, the United States and other countries.

“During the monsoon season from May to November, dangerous ocean currents are created by strong winds and waves. These waves and currents make Phuket’s ocean waters extremely dangerous for beach patrons, especially those with little or no ocean swimming experience,” Mr Reyes wrote.

“Since 2010, hundreds of international visitors and Thai citizens have drowned in the ocean waters surrounding Phuket. According to the Thai Ministry of Public Health, drowning is the leading cause of death of Thai children under 16 years old…

“It is also a leading cause of death among tourists in Phuket,” he added.

C and C Marine

Mr Reyes’ appeal in turn was in response to impending budget cuts by the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO) to reduce lifeguard funding by 10%, despite the poor support they already receive.

Budget cuts by the PPAO and stalling on offering the annual contract to provide the critical service in years past has seen protracted negotiations leave Phuket’s beaches unguarded as the annual “drowning season” begins in May, when the southwestern monsoon whips up dangerous surf along Phuket’s west coast.

The detailed plan issued this week asks for immediate purchase of lifesaving facilities and equipment, and urges all sectors to work together to improve Phuket’s public safety image, and save more lives.

“…funds spent on lifeguard service to protect beach tourists and tourism are not simply expenses, they are an investment to support a wide range of profitable tourism businesses, which in turn supply thousands of local jobs,” Mr Reyes explained.

“We should work together to improve Phuket’s lifeguard service, because it is good for everyone: businesses, tourists, and Thai citizens alike.”

By November this year, ISLA also expects to raise over B1 million to fund a humanitarian lifeguard project for Phuket.

“Project Thailand” will bring 12 professional lifeguard trainers from around the globe to provide advanced training, and donate equipment critically needed to save more lives, the plan explains.

Mr Prathaiyuth told The Phuket News on Wednesday (April 26), “We need more – and better – rescue equipment to better perform our duties. Most importantly, we need proper lifeguard towers on every beach to improve beach surveillance. We can’t just use tents like we do now, especially in the rainy season.”

He added, “Every Phuket lifeguard should have professional skills and knowledge and be trained to recognised standards under the qualifications framework in how to respond in emergencies.

Mr Prathaiyuth noted his appreciation the role Australian lifeguards have played over the years in training Phuket’s lifeguards. “Each year our lifeguards receive training from Australian surf life savers, and this training improves our skills,” he said.

However, making Phuket’s lifeguards a professional service remained a top priority, Mr Prathaiyuth said.

“My main goal is to provide staff accommodation, effective equipment and a respectable salary for Phuket’s lifeguards. If this can be done, then people will become interested in becoming a lifeguard and apply for the job. Then we have choose our staff, those with strong motivation and a passion for becoming a lifeguard,” he explained.

“All this will help to save more people’s lives in Phuket,” he added.



The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments

Phuket officials exasperated over dumping in Karon

How about remote controlled CCTV Cams, directed on the spots, from high elevation in trees or light masts? Zoom in on the culprits, catch them, 2000 ...(Read More)

‘I was framed,’ school chief swears

Jor12,the misreading/not understanding was regarding Kurts comment.I absolutely agree with your opinion....(Read More)

‘I was framed,’ school chief swears

Jor12, the article also states "The case first drew the attention of the media after one parent circulated a video clip allegedly showing the sch...(Read More)

Phuket officials to patrol Rawai pier to check for begging sea gypsy kids

Jor12... Collusion:secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy in order to deceive others. Once again, not the correct usage, and I did NOT say coll...(Read More)

‘I was framed,’ school chief swears, it says nothing at all about the Director, only a denial and being a well organised plot. "The director WAS SAID to have had his depu...(Read More)

Tons of rubbish cleared in Phuket airport beach clean-up

Paully44...merely commented on your illogical post. Don't know how you arrive at your conclusion. If you have any evidence you should be doing som...(Read More)

Phuket officials to patrol Rawai pier to check for begging sea gypsy kids

Rorii..there is no evidence of collusion by parents. However, if there is, it lends further credence to my analysis of the kids being entrepreneurial ...(Read More)

Fears for thousands of tower block residents after London inferno

Let's hope that Thai Government also looks into cladding ( outer coverings) of high rise buildings. It will give peace of mind when the thai Gove...(Read More)

Phuket officials to patrol Rawai pier to check for begging sea gypsy kids

Sounds noble. Could it be though that these officially non-thai citizens / children... are not sharing a cut of thier earnings with..... Aaaaah. ...(Read More)

Tons of rubbish cleared in Phuket airport beach clean-up

Kurt; I'm well aware of the antics but have to correct him. Jor 12; your assertion that is must be a foreigner whom can't read the Thai langua...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
Weird World
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.