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Dangerous surf warning issued as Phuket beaches reopen

Dangerous surf warning issued as Phuket beaches reopen

PHUKET: As all Phuket beaches reopened to visitors today (June 9), lifeguards along the west coast warned all people thinking of going into the water to swim to do so only between the yellow flags, and to avoid entering the water at all where red “No Swimming” flags have been posted due to dangerous rip currents.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 9 June 2020, 05:56PM

A lifeguard at Naiharn beach plants a warning flag to advise swimmers of dangerous conditions as beaches reopened today (June 9) across the island. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot.

A lifeguard at Naiharn beach plants a warning flag to advise swimmers of dangerous conditions as beaches reopened today (June 9) across the island. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot.

“Due to the monsoon season the waves are strong and the beach is still polluted with garbage that has washed up from the sea,” Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup told The Phuket News sister paper Khao Phuket.

Mayor Chalermluck explained that the municipality has prepared beach areas as best as possible although conditions may not be as ideal as they could or should be.

“We welcome all visitors to the Patong area and beach, now that the beach is open again although we must stress this is the monsoon season and I urge visitors to follow the ‘new normal’ rules,” she said.

“Please do not congregate in groups. We must safeguard against any return of the COVID-19 situation occurring again as this has had a hugely detrimental impact on the economy, on many businesses and the image of tourism.”

Mayor Chalermluck acknowledged the likelihood of new tourists coming anytime soon is remote due to Phuket International Airport remaining closed but did stress that she has urged Patong lifeguards to be extra diligent with tourists that remain and live in the area. She explained that she has requested the lifeguards to observe water safety measures and to ensure people adhere to social distancing and face mask regulations.

“People must wear a face mask when they are on the beach. Officials will also be inspecting beach chairs and any massage stations at the beach to ensure the rules are respected and implemented fully,” she explained.

Patong Surf Life Saving Chief Somprasong Sangchart reiterated the point about the fierce weather conditions brought about by the monsoon and also urged extra caution before entering the water.

“Please observe the yellow and red flags, and obey any instructions from lifeguards,” he said.

“It is also important to observe the social distancing rules and requirements to wear face masks while on the beach,” he added.

“The beach is open but tourists need to be careful when in the water,” commented Surin beach lifeguard Amnad Chuasaman.

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“It is dangerous to swim alone during the monsoon season so we urge people to look for the cautionary yellow and red flags which stipulate appropriate swimming zones,” he added.

Witanya Chuayaun, Lifeguard Education Coordinator and International Lifeguard Supervisor and Acting President of Phuket Lifeguard Service (PLS), further stressed the point for extra caution during the monsoon season, stating the extra strong currents can be extremely dangerous.

“We have recently witnessed waves reaching up to two metres high dumping on the beach, while deadly rip currents whisked swimmers away from the shore,” she said.

Ms. Witanya urged people not enter the water at beaches where lifeguards were not present and on duty.

She also expressed concern about beaches being a potential area for the spreading of the COVID-19 disease.

“People need to take care and ensure they wear face masks at all times while on the beach while respecting social distancing rules,” she said.

“Group activities are therefore not encouraged. Instead people should enjoy individual activities such as swimming, bodyboarding, surfing, jogging and walking.

“Our lifeguards will do their best to avoid contact with tourists in the event they require assistance or experience difficulty when in the water,” Ms. Witanya added.

“We will try to help people exit the water by jet ski or with float boards to assist them to swim back to the shore,” she concluded.

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