The news comes amid concerns that the contract with Phuket Lifeguard Service (PLS) to provide lifeguards on the beach is to expire on Sept 30, just before the deadly month of October, when rip currents and strong surf brought on by the southwest monsoon become especially dangerous.
“From Oct 1, we will hire each lifeguard individually. We will be hiring the same number of lifeguards, the same ones that are protecting tourists at our beach now,” she said.
“The lifeguards will be hired on a whole-year contract, from October 1, 2019 to October 1, 2020,” she added.
Although Ms Chalermluck did not elaborate on who will be responsible for providing the essential life-saving equipment needed to carry out rescues, she explained, “It is much easier and faster to hire the lifeguards individually. The process for us to hire a company under a government contract is complicated and can takke too much time.
“This way is faster and easier, and makes sure we have lifeguards on our beach,” she said.
More details about how the lifeguards will be hired will be available later, Mayor Chalermluck added.
Samart Rattanamat, Deputy Chief of Patong Surf Life Saving, raised the alarm on Tuesday (Sept 10), saying that his team had not heard any updates on whether the contract to hire lifeguards would be extended.
Mr Samart told The Phuket News yesterday (Sept 13), “I feel good about this.”
“Next, I will talk about the details of lifeguards being hired individually with my team,” he said.
Asked how important it was for lifeguards to be hired full time, without the need for lifeguards to find alternative work during the tourism high season, when the seas are calm, Mr Samart said, “It is very important to have lifeguards at Patong every day, not just during the low season, or even just October.
“Tourists need lifeguards in both the low and high (tourism) seasons. When the seas are calm, we still help tourist children who become lost on the beach. We provide emergency assistance to tourists when they get into jet-ski accidents, and we provide first aid to others in need.”