Ms Vitanya Chuayuan, deputy head of Phuket Lifeguard Service Co Ltd told The Phuket News that “many of the former lifeguards from the Phuket Lifeguard Service will be heading to Khao Lak to take part in a surf competition for the next three days.
“There will be no former lifeguards on patrol at Ya Nui, Nai Harn, Kata, Karon, Kamala, Bang Tao, Nai Yang, Mai Khao or Surin beaches during that period,” she said on Friday (Oct 20).
"We will come back around Monday,” Ms Vitanya added.
A beach safety official from a local government organization, who did not want to be named, warned the public to be wary of swimming at the island’s beaches over the weekend.
“There will be no former Phuket lifeguards during this time, because at present they are working as unpaid volunteers and are not obliged to patrol the beaches. We urge tourists to be careful and to observe the red flags. There will only be rescue teams from the Cherng Talay Administration Organisation (OrBorTor) and the Phuket Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) officials on patrol, but we don’t have the level of experience of the former Phuket lifeguards,” stressed the official.
“For example, yesterday (Oct 20) a Spanish man was washed out of the beach at 4pm. His name is Joser Girandez, and he got struck in the water at Surin beach. A tourist surfer managed to get to him and bring Joser back to the beach in safety. Next, I went to give first aid to him until he was better,” he added.
“Newly trained volunteers and staff lifeguards do not have adequate experience like the former professional lifeguards. No one wants to see people die, here,” said the official.