The budgets were requested individually by seven local administration organisations (OrBorTor) and municipalities, and will be provided, Gov Phakaphong assured.
Gov Phakaphong provided a breakdown explaining what funds are to be allocated to providing lifeguards at which beaches.
However, it was not clear for how many months – and which months – the lifeguards will be on duty, though it is presumed that lifeguards will be present and patrolling the beaches during the notorious southwest monsoon, which whips up dangerous surf and creates deadly flash rips.
Gov Phakaphong explained the breakdown as follows:
1. Sakoo OrBorTor – B2.5 million to hire 12 lifeguards, with five lifeguards to patrol Nai Thon Beach and seven to patrol Nai Yang Beach every day.
“The government contract to be offered to provide these lifeguards is already in process,” Gov Phakaphong said.
2. Cherng Talay OrBorTor – B3.58mn to hire 15 lifeguards to patrol Surin Beach and Bang Tao Beach.
“Cherng Talay OrBorTor is also looking for hotels to provide staff to support the lifeguards,” Gov Phakaphong noted.
3. Kamala OrBorTor – B340,000 has been already spent to have lifeguards present in October to November 2018, Gov Phakaphong explained.
“Officials this month will offer a contract for B2.3mn to hire 12 lifeguards for 2019, with 10 on Kamala Beach, and two more to patrol Laem Singh Beach in the future,” he said.
Of note, there are currently no lifeguards at Laem Singh Beach as access across the land to reach the beach is closed by a private owner.
4. Mai Khao OrBorTor – B2mn for eight lifeguards to patrol Mai Khao Beach.
“Presently, there area only two lifeguards on Mai Khao Beach and two near the airport runway and chief lifeguard,” Gov Phakaphong said.
5. Rawai Municipality – B5,456,600 to provide lifeguards at Nai Harn Beach and Yanui Beach
“This will allow for 15 lifeguards and the contract is already in process. Presently there are eight lifeguards at Nai Harn Beach and six at Yanui Beach,” Gov Phakaphong said.
6. Karon Municipality – B11.11mn for 35 lifeguards and six ‘boats’ (likely jet-skis) to patrol beaches in Kata and Karon.
“In October to November, Karon Municipality employed 26 lifeguards at B370,000 to surf patrols for tourists in Kata and Karon,” Gov Phakaphong noted.
7. Patong Municipality – B10mn to hire 26 lifeguards to patrol Phuket’s most popular tourist beach with nine lifeguard stations.
“The Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) has cooperated with the Phuket Provincial Office of the Department Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM-Phuket) to create the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Preparedness Project 2019,” Gov Phakaphong added.
“Together they have allocated a budget of B997,400 to conduct training to educate lifeguards through a program of four training sessions throughout the year, training an estimated 80 persons in each session,” he said.
“The training project will start in March next year,” he added.
“The objective is to develop the capacity of the lifeguards to practice the theory and practice to help the people and tourists on the beach to be effective in accordance with international standards,” he said.
“This will instil a sense of confidence in Thailand’s image among Thais, tourists and expatriates,” he said.
* Correction: Not "nearly B40 million" as originally reported. The error is regretted.