The “Educate Water Safety for Youth” activity held at Ao Yon yesterday saw 105 children from Baan Borrae School, Baan Laem Panwa School and elsewhere from throughout Muang District take part.
Phuket Vice Governor Anupap Rodkwan Yodrabam presided over the opening, joined by Australian Consul-General in Phuket Matthew Barclay.
At the event, Mr Barclay handed over a donation of ‘Pirate Kim’ books, bilingual books created to help children learn basic water safety, to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwitpipat so they could be handed out to children at schools in the area.
Leading the training were lifeguards from the Phuket Lifeguard Service, led by PLS Vice President Witanya Chuayaun, who also serves as the PLS Lifeguard Education Coordinator and International Lifeguard Supervisor.
The project to educate children about water safety was focussed on children aged 7-15 years old, Ms Witanya said.
“Over the past 20 years, since the project began in 2004, more than 8,000 children have participated,” she explained.
“July 25 each year is World Drowning Prevention Day, when we call on the world to come together to prevent drowning, especially children,” Ms Witanya said.
“Children are taught how to swim and other water skills, but learning in the pool and the sea are different,” she noted.
“Therefore we want children to learn to swim in the sea and how to use water equipment to keep themselves safe ‒ and to enjoy these things,” she said.
“They should learn how to use nature to their advantage, especially while waiting for help from an adult, including knowing how to help other people and first aid,” Ms Witanya explained.
During their special day out at Ao Yon yesterday, the children were taught general knowledge about the beach and the sea, about poisonous animals and treatment methods, fun sea knowledge, basic buoyancy and swimming skills, and the basics of surfing.
They also learned basic emergency first aid, and even CPR.
“Each section received a lot of attention from the children, especially the fun sea part and the paddleboard part, because the children had the opportunity to swim in the sea and use life-saving equipment,” Ms Witanya said.