“Now we are in the monsoon season, and the waves can be dangerous. There are strong waves at every beach. Please play in the water in safety zones marked with yellow– red flags, and stay close to lifeguards for safety,” Phuket Lifeguard Club Chief Prathaiyut Chuayuan told The Phuket News.
Preparing for the onslaught of strong surf and the need to rescue tourists during the southwest monsoon months from May through October, lifeguards at Patong Beach conducted comprehensive surf life-saving rescue training and resuscitation techniques last Thursday (June 6).
“We have 22 full-time Patong surf lifeguards and 26 volunteer lifeguards ready to help tourists during the monsoon season, and all of them joined the training,” Somprasong Sangchart, Head of Patong Surf Life Saving, told The Phuket News.
The 22 full-time lifeguards are hired by KEE Lighting & Engineering Co Ltd, which has the contract with Patong Municipality to provide lifeguard services at Phuket’s most popular beach, he explained.
“The 26 volunteer lifeguards have been provided by the Patong Development Foundation,” Mr Somprasong added.
The Patong Development Foundation (PDF) created and funds the Patong Baywatch team, a group of local volunteers, including former lifeguards, who patrol Patong Beach for safety. The PDF was founded by local businessman Preechavude ‘Prab’ Keesin, a son of long-time former Patong Mayor Pian Keesin.
“We are ready to help tourists at Patong Beach during the monsoon season, and we also have support from emergency rescue services by Patong Municipality,” Mr Somprasong assured.
“Everybody, please enjoy your holiday with your families and special ones at Patong Beach throughout the season. However, please do not ignore the red no-swimming flags, which mark where people are not to enter the water for their own safety,” Mr Somprasong added.
Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos told The Phuket News that trained, qualified lifeguards were read to patrol the beaches in his municipality.
“We have six lifeguards on Racha Island, two lifeguards on Yanui Beach and six lifeguards on Nai Harn Beach,” Mayor Aroon said.
The lifeguards are also provided by KEE Lighting & Engineering Co Ltd, which Mayor Aroon explained were hired by Rawai Municipality in September last year.
However, tourists have been warned that there no fully qualified, trained lifeguards patrolling the popular Surin Beach, on Phuket’s central west coast.
“We don’t have real lifeguards yet. Instead, we have volunteers on Surin Beach,” MaAnn Samran, Chief of the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor) told The Phuket News.
“We are still in the process of hiring real lifeguards,” he said.