THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Phuket’s lifeguard founder, chief driving force, passes away

Phuket’s lifeguard founder, chief driving force, passes away

PHUKET: Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, the man who first helped Phuket to get our first beach lifeguards and drove them to achieve international certification and even compete in international lifesaving events, has died.

tourismSafety
By The Phuket News

Friday 16 August 2019, 04:48PM


Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, the driving force behind Phuket's lifeguards, has died. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, the driving force behind Phuket's lifeguards, has died. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

Mr Prathaiyuth started experiencing chest pains while dropping off his 16-year-old daughter at Satree Phuket School this morning, former Nai Harn chief lifeguard Jula Nontree explained to The Phuket News.

He drove himself directly to Vachira Phuket Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead from cardiac arrest, Mr Jula explained.

Mr Prathaiyuth died at about 9am, Mr Jula said.

He was 57 years old*.

Working with Australians David Field and Jayne MacDougall, Mr Prathaiyuth drove to improve the skills of the handful of volunteer lifeguards Phuket had some 20 years ago through training sessions from professional lifesavers visiting from Australia.

The lifeguard training programme blossomed, inspiring many local Thai “beach boys” to join their ranks to help save lives – mostly of tourists – in Phuket’s dangerous low season surf.

Mr Prathaiyuth and with his wife Witanya for years together operated Phuket Lifeguards Service Co Ltd, which provided lifeguards all along Phuket’s west coast under a government concession offered through the Phuket Provincial Administration Organsisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor).

The arrangement ended in Sept 2017 after Mr Prathaiyuth on behalf of the PLS refused to accept the terms offered by the PPAO, which for the third consecutive year had refused to increase the budget to be provided in order to provide qualified, experienced lifeguards on Phuket’s beaches.

The salaries to be paid to lifeguards was not commensurate with them risking their lives, and the budget provided would not allow for the modern, functioning equipment needed by lifeguards to carry out rescues. Instead, the lack of proper equipment would only endanger the lives of the lifeguards themselves, Mr Prathaiyuth explained.

With no other operators willing to take up the role of providing lifeguards under the contract offered, Phuket’s system of lifeguard protection at the beaches fell into disarray.

QSI International School Phuket

The Phuket Governor at the time, Norraphat Plodthong, over-ordered the stance by PPAO Acting Chief Watcharin Pathomwattanapong and mandated that all local municipalities and administrations organise lifeguard patrols for beaches in their own respective areas. (See story here.)

Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup wasted no time in making sure that Mr Prathaiyuth and his team of qualified, trained lifeguards were hired to ensure lifeguard patrols on Phuket’s busiest tourist beach, Patong.

Mr Prathaiyuth leaves Phuket not just with a legacy of our essential lifesaving beach guards, but also of a long-standing programme of teaching children essential surf survival skills and lifesaving techniques, including basic CPR.

As recently as last week Mr Prathaiyuth led a junior surf lifesaving course, and earlier this month led yet another lifeguard training intensive to ensure their skills were honed and up to date.

Volunteers were, and remain, always welcome.

Daren Jenner, the International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) Marine Safety Officer for Phuket, expressed his sincerest condolences to Mr Prathaiyuth’s friends and family.

“I had many good conversations with him over the years. He was a good-hearted man who did his best in difficult and changing circumstances,” Mr Jenner said.

“A very big loss for Phuket and the lifesaving community here. ISLA sends our deepest respect for his long commitment to ocean safety in SE Asia.”


* Correction: Not 53 years old, as The Phuket News was informed by hospital staff.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Navy launch search for missing crewman after Phuket fishing boat sinks

A fishing boat, sinking. Just like that? What information is available about the sea safety/readine...(Read More)


Phuket speedboat drivers, tour operators get safety training

Now the marime Office Phuket has to do her part in safe channel sailing. It must have there in day t...(Read More)


Phuket speedboat drivers, tour operators get safety training

What is that always 'warning' nonsense. There has been now a teaching day about sailing safe...(Read More)


17 children rescued from Patong human-trafficking gang

The sad thing is: The thai police can be very good and skilled in their job if they want or are ord...(Read More)


#PhuketOK aims to rejuvenate local tourism industry

...and Japan this moment. Red in BP that thai people returning from these 9 countries are tequired t...(Read More)


#PhuketOK aims to rejuvenate local tourism industry

PhuketOK ??? That belongs in the chapter..Fake news. And to ask social media to collaborate in thi...(Read More)


COVID-19 infected man conceals truth, national total hits 40

Now Thai returning from visiting risk countries China, Macao, HK, Taiwan, South Korea, S'pore, I...(Read More)


People who hide travel history could face fines, imprisonment

People can not hide travel history. That is nonsense. When thai and foreigners return in Thailand th...(Read More)


Surin Beach sea wall project sunk by Phuket residents

I haven't been to Surin Beach in a couple of years. The last time I visited I was aghast at the ...(Read More)


Phuket speedboat drivers, tour operators get safety training

Amazing that they need to be taught who gives way and the speed limits! Of course no one follows spe...(Read More)