Connect with us

Opinion

Phuket Opinion: Enigmatic beach flags

Published

 on 

PHUKET: You arrive at the beach ready for a day of sun, sea and sand, but you are greeted by a line of different colored flags lining the shoreline: red, red and yellow, yellow, blue, red and white chequered. Most people, myself included, aim for the area away from the red flag as they know what that means. The others are just colored fabric on a stick.

Four swimmers died on Phuket beaches in the period June 20 to 23 and over 30 tourists were pulled from the surf.

Tourists were partially blamed for getting themselves into difficulty by ignoring the warning flags. This spate of drownings and the large number of people rescued from the sea indicate either that people choose to ignore the warning flags or they have no idea what they mean.

Flags are important on beaches to inform users about local information, lifeguard services and potential safety risks. Signs and flags are important not only to people unfamiliar with the beach but also to regular beach users in relation to currents and changing conditions.

However, the flag system used on Phuket, although an international system, is not familiar to all beachgoers.

Some people may never have been to the beach before and some might have been to a beach that didn’t have a flag warning system.

How many beachgoers know them all? Red means beach closed; do not enter water; red and yellow, patrolled area – the safest swimming area; yellow, warning – potentially dangerous conditions; blue, aquatic activity allowed within the boundary; and red and white chequered, evacuate the water.

Another factor to consider is that people by nature tend to follow the crowd. If someone sees a group of people swimming in an area, they will instinctively think that it is safe and go in the water there, even if these people are swimming in a red-flag zone. It is then up to the lifeguard to move these people out of the dangerous surf area and keep them out.

One way to keep tourists out of harm’s way is by sensory overload. Bombard them with safety information that shows them the dangers of the sea and what exactly each flag color means.

This can be done through an inflight video, pamphlets at the airport, hotels, tourist attractions and huge signs at the beaches.

We have an obligation to help tourists enjoy their time safely here and get home alive.

— Winston Gunn

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime3 mins ago

British CEO arrested at Bangkok Airport over 40 million baht fraud accusations

Thailand6 mins ago

Thailand’s 5 national parks raise entry fees for foreigners by 100%

Bangkok18 mins ago

Ari around invites Ari people to share good deeds through the app.

Sponsored6 hours ago

Segafredo Zanetti Coffee teamed up with Bangkok Airways and hosted “Bangkok Airways Surf Festival 2022”

Press Room28 mins ago

Where to order cannabis/weed in Thailand

Chon Buri37 mins ago

Trouserless Chon Buri man crashes car into power pole

Entertainment47 mins ago

‘The Trapped 13’ lets Wild Boars speak for themselves

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand49 mins ago

Reported Bangkok VIP casino vanishes into thin air

World1 hour ago

Australia sets goal of preventing any more species from going extinct

Crime1 hour ago

Mass shooting in Thailand: 36 dead, including 24 children, 12 injured

Thailand1 hour ago

9 Thais arrested in South Korea for smuggling drugs

Drugs1 hour ago

Police snag 2.5 meth pills in checkpoint stings

Thailand2 hours ago

Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital needs urgent blood donations after mass shooting

Crime2 hours ago

BREAKING: Nursery mass shooter shoots dead wife and child before killing himself

Central Thailand2 hours ago

Meditation retreat in lush garden setting coming up in central Thailand

World3 hours ago

Death of 66 children linked to an Indian cough medicine

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending