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Aussie life savers dive in to boost Phuket beach guard training



PHUKET: The Phuket Lifeguard Club (PLC) yesterday announced it has joined with the renowned Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) to develop world-class public education programs that aim to improve water safety and reduce the number of drownings on Phuket’s beaches.

This week, six senior lifeguard trainers from Phuket beaches and resorts worked with SLSA Community Education Manager Anthony Bradstreet to adapt the successful Australian Surf safety Program (“Surf Ed”) to local Phuket conditions, the PLC explained in a press release.

The program is one of a series of initiatives from the new Phuket Lifesaving Education Unit. The main objective is to provide a sustainable program with Thai people having ownership of the water safety initiatives.

Phuket Lifesaving Education Unit project manager Jayne MacDougall proposed the program be developed to educate school students about how to enjoy the ocean safely. An adult education program is also being developed.

“The Lifeguard Club will have six professional and volunteer trainers who will visit schools and teach a three-level water-safety program. The aim is to reach every school in Phuket over the next 12 months and for the program to become a regular part of the curriculum,” Ms MacDougall said.

The program will be launched at a well-known international school in Phuket with the Thai trainers delivering the course under supervision from the Australian trainers. Thai trainers will then roll the program out across the island at schools interested in participating, she added.

“Ignorance of dangerous conditions and a lack of water safety knowledge are both key factors that contribute to drowning. This program will equip students with the knowledge to minimize risk to themselves and to others in the ocean,” Ms MacDougall said.

Anthony Bradstreet believes the Lifesaving Education Unit will be very popular with students.

“I am also very impressed with the skills of the PLC trainers; they are very knowledgeable and skilled lifeguards who have a passion for drowning prevention and lifesaving education,” he said.

The Australia-Thailand Institute and Australian Sports Outreach Program have funded the project’s start-up costs – but it will now be up to local people to get behind the project and support it.

Anyone interested in supporting this project to make Phuket’s waters safe can contact Jayne MacDougall who will advise them how they can assist (email here).


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