Aussie lifeguards lend a hand

KAMALA: Ahead of the rainy season arriving next month, when the rough surf along the west coast of Phuket becomes dangerous for all but very experienced swimmers, Phuket lifeguards are being trained in surf life-saving techniques at Kamala Beach today and tomorrow.

Conducting the training are experienced members of the Avoca Beach Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) in New South Wales, Australia, who have competed in top-level surf life-saving competitions.

“Being a surf lifesaver in Australia is very serious. The Avoca Beach Surf Life Saving Club has about 800 lifeguards, ranging from children right through to elderly people, who help to take care of tourists on the beach,” explained John Mitchell of Avoca Beach SLSC.

“We want to raise the skills of Phuket lifeguards to international standards, so we are training them in how to rescue people who are in trouble in the water and how to use the latest lifeguard equipment.

“Some of Phuket’s lifeguards receive training in Australia form Avoca Beach SLSC. The first four lifeguards from Phuket have already been trained and have come back to pass on what they have learned to other lifeguards here,” he added.

Among the skills Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) lifeguards are being trained in are basic first aid, basic and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and how to identify all the factors that affect bathers and those using water for recreation.

More importantly for Phuket swimmers, the lifeguards are also being taught to recognize and describe differing currents in surf zones – specifically, rips, and inshore drift currents and holes – and to describe and demonstrate how to escape from a rip.

The OrBorJor currently has about 220 lifeguards, with at least three of them on standby at each major beach on Phuket from 9 am to 7 pm.

As the dangerous wet season approaches, the OrBorJor says it will boost the number of lifeguards on standby to six in high-risk areas, including Nai Harn, Kata, Karon, Patong and Surin Beaches.

Phuket News
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