Aussie surf safety expert to teach how to survive Phuket’s deadly rip currents

International specialist on rip currents and beach safety Associate Professor Robert Brander will stage a dramatic visual demonstration of the power of rip currents at Phuket’s deadliest stretch of sand, Karon Beach, this Thursday.

Dr Brander is a coastal geomorphologist and senior lecturer at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Prof Brander has become known by the popular nickname “Dr Rip”, from his habit of releasing purple dye into the sea to identify dangerous rip currents.

Dr Brander will be joining forces with the Phuket Lifeguard Club during his visit to impart his extensive knowledge of rip currents and coastal safety in order to assist the club in its task of preventing drownings and informing tourists of the dangers of Phuket’s beaches.

Patron and Co-Founder of the Phuket Lifeguard Club Jayne MacDougall, herself a tireless advocate of improved water safety in Phuket, helped organize Dr Brander’s visit, citing continued education as a key plank in the battle for water safety.

“We are fortunate to have a visit to Phuket of a leading specialist in rip currents. Associate Professor Robert Brander is well known in Australia – working closely with Surf Lifesaving Australia [SLSA] and the community to teach people about rip currents and how to recognize them and survive them,” she told the Phuket Gazette.

“We work closely with SLSA and we believe that a better understanding of the sea will help us to enhance safety here. Phuket has many hazardous beaches and Rob plans to do a demonstration of rip identification during his visit,” she added.

Members of the Phuket Lifeguard Club regularly struggle to keep tourists out of dangerous conditions at Phuket’s beaches and wild weather conditions over the past few weeks have prompted lifeguards to post red “no swimming” flags at some of the island’s most popular beaches (story here).

Only two weeks ago, a 13-year-old boy drowned at Karon Beach after ignoring red flags posted there (story here).

Dr Brander’s demonstration of rip currents, in which he pours a harmless dye into the water which traces the path of the current, will be held opposite the football stadium at Karon Beach on June 26 starting at 2pm.

All are welcome to attend.

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

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