PHUKET: Lifeguards returned to Phuket beaches today, ending a month-long break after the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization’s (PPAO) 10-month contract with the lifeguard club fell through on April 27 (story here).
Waters surrounding the island have become more dangerous with the arrival of the annual southwest monsoon season, and one tourist died during the lifeguard-less month (story here).
“I am sorry about the death of the tourist. Nobody wants something like that to happen,” said Kata-Karon lifeguard chief Uten Singsom.
“We worked very hard during our previous contract. When we stopped work, one man died. This is something the PPAO must consider so they can prepare ahead of time.
“Having lifeguards on the beach throughout the year is a must.”
Mr Uten expressed his concern that things will be tough on the reduced number of lifeguards on duty, as the new PPAO contract resulted in 20 lifeguards losing their jobs.
Adding to his concern are the dangerous rip currents that are often found at Kata and Karon during the southwest monsoon.
“We must work harder this year. We now only have 13 lifeguards on Karon Beach when we used to have between 18 and 20,” Mr Uten said.
“I hope the PPAO will continue to pay attention to beach safety.”
The 88 lifeguards took up their posts at 38 stations today, and asked that tourists, expats and locals obey them and pay attention to the flags they post.
Read the Phuket Gazette‘s In Focus report for staying safe on Phuket beaches (story here)
— Chutharat Plerin