Phuket

Phuket lifeguards close beach, urge tourists to heed warnings

PHUKET: After saving several people from drowning yesterday, lifeguards are urging all tourists to heed warnings to stay out of hazardous surf at Phuket’s Kata and Karon beaches.

A section of Kata Beach was closed and red warning flags were posted along dangerous sections of Karon Beach, said Kata-Karon lifeguard chief Uten Singsom.

“We saved a few swimmers yesterday. They all ignored the red flags and our warnings,” he told the Phuket Gazette today.

“Fortunately, nobody had to be taken to hospital. We wish for no more drownings this year.”

Mr Uten pointed out that strong surf where the water is only knee-high at the trough of a series of waves can be lethal to inexperienced swimmers.

“Waves may drag you out to sea, which could end up costing you your life,” he said. “We do not have enough ropes to close the entire beach. We can only post red flags, but that is not really helping to keep tourists out of the water.”

Some sections of Kata and Karon beaches that are safe to swim have been marked by red-yellow flags and are patrolled by lifeguards, Mr Uten added.

“Please swim in areas patrolled by lifeguards. At least we’ll be able to keep an eye on you,” Mr Uten urged.

“We only have seven guards looking after Kata Beach, which is more than a kilometer long. There are 13 looking after all of Karon Beach, which is more than three kilometers long.

“If an accident happens, it can take a long time for our guards to reach you.”

Mr Uten reminded swimmers that lifeguards patrol the beaches from 8:30am to 6:30pm daily.

“Please swim only while lifeguards are on duty. Otherwise we will not be there to save you,” he said.

— Chutharat Plerin

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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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