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Phuket lifeguards put lives first, agree to PPAO conditions

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Lifeguards are set to return to Phuket beaches on May 21 as the lifeguard club gave up its demands for an increased budget at a meeting with the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organization (PPAO) this morning.

“The conditions they offered us today were the same: 22 million baht to pay for our expenses and an increased salary for 88 guards,” Phuket Lifeguard Club President Prathaiyut Chuayuan told the Phuket Gazette today.

The budget was proposed despite a warning that it would result in a 20 per cent cut in the number of lifeguards on Phuket’s popular tourist beaches.

Last year, with 108 lifeguards working the sands, 928 people were saved from Phuket’s waters. However, despite lifeguards’ efforts, 23 died.

“We care about people’s safety more than money. We can’t afford to cut the number of guards protecting Phuket’s beaches – there wouldn’t be enough of us,” Mr Prathaiyut said.

“We will just have to find another way to maintain our 108 lifeguards. However, we need to increase the salaries of those who have done a great job.”

The delay in lifeguards getting back to the beaches as Phuket enters the dangerous Southwest monsoon season is due to equipment failures. Mr Prathaiyut believes old equipment will be fixed and new equipment coming from Bangkok will arrive in time for his team to take to the beaches on May 21.

“Working with broken equipment could be dangerous for both the lifeguards and the victims,” Mr Prathaiyut explained.

“In about two weeks, when all the equipment is fixed, we will sign the contract.”

— Saran Mitrarat

 

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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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