Connect with us

Phuket

Phuket lifeguards warn of deadly rip-currents

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Seasonal changes have brought strong rip currents to the shores of Phuket. With them comes a sharp rise in the number of rescues this month, prompting lifeguards to issue stern warnings to would-be swimmers.

“Swimmers who ignore warning flags are risking their lives and those of the lifeguards,” said the president of the Phuket Lifeguard Club (PLC), Prathaiyut Chuayuan.

Unlike previous years, which saw lifeguards walk off the sands as the PLC and Phuket provincial government haggled over the next contract, guards will remain on duty during this dangerous time of year. There were no delays as the guards quickly signed the 22-million-baht contract on April 20.

The club, which has 98 lifeguards manning 38 stations at 12 beaches in the province, recorded 35 rescues in April; 15 Thais and 20 foreigners.

However, despite the successful rescues, the lethal currents off Phuket did claim one life in April. Lifeguards doubt it will be the last, if people don’t take heed of their warnings.

The first swimming-related death recorded by Phuket lifeguards this year was a woman in her twenties from Bangkok, who died on April 18. She and five friends ignored the red flags warning people not to swim. The group of six were swept out of their depth and all had to be rescued by the lifeguards, but only five of them survived the ordeal.

“The woman’s death was a direct result of swimming in the red-flag zone and ignoring the lifeguards’ warnings,” said the head lifeguard at Nai Harn Beach, Jula Nontree “The friends were standing in water only a meter deep when waves knocked them over and they were dragged out to sea,” he said.

Although April’s death was a Thai national, it is foreign visitors that are most likely to fall victim to the vicious undercurrents at popular beaches.

Last year, Phuket’s lifeguards saved the lives of at least 269 foreigners and 44 Thais.

Between January and March this year, lifeguards rescued 59 swimmers. Out of the 52 people pulled from the surf in January, six were Thai and 46 were foreigners.

Four foreigners were rescued in February, then in March, one Thai national and two foreigners.
Following the arrival of the rip currents in April, the number of rescues so far this year has jumped to 94, according to figures from the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO).

“Please adhere to red-flag warnings at beaches, which are placed when the rip-currents are particularly strong,” urged Mr Prathaiyut.

“Understand that we have only two or three lifeguards at each station. The red flags are placed in spots that are dangerous to swim in, so it’s just best to avoid them,” he said.

Uten Singsom, the head lifeguard in Kata-Karon, said foreigners often ignore the lifeguards’ warnings and have even become violent.

“We always try to warn people but sometimes fights break out with those who don’t understand English. They end up ignoring us,” said Mr Uten.

“Things got so bad last year with people ignoring us that the police ended up getting involved to prevent people getting in the water. I’m thankful to the police for their help but they have better things to do so we try not to get them involved,” he said.

If people really want to swim, they should do so near lifeguard stations, which are marked by yellow and red flags, Mr Uten advised.

He also warned against wearing long-sleeved shirts and jeans in the water, as the clothes become heavy and make it difficult to swim.

Mr Prathaiyut repeated his plea for tourists to obey red-flag warnings at beaches, stressing that even though the lifeguards are well trained to handle the risks, they may not be able to save every single swimmer that ignores the flags.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Looking for your next home in Thailand? Let us match you with a local expert in minutes!

Thank you for your interest!

One of our agents will
reach out to you soon.

I want to:
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • United States+1
  • United Kingdom+44
  • Australia+61
  • Afghanistan (‫افغانستان‬‎)+93
  • Albania (Shqipëri)+355
  • Algeria (‫الجزائر‬‎)+213
  • American Samoa+1684
  • Andorra+376
  • Angola+244
  • Anguilla+1264
  • Antigua and Barbuda+1268
  • Argentina+54
  • Armenia (Հայաստան)+374
  • Aruba+297
  • Australia+61
  • Austria (Österreich)+43
  • Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan)+994
  • Bahamas+1242
  • Bahrain (‫البحرين‬‎)+973
  • Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)+880
  • Barbados+1246
  • Belarus (Беларусь)+375
  • Belgium (België)+32
  • Belize+501
  • Benin (Bénin)+229
  • Bermuda+1441
  • Bhutan (འབྲུག)+975
  • Bolivia+591
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (Босна и Херцеговина)+387
  • Botswana+267
  • Brazil (Brasil)+55
  • British Indian Ocean Territory+246
  • British Virgin Islands+1284
  • Brunei+673
  • Bulgaria (България)+359
  • Burkina Faso+226
  • Burundi (Uburundi)+257
  • Cambodia (កម្ពុជា)+855
  • Cameroon (Cameroun)+237
  • Canada+1
  • Cape Verde (Kabu Verdi)+238
  • Caribbean Netherlands+599
  • Cayman Islands+1345
  • Central African Republic (République centrafricaine)+236
  • Chad (Tchad)+235
  • Chile+56
  • China (中国)+86
  • Christmas Island+61
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands+61
  • Colombia+57
  • Comoros (‫جزر القمر‬‎)+269
  • Congo (DRC) (Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo)+243
  • Congo (Republic) (Congo-Brazzaville)+242
  • Cook Islands+682
  • Costa Rica+506
  • Côte d’Ivoire+225
  • Croatia (Hrvatska)+385
  • Cuba+53
  • Curaçao+599
  • Cyprus (Κύπρος)+357
  • Czech Republic (Česká republika)+420
  • Denmark (Danmark)+45
  • Djibouti+253
  • Dominica+1767
  • Dominican Republic (República Dominicana)+1
  • Ecuador+593
  • Egypt (‫مصر‬‎)+20
  • El Salvador+503
  • Equatorial Guinea (Guinea Ecuatorial)+240
  • Eritrea+291
  • Estonia (Eesti)+372
  • Ethiopia+251
  • Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)+500
  • Faroe Islands (Føroyar)+298
  • Fiji+679
  • Finland (Suomi)+358
  • France+33
  • French Guiana (Guyane française)+594
  • French Polynesia (Polynésie française)+689
  • Gabon+241
  • Gambia+220
  • Georgia (საქართველო)+995
  • Germany (Deutschland)+49
  • Ghana (Gaana)+233
  • Gibraltar+350
  • Greece (Ελλάδα)+30
  • Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)+299
  • Grenada+1473
  • Guadeloupe+590
  • Guam+1671
  • Guatemala+502
  • Guernsey+44
  • Guinea (Guinée)+224
  • Guinea-Bissau (Guiné Bissau)+245
  • Guyana+592
  • Haiti+509
  • Honduras+504
  • Hong Kong (香港)+852
  • Hungary (Magyarország)+36
  • Iceland (Ísland)+354
  • India (भारत)+91
  • Indonesia+62
  • Iran (‫ایران‬‎)+98
  • Iraq (‫العراق‬‎)+964
  • Ireland+353
  • Isle of Man+44
  • Israel (‫ישראל‬‎)+972
  • Italy (Italia)+39
  • Jamaica+1
  • Japan (日本)+81
  • Jersey+44
  • Jordan (‫الأردن‬‎)+962
  • Kazakhstan (Казахстан)+7
  • Kenya+254
  • Kiribati+686
  • Kosovo+383
  • Kuwait (‫الكويت‬‎)+965
  • Kyrgyzstan (Кыргызстан)+996
  • Laos (ລາວ)+856
  • Latvia (Latvija)+371
  • Lebanon (‫لبنان‬‎)+961
  • Lesotho+266
  • Liberia+231
  • Libya (‫ليبيا‬‎)+218
  • Liechtenstein+423
  • Lithuania (Lietuva)+370
  • Luxembourg+352
  • Macau (澳門)+853
  • Macedonia (FYROM) (Македонија)+389
  • Madagascar (Madagasikara)+261
  • Malawi+265
  • Malaysia+60
  • Maldives+960
  • Mali+223
  • Malta+356
  • Marshall Islands+692
  • Martinique+596
  • Mauritania (‫موريتانيا‬‎)+222
  • Mauritius (Moris)+230
  • Mayotte+262
  • Mexico (México)+52
  • Micronesia+691
  • Moldova (Republica Moldova)+373
  • Monaco+377
  • Mongolia (Монгол)+976
  • Montenegro (Crna Gora)+382
  • Montserrat+1664
  • Morocco (‫المغرب‬‎)+212
  • Mozambique (Moçambique)+258
  • Myanmar (Burma) (မြန်မာ)+95
  • Namibia (Namibië)+264
  • Nauru+674
  • Nepal (नेपाल)+977
  • Netherlands (Nederland)+31
  • New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie)+687
  • New Zealand+64
  • Nicaragua+505
  • Niger (Nijar)+227
  • Nigeria+234
  • Niue+683
  • Norfolk Island+672
  • North Korea (조선 민주주의 인민 공화국)+850
  • Northern Mariana Islands+1670
  • Norway (Norge)+47
  • Oman (‫عُمان‬‎)+968
  • Pakistan (‫پاکستان‬‎)+92
  • Palau+680
  • Palestine (‫فلسطين‬‎)+970
  • Panama (Panamá)+507
  • Papua New Guinea+675
  • Paraguay+595
  • Peru (Perú)+51
  • Philippines+63
  • Poland (Polska)+48
  • Portugal+351
  • Puerto Rico+1
  • Qatar (‫قطر‬‎)+974
  • Réunion (La Réunion)+262
  • Romania (România)+40
  • Russia (Россия)+7
  • Rwanda+250
  • Saint Barthélemy+590
  • Saint Helena+290
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis+1869
  • Saint Lucia+1758
  • Saint Martin (Saint-Martin (partie française))+590
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon)+508
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines+1784
  • Samoa+685
  • San Marino+378
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (São Tomé e Príncipe)+239
  • Saudi Arabia (‫المملكة العربية السعودية‬‎)+966
  • Senegal (Sénégal)+221
  • Serbia (Србија)+381
  • Seychelles+248
  • Sierra Leone+232
  • Singapore+65
  • Sint Maarten+1721
  • Slovakia (Slovensko)+421
  • Slovenia (Slovenija)+386
  • Solomon Islands+677
  • Somalia (Soomaaliya)+252
  • South Africa+27
  • South Korea (대한민국)+82
  • South Sudan (‫جنوب السودان‬‎)+211
  • Spain (España)+34
  • Sri Lanka (ශ්‍රී ලංකාව)+94
  • Sudan (‫السودان‬‎)+249
  • Suriname+597
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen+47
  • Swaziland+268
  • Sweden (Sverige)+46
  • Switzerland (Schweiz)+41
  • Syria (‫سوريا‬‎)+963
  • Taiwan (台灣)+886
  • Tajikistan+992
  • Tanzania+255
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • Timor-Leste+670
  • Togo+228
  • Tokelau+690
  • Tonga+676
  • Trinidad and Tobago+1868
  • Tunisia (‫تونس‬‎)+216
  • Turkey (Türkiye)+90
  • Turkmenistan+993
  • Turks and Caicos Islands+1649
  • Tuvalu+688
  • U.S. Virgin Islands+1340
  • Uganda+256
  • Ukraine (Україна)+380
  • United Arab Emirates (‫الإمارات العربية المتحدة‬‎)+971
  • United Kingdom+44
  • United States+1
  • Uruguay+598
  • Uzbekistan (Oʻzbekiston)+998
  • Vanuatu+678
  • Vatican City (Città del Vaticano)+39
  • Venezuela+58
  • Vietnam (Việt Nam)+84
  • Wallis and Futuna (Wallis-et-Futuna)+681
  • Western Sahara (‫الصحراء الغربية‬‎)+212
  • Yemen (‫اليمن‬‎)+967
  • Zambia+260
  • Zimbabwe+263
  • Åland Islands+358

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Govt officials slammed for wasting tax money

Thailand3 hours ago

Thai health chief received special drug due to obesity, not privilege

Destination Property Guide3 hours ago

What makes Chiang Mai one of the best destinations to live in (2022)

Sponsored11 hours ago

BISP student, Puthi, invited to Europe as part of GSPDP/ITF/ATF 14&U tennis team

Pattaya4 hours ago

Pattaya police make more promises to stop gold theft against Indian tourists

Thailand4 hours ago

400 new drinking fountains to be restored to Bangkok streets

Pattaya4 hours ago

Bike racing tourists disturb Pattaya locals

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phuket5 hours ago

More than 100 foreigners in Phuket swindled by visa agency

Tourism5 hours ago

Thai Airways has sold 11 of its old aircraft, 26 to go

Phuket5 hours ago

Officials to build new sky walk and glass terrace in Phuket

Business6 hours ago

Thai state bank offers loans to LGBTQ+ couples for first time

Myanmar6 hours ago

More fighting between Karen and Burmese army, villagers injured

Thailand6 hours ago

Thaiger Unfiltered for Charity

Media6 hours ago

Philippines’ SEC orders news publisher Rappler to shut down

Bangkok7 hours ago

UPDATE: Former Special Branch Officer names police involved in illegal casino operation

Pattaya7 hours ago

Century old woman in Pattaya to be honoured for long life

Thailand10 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending

By continuing to use our site you consent to the use of cookies as described in our privacy policy.