Connect with us


The problems with Phuket’s lifeguarding, in plain sight




PHOTO: Patong Surf Lifesaving Club

A personal view from a veteran ocean lifeguard

After viewing the news and photos today of yet another body retrieval from Phuket’s ocean waters, this latest is unfortunately one in a long-line of such grisly episodes, for as many years as I can remember.

And as Kee Lighting and Engineering Company, apparently the contract provider for lifeguards in Patong (and other beaches? who knows? there is no transparency) place their logo on these photos and videos, and then makes them public, they are unaware they are documenting their own ineptitude to the greater lifesaving community.

As hard as it is to do, it’s the responsibility of those in my position to review available photos and videos, mainly in an attempt to understand exactly what occurred.

The unwanted byproduct is detectable to those properly trained and seasoned in professional lifesaving.

What stands out in these photos is not what they contain, but what is not seen. There are no swimmers actually in the water looking for the victim. These waters are plenty calm, and any properly trained team would have swimmers in the water looking.

I have swum these, and most of Phuket’s west coast waters over the years, just to see what marine life and topography could be observed from the water. What also stands out, is that no expense seems to be spared after the fact to find the body, so that families and friends of the loved one can “find peace”.

How much more peaceful would these people feel, if their loved one had actually been rescued by lifeguards instead, and never died in the first place?

Swimmers in the water (conditions permitting), as soon as possible after a missing person report is received, are the accepted minimum global standard. The absolute and ongoing unwillingness of the authorities to acknowledge the true scope of the lifeguard problem in Phuket, let alone address it, is beyond any definition of decency in a civilised society.

The harm to Phuket’s tourism from this and many other recent events is real and ongoing. Pretending the problem doesn’t exist is sure to make an already dire situation, even worse.

You can comment about this, and other articles, at our Facebook page


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thailand's largest online portal for news and information.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

PM Prayut asks everyone to work together towards reopening

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Bangkok restrictions lifted on 8 categories, including swimming

Patong7 hours ago

Tar balls spreading in Phuket hit Patong Beach

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Phuket8 hours ago

Officials predict 600,000 tourists to Phuket following reopening

Phuket9 hours ago

Technician electrocuted to death while trying to fix jacuzzi

Pattaya9 hours ago

Pattaya pushes for August 1 Sealed Route reopening plan

Thailand9 hours ago

Mother alleges that Doctor mistakenly gave her 10 year old sleeping pills

Bangkok10 hours ago

1 million Sinopharm doses arrive today

Tourism10 hours ago

Full reopening guidelines for Phuket and Samui

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 3,682 new cases, 20 covid-related deaths, provincial totals

Thailand11 hours ago

Poll shows schools, students, parents, “not ready” for online learning

Chon Buri12 hours ago

Man returns lost parakeet, gets rewarded with BBQ

Thai Life12 hours ago

Thai Lion predicts football matches, other abilities currently unknown

Tourism12 hours ago

Reopening details for Phuket, Samui and beyond laid out

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Multiple Chiang Rai schools to close after infections found

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Phuket4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8