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9 years of providing Phuket’s lifeguards comes to an end

The Thaiger

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9 years of providing Phuket’s lifeguards comes to an end | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Constant training and up-skilling was at the core of the Phuket Lifeguard Service

The nine year relationship between the Phuket Lifeguard Service and the Phuket provincial and Thesaban
administrators is over.

The contract for providing professional lifesavers at Patong beach, the final beach under their watchful eye,  finished yesterday.

9 years of providing Phuket's lifeguards comes to an end | News by The Thaiger

Speaking to the MD of the Phuket Lifeguard Service Company, Vitanya Chuayuan, today The Thaiger noted a tone of resignation in her voice after the long battle the company had to provide skilled and professional lifeguards along Phuket’s beaches.

Phuket’s outgoing governor, who finished his tenure on the island on September 30, Norraphat Plodthong passed the baton of issuing contracts to lifeguards services from the island’s central Provincial government down to the local Thesabans. Each local municipality would handle their own contracting for patrolling their local beaches.

The new tenders have resulted in two years of turmoil along the west coast beaches with a hotch-potch of volunteers, paid life-savers, trained, untrained and ‘locals’ putting on the traditional red and yellow outfits to patrol Phuket’s beaches.

The results, as logged in story after story about drownings on The Thaiger and other local news sites, are evidence of the failure of the new system to provide an adequate or professional level of international-standard lifeguarding in Phuket.

All this whilst the numbers of tourist arrivals, especially during the traditional wet-season, keeps increasing, year on year.

Vitanya says that it was a sad day indeed as the company, which had worked so hard to improve the standards of lifesaving on the island for so long, had to now watch from the sidelines as the quality of lifeguards, and the entire system of island-wide beach patrols, descends into bureaucratic turmoil.

“I have not spoken to Phuket’s new Governor at length about the matter, but the old governor believed that giving the money to the Thesabans, and letting them control the provision of services, would be a better solution.”

“The budgets just kept dropping each year and, although we tried to improve our efficiencies whilst improving the quality of our lifeguards, we just couldn’t match the lower tenders for the contracts anymore.”

“We also believe that a single company, providing lifeguarding across all beaches in Phuket, was a much better system amortising costs of equipment, training and sharing of local knowledge across the island.”

Phuket Lifeguard Service was instrumental in asking the provincial officials to assist with coming up with information pamphlets and signage to present to tourists, especially Chinese tourists, to alert them of the dangers of swimming along Phuket’s west coast beaches, particularly during the south-west monsoon season.

“There were many brochures printed. We handed many out to tourists on the beach (they were multi-lingual) but we really needed them to be distributed at the airport and hotels as a priority. We’re not sure if that happened or how many were distributed.”

After 9 years of years of reducing the number of drownings on Phuket’s beaches, despite the number of tourists rising every year, Vitanya says it has been sad to see the number of preventable drownings increase since the Provincial government started the new system.

“We believe it should all be controlled by the one professional company or organisation to provide lifeguard services. This way we could make savings across the board with training, equipment and co-ordination with all emergency services.

Daren Jenner, the Marine Safety Officer for the International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA), says that ISLA has been constantly monitoring the situation with the Patong lifeguard team.

“During ISLA’s beach audits earlier this year, the Patong team was the only one on the island to meet ISLA’s international standards. ISLA was urging the Thai government at all levels to support a unified, professional lifeguard force for all of Phuket and the surrounding islands.”

“Phuket is a world-famous beach and water-sport destination but surrounded by potentially dangerous waters, yet the lifeguard service has repeatedly failed to receive adequate support.”

Speaking specifically about the problem with the Chinese tourists and the many drownings in recent years Vitanya said, “We provided flags with warnings in Chinese, English, Russian and Thai. The Thesaban are still using our old flags which haven’t been updated for a few years – they are very tatty now and hard to read. The flags should be changed every six months.”

“Many Chinese people are not well educated in water safety. It’s not really their fault and more needed to be down to provide information before they arrived at the beach. Once on the beach it was just a huge communication problem that sometimes ended up in disaster.”

For now Vitanya says her company will keep providing professional lifeguards to the hotels and water parks.

“At our biggest we had around 100 active lifeguards, all men. Asian women don’t really like swimming and are not really interested in lifeguard work. Now we have only five instructors and a few freelance staff.

“We are sending two of our lifeguards to the Life Saving World Championships in Adelaide from November 19-26 at Glenelg Beach. Our team has developed such skills and talent here on the island. It’s sad to see it all go to waste.”

9 years of providing Phuket's lifeguards comes to an end | News by The Thaiger

Phuket Lifeguard Service were training the new generation of Phuket lifeguards



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Phuket

Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene

The Thaiger

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Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | The Thaiger

PHOTOS / VIDEO:  Thanakrit Asulyakul / Mana Sombat / Kanlaya Singkangrang / Kritsada Mueanhawong

Legal action has already been taken against four people who ‘removed’ beer cans after a truck carrying boxes of beer cans overturned in Phuket on January 11.

A logistic company representative has filed a report with police after more than 80,000 beer cans, valued at more than two million baht, mysteriously “vanished” after the truck overturned in Rassada.

Read more about the incident outside a Rassada 7/11 HERE.

The Phuket City Police Chief Col Sompong Thiparpakun says, “Four people have now been arrested. They have admitted that they saw other people taking beer cans, so they did too. They say they have consumed the contents of all beer cans. ”

“If evidence can be provided that other people took these beer cans and sold them, legal action will be taken against them too.”

“It was illegal to remove these items from the crash scene.”

Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger

Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger Legal action taken against people who removed beer cans from beer truck accident scene | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Police hunting for driver in hit and run – Patong

The Thaiger

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Police hunting for driver in hit and run – Patong | The Thaiger

WARNING: Extreme graphic content

Patong Friday, January 18, 2.06am – Police are trying to locate the driver of this hit and run silver sedan in Patong. If you have any information please contact the Tourist Police or Patong Police – 1155 or 191 (Thai)

VIDEO: Newshawk Phuket

PHUKETWARNING: Extreme graphic contentPatong Friday, January 18, 2.06am – Police are trying to locate the driver of this hit and run silver sedan in Patong. If you have any information please contact the Tourist Police or Patong Police – 1155 or 191 (Thai)VIDEO: Newshawk Phuket

Posted by The Thaiger on Saturday, January 19, 2019

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Phuket

UPDATE: Response to Rabies zone in Chalong

The Thaiger

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UPDATE: Response to Rabies zone in Chalong | The Thaiger

‘Following the earlier reported rabies incident in Chalong, the Soi Dog Foundation yesterday (Friday, January 18) teamed up with The DLD and Chalong OBT to carry out vaccinations in the area the infected dog was discovered.

Jointly, the team was successful in vaccinating 128 dogs in a swift response to what is hoped to be an isolated case.

Working alongside the Chalong OBT and DLD, they carried out a door-to-door exercise, alerting local residents of the specific area in order to perform precautionary vaccinations of their pets, as well as street dogs in the vicinity.

Soi Dog Foundation, along with the Chalong Public Health Representative and DLD Representative, Dr.Suthat, are keen to urge the public that this is not an outbreak and are hopeful that it is an isolated incident.

However, as a further measure to ensure this remains as such, the team will continue with the rabies vaccination program on Monday, January 21.’

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