Thai Life

Phuket Community: World-standard ISO safety practices to be applied at Nai Harn

PHUKET: The island’s grass-roots water safety initiative Safer Phuket recently announced its plan to certify Nai Harn Beach under an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard.

“Phuket can be a lead location in establishing ISO beach standards, which would also make it the first place in the world to introduce these standards,” said Mr Duncan Stewart, managing director and co-founder of Safer Phuket.

ISO is set to release its ISO 13009 Tourism Services – Beach Operation Standards document, which has been developed over several years with the consultation of experts in beach management, water safety and international standards practices.

“Essentially, what it is about is taking all the standards: water quality, life guards, cleanliness, management – all the different components which they [ISO] have been working on for years – and implementing it into Phuket beaches,” said Mr Duncan.

“We will then be in a position where Phuket will be able to demonstrate that we are as good as anywhere in the world.”

Steve Wills, international development manager of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (a UK based water safety organization) and Chairman of the ISO committee on Beach Management and Safety, recently visited Phuket to discuss the plan for implementation of this world standard to the island.

“There are so many resorts around the world that are growing, which is great, but there is a lack of guidance for people who are managing beaches. Basically, they need a system like this [ISO standard 13009] to adopt,” said Mr Wills.

He went on to say that he had received support and encouragement from local stakeholders, including resorts, hotels, lifeguard organizations and local government in implementing the standard in Phuket.

“It’s really just about finding the best way to adopt that standard here, and obviously with Safer Phuket and the other stakeholders, it seems like a good place to be the world’s first to implement the standards,” said Steve Wills.

Safer Phuket to introduce ISO safety standards to Nai Harn beach.

Safer Phuket to introduce ISO safety standards to Nai Harn beach.The ISO 13009 standard expected to be published in the next few months will encompass a range of issues affecting beach management and safety, and set out clearly defined guidelines for achieving world’s best practice in these areas. Some of the issues the document will address include: linking beach management with hazard management; ownership and legislation; stakeholder communication; promoting the beach; performance measurement; customer satisfaction and feedback compilation; responsibilities and regulation; permanent infrastructure; access for ramps, roads and vehicles; information services; beach safety services; beach cleaning and waste removal; and commercial services.

“It’s a big deal, it covers the whole gamut of water safety and beach management practices – we are a tourist location and we will be right up there at the top of the tree and able to demonstrate that we have world’s best practice,” said Mr Stewart.

He said that the successful implementation of the standards would have a huge impact on Phuket as a popular beach holiday destination, and underline the importance of Phuket’s beaches in maintaining its tourism economy.

“This is also about building the credibility and success of Safer Phuket, we are now in a position where we are delivering, moving from discussion, ideas and concepts, to real hard action and delivery of promises.

“It’s about saying that this is something that can be achieved, and if we can do it in Nai Harn, then we can roll it out all over the island,” he added.

The Phuket Gazette and PGTV are proud to serve as media partners and sponsors of ‘Safer Phuket’ and look forward to reporting news of concrete progress in the island’s drive toward heightened credibility in water safety over the months ahead.

— Mark Knowles

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