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International Surf Lifesaving Association issues Phuket travel warning

PHUKET: The International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) has issued a damming Global Travel Warning for Phuket due to what it describes as “unsafe, unguarded beaches”.

By The Phuket News

Friday 25 May 2018, 08:52AM

The International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) has issued a damming Global Travel Warning for Phuket due to what it describes as “unsafe, unguarded beaches”.

The International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) has issued a damming Global Travel Warning for Phuket due to what it describes as “unsafe, unguarded beaches”.

A post on the ISLA Facebook page yesterday (May 24) said the warning was issued following a “comprehensive 30-day beach audit of Phuket’s beaches [that] was conducted in April and May of this year.

“[Of] the following popular beaches, 17 out of 18, failed the audit: Rawai; Nai Harn; Kata Noi; Kata; Karon; Freedom Beach; Kamala; Kalim; Laem Singh; Surin; Pansea; Bangtao; Layan; Leypang; Nai Thon; Nai Yang; and Mai Khao.

The beached failed for several reasons explained the warning, “All 17 beaches had an inadequate number of lifeguards and stations; inadequate training and experience; inappropriate or non-existent rescue equipment; inappropriate or non-existent first aid equipment; no oxygen, airway, or bag-valve-mask; no communication [equipment]; no source of qualified backup; incomplete or no uniform; inattention to safety of beach patrons; and no knowledge of local conditions.

“The grade given to the these beaches is: Fail – Unsafe. Travellers are to reconsider travel to Phuket Thailand, due to dangerous unguarded beaches.”

The warning comes after repeated delays, inadequate staffing and poor management by the companies contracted to supply Phuket’s beaches with lifeguards. (See stories here, here and here.)

“After a series of high-level meetings, we are no closer to our goal of improving Phuket’s lifeguard service. Vested interests in Phuket’s numerous local governments, along with inaction on the Phuket Governor’s part, have left us literally in the same position as three years ago,” said Mr Jenner in a statement.

“Currently there are no capable, certified lifeguards on Phuket, except Patong Beach,” he added.

Mr Jenner noted that the risk of drownings in Phuket rose each year with the rise in the number of tourists visiting the island.

“Tourist arrivals to Thailand are up a whopping 14% year-on-year, and Phuket’s beaches, which are plagued by dangerous flash-rip currents lure in more beach visitors every year. Phuket is facing an imminent drowning crisis,” he said.

Chinese, Russian, and Malaysian nationals are the most at risk, he noted.




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LivinLOS | 26 May 2018 - 00:22:40

Let's hope everyone's volunteer visa and work permits are in order. 

Ruffling a few feathers

vegasbaby | 25 May 2018 - 18:51:32

Mr. Jenner should be extra cautious after offending those who profit from ocean activities.  Might wear a kevlar jacket as well as a life jacket on his future beach inspection tours.

Rorri_2 | 25 May 2018 - 17:21:47

"There is no one on standby to save you from crossing the road unsafely," seems like our small group of thai apolgists has another aka. The density, of people, on the beach, makes it easier to provide protection, do you suggest no country should have lifeguards? Tourists, from many countries, bring money, protect them, there by protect you income.

Winfield | 25 May 2018 - 14:46:49

There is no one on standby to save you from crossing the road unsafely. There is no one on duty to ensure you drive your moped safely. No one on duty to save you from snakes if you walk thru the forest. Moral to this story is: IF you CANNOT swim quite well, dont go in the ocean past your waist height, or dont go in at all. Stop blaming the Thai Govt for not babysitting you.

BenPendejo | 25 May 2018 - 13:31:01

Looks like things are finally coming to a head here, and perhaps the threat to tourist dollars will make this inept government structure get their s#1t together and do something.  Too bad that the travel advisory couldn't include the filthy sewage that flows onto Phukets beautiful beaches every day, which officials are also incapable of doing anything about. Has the tide finally turned???

Foot | 25 May 2018 - 11:27:29

Hopefully, the ISLA and the China officials, will keep up the public demands for the safety of tourists.  
Apparently, Phuket officials have other places for the funds earmarked for tourist safety.

Kurt | 25 May 2018 - 10:14:35

Wish there was also a International Health organisation for checking the water quality of Phuket beaches, and publish it.
Then Patong Beach would not get a 'A'.

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