The recent lower statistics on drownings have heartened the managers of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (Or Bor Jor) Lifeguard contract who took over the contract in April 2010 and whose efforts appear to have reduced the tragic toll in lives lost on the island’s public beaches.
The contractor for the lifeguard services and President of the Phuket Lifeguard Club, Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, told Phuketindex his focus since taking over the contract was to improve beach management practices, invest in the lifeguards themselves through better pay and better equipment. Also to implement more Australian standard Ocean lifeguard training and closer supervision and support of lifeguard work on Phuket beaches.
“We are fortunate”, he said, “to have the assistance of Australian Lifeguard Trainer David Field who is offering his time to help the Lifeguard Club raise the standards of surf safety. Mr Field and my team of lifeguard supervisors have just completed a full audit of rescue equipment and lifeguard skills of Phuket’s 83 lifeguards and while there are still areas of great need, there is also the potential to make our service world class over the next few years”.
“My four lifeguard supervisors are men with who hold the equivalent of the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Gold Medallion and have trained and requalified each year since 2001 under Mr Field’s instruction. These men now have the responsibility to ensure our standards are met and have the challenge of bringing the old beachguard personnel up to our fitness and skill levels. I am pleased to report most lifeguard personnel have risen to the challenge of increased fitness, beach management and rescue skills”.
“We have just completed training the new generation of Thai lifeguards in September with the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (Or Bor Jor) sponsored training program involving local people and training teams from Royal Thai Navy and a lifeguard training team from Australia led by Mr Field. Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort continued its long time support of surf safety by providing the venue for the training and accommodation for the Australian team. Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort General Manager, Rudolf Borgesius, said he was saddened by the tragic loss of life through drowning in Phuket. Mr Borgesius wants to promote beach safety and share the skills acquired by his hotel lifeguard team over the past 10 years to help support the island’s public beach personnel and make Phuket a safer destination all year round.”
The third Phuket Surf Lifesaving Carnival was held on Saturday 11 September, attended by an enthusiastic group of lifeguards and athletes from Thailand and Australia. Event organizers were pleased with the day’s events and the clear commitment that is emerging in the Thai population. Khun Paiboon Uppatising opened the Carnival and presented some of the winners’ medals.
Training photos by Prathaiyuth Chuayuan & Carnival photos by Jayne Macdougall