Unfortunately, at this time of year in Phuket one of the main tourist related problems is drownings or near drownings. Recently, within the space of just a few days there were 4 drownings reported on beaches along the island’s most popular west coast in as many days, plus one drowning which has resulted in one person remaining in a coma in hospital. One media source also reported during this period that lifeguards pulled 100 people from the waters, a figure of which I can neither confirm nor deny, which if true is absolutely shocking.
It is also unfortunate that when it comes to these drownings, and more importantly who should take responsibility for trying to prevent them, it appears that there is always someone else who should to take the responsibility rather than any of the involved sectors putting their hands up and saying yes perhaps we can do something to try to help the losses of life on our beaches.
Who’s responsible and what can they do?
At the end of the day, if everybody is so concerned about the rate of deaths here during monsoon season, everybody, and I mean everybody should take some kind of responsibility.
• Warnings could be added to travel brochures, in each country, advising that swimming in the sea at this time of year can be dangerous and people should adhere to the warnings on the beach.
• Warnings could be added to websites selling holidays to Phuket advising people of the dangers.
• Tour operators could advise those booking trips here of the sea conditions.
• Flight operators could provide a spoken warning to their passengers once landing at Phuket airport.
• Large noticeable warning signs should be placed in the airport at locations where it is necessary for all visitors to pass.
• Perhaps some of the large bill boards that take pride of place at the road side en-route from the airport to the tourist destinations could be replaced with warnings; they are certainly big enough to be noticed.
• Tour operators who pick up their guests from the airport should hand each of their guests a printed warning and repeat the spoken warning as provided on the flight.
• Hotels and resorts could have a large sign in their lobby advising their guests of the dangers, they could also give guests a leaflet upon checking in. Furthermore, a warning video could also be added to hotel & resort in-house TV channels.
• When it comes to the beaches, yes there are signs, in many different languages, advising people to take care. However, it may sometimes be possible that people don’t access the beach close to a sign; they’re not 10 feet or so apart, actually quite a bit further, so they may not get to see one. Yes the flags fly, but who are we to say who actually knows what the flags mean. This is where we can all take responsibility. If we, as kind hearted citizens, see somebody about to enter the sea and the red flags are flying try to warn them. If they’re a different nationality to your own and they don’t understand, which is a huge possibility, take them to a sign and show them. At least you’ve made the effort and have hopefully deterred somebody taking a risk with their lives.
If all the above warnings were put in place, by the time a tourist arrived in their hotel room they would have received at least 5 warnings, if that isn’t enough to deter them then I don’t know what is.
The above are all things that can be easily implemented and should save lives; it just takes those involved to take the initiative and start putting some of the warnings in place rather than just sitting in a meeting discussing it and not taking any action.
It’s time for Phuket to start taking care of the people who come to visit this lovely island.