People who stay at a 5 star resort in Patong know the lifeguards at the beaches, from the Phuket Lifeguard Service, who have held the post for 9 years recently had their contract end, with their last patrol on Patong Beach, on the 1st of November.
The changes were issued by Phuket’s outgoing governor, Norraphat Plodthong, who passed the baton of issuing contracts to lifeguard services on the island, from its central Provincial government down to the local Thesabans, with each local municipality would now be in charge of ensuring that their local beaches are patrolled.
Managing Director Vitanya Chuayuan, Phuket Lifeguard Service Company, expressed sadness for her and on behalf of the company, saying that it was difficult to see the standards of lifesaving on the island decline, after having worked on it for 9 years, with the whole system descending into bureaucratic turmoil.
They say that they believe that having one professional company or organisation to handle the lifeguarding duties on the island, which they say will allow for saving across the board with training, equipment as well as coordinating with emergency services.
Daren Jenner, the Marine Safety Officer for the International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA), says that the organisation has been monitoring the situation with the lifeguarding in Patong, saying that the Phuket Lifeguard Service, which handled lifeguarding around every 5 star resort in Patong when the ISLA audited beach audits earlier in 2018, was the only one on the whole island to meet their standards.
Following this statement, the ISLA issued a request to the US Department of State to issue a Level 3 Travel Advisory warning for the island of Phuket. As per the revised US State Department travel advisory notices, a “Level 3″ advisory is defined as :”Reconsider Travel: Avoid Travel due to serious risks to safety and security”.
The resolution sent to the US State Department has, as part of its conditions, states that the ISLA requests that the Travel Advisory stay in place until the existing internationally certified lifeguard force is not only full funded, but is also operational, and able to provide lifeguard services to the island of Phuket that meets International Standards.