Thirteen ribbed dinghies and one hundred life jackets may be handed over to the Phuket Lifeguard Club to contribute to the island’s rescue services, if the talks with the Thai Red Cross scheduled for next week are successful. The discussions were triggered by chance, after Phuket’s lifeguards became concerned for the safety of the participant’s in this week’s special events on the island.
In fact, participants at the weekend Fun Fly paragliding at Cape Promthep, which was cancelled last Friday on accounts of adverse weather, could not rely on marine rescue services and were only able to rely on Fun Fly officials to be rescued if they were forced to land at sea due to the uncertain monsoon weather. This happened after Nai Harn lifeguards informed the event’s officials of their inability to cover the event due to having to maintain their focus on tourists and week-end visitors on the beach. Furthermore, the Royal Thai Navy was unable to provide a vessel on standby dedicated to the event, after having done so last year.
Further north, on the island’s popular west coast, lifeguards warned the Red Cross regarding the risks involved in their ten-day national rescue training course off Naithon beach, where a Russian tourist had drowned earlier in June. However, Red Cross officials stated that all 40 volunteers selected from among about 100 applicants had high-standard swimming qualifications and required a real-life test under the tough conditions posed by the monsoon weather, thus making the training between 6a.m. and 9p.m. Necessary.
Later on, it was revealed that the Red Cross was using thirteen ribbed dinghies during its training, received as a gift from the Finland and Norway branches of the organisation, which remain stored with the Royal Thai Navy and Marine Police when unused. A deal regarding their use by the lifeguards, who, by coincidence, happen to patrol thirteen beaches, started becoming probable when the Red Cross CPR, Rescue and Training Director Phannatatorn Jalornkul discussed the lifeguards’ warning by stating that “we would be willing to help Phuket’s lifeguards with equipment”.
The dinghies would represent an important help to increasing the capacity for quick rescues of the island’s patrols.