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To the rescue: Aussie lifesaver and trainer Tom Allen on Phuket

Aussie to Phuket Lifeguards' Rescue

Friday, September 27, 2013
PHUKET: Help is on the beaches now for Phuket's lifeguards with the arrival of Aussie lifesaver and trainer Tom Allen.

The 27-year-old, who has spent nine years honing his skills in Australia and Britain, started imparting some of that knowledge to beach lifeguards on Phuket this week.

Beginning with Nai Thon, Nai Yang and Mai Khao, he will move to a different part of Phuket's coast each week until October 18.

Sponsored by Surf Lifesaving Australia, his aim is to help develop skills and sew the seeds of a Phuket beach culture.

''Australia has had lifesavers for 40 years and the Phuket project really only began three years ago, so it's difficult to strike fair comparisons,'' he said.

The arrival of more tourists on the island with little or no swimming skills appears to be the reason for more drownings this year, he said.

''I don't think any drownings should happen,'' he said. ''In all cases, it's down to the resources you can afford.''

People are warned at some Australian airports about beach dangers and the warnings were often repeated.

''Educating the public is the key,'' he said. ''It's not one person's responsibility, it's the responsibility of the whole community.''

Tom is aiming while on Phuket to try to establish a more obvious presence for lifeguards on the beaches.

He was aware of a dispute over a rough shack on Karon beach and said it would be great if simple structures in red and yellow could be provided for all beaches.

''If someone is in trouble in the water and another tourist is the first person to realise, you need to be able to find the lifeguards quick,'' he said.

Towers were not needed when beaches were quiet and only became useful when there was a need to see over the top of lots of people or umbrellas, he said.

''We don't have towers in our area of north Sydney around Palm Beach,'' he said.

''But what's really useful is a portable waist-high tower that can be moved where you need it as a lookout.''

He's also keen to pursue the education of children in schools and as ''nippers,'' which is what junior lifeguards are called, at Phuket's beaches.

''The sooner the kids are all involved, the sooner there will be a real beach culture of safety on Phuket.''

So far he has been impressed with the willingness of Phuket lifeguards. ''Everybody is really positive and the guys are keen to learn everything,'' he said.

Tom will be moving on to Surin, Patong, Kata, Karon and other beaches.

Comments

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Great idea to have expert training for the lifeguards who are clearly dedicated to doing the best job they can.

I hope Tom has a work permit all sorted, in the current environment he may end up being deported if not.... :-)

Posted by Great Idea on September 27, 2013 12:57

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Good News and full credit to Tom for his efforts.
I just hope the appropriate Thai Authority will take proper note and provide additional resources to the Lifeguards who should also be praised for the work they do.

Posted by Richard on September 27, 2013 13:30

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Good luck Tom! You're a breath of fresh air, mate.

Posted by Sam Wilko on September 27, 2013 15:37

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Way to go Tom!

This is such a commendable act...leave it to the Aussies to stand up and offer a hand! (Says this American)

The vision of creating such a beach "culture" is awsome and maybe, in time, a shared appreciation and respect for beaches and oceans will bring Thais and farangs together.

Nice to see positive news!

Thanks

Posted by Concerned & Psyched on September 28, 2013 05:41


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