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Phuket has many delightful beaches but which are the safest ones?

Phuket Drownings: Which Beach is the Safest?

Thursday, August 6, 2009
THERE have been 31 drownings on and around Phuket up to July 1 this year, according to the latest official statistics provided by the Public Health department yesterday.

But there is much that the statistics cannot tell us, details that we all really need to know.

Tallying how many people have drowned is an improvement on times when that death toll was not compiled.

Yet given the attention being paid by the media at present to beach safety, many people might assume that those 31 deaths are all beach drownings.

Phuketwan believes they include drownings of all types, in swimming pools and lagoons, fishermen unfortunate enough to be caught in storms, and others lost (or in one case perhaps found) at sea.

We assume, for instance, that the extra-high figure of 12 drownings for March alone includes the seven people killed when a liveaboard dive vessel capsized off Patong.

But we cannot be sure, because Public Health cannot tell us. In gleaning the figures from Phuket's three public hospitals, the details are left behind.

We know that there have been needless deaths this monsoon summer at Phuket's favorite beaches.

But how many deaths have there been at Patong, how many at Karon, and how many at Surin?

The Public Health statistics cannot tell us.

Was the unidentified European whose tattooed body was found floating at Nai Harn categorised as a drowning victim?

Public Health statistics cannot tell us.

It is useful to know the number of drowning deaths on and around Phuket, but it would be far more useful to know a whole lot more.

Statistics are the basis for charting social change and taking preventative measures to save lives.

Public Health understands the need for comprehensive figures in combatting influenza pandemics, HIV, dengue fever and other life-threatening social issues.

The principle should be the same with drownings (as for that matter, with the road toll, which seems to be more clearly understood.)

Without proper statistical information, the right kind of precautions cannot be taken to safeguard lives, which is what Public Health and the hospitals have pledged to do.

The critics who say that not enough attention is being paid to safety in the water and drowning prevention are, in many ways, being proved right by the lack of thorough statistical analysis.

What residents and tourists alike want to know is, which are Phuket's safest beaches? Where can they swim without danger?

One water safety expert points out that the new teams of lifeguards reportedly in place at Phuket's main beaches have the potential to record all kinds of detailed information on a daily basis, detailed information that can build a statistical picture of change and potential dangers.

They could note the presence of rip currents, when they appear, and whether they move along the beaches.

They could note possible erosion, now becoming a concern at more Phuket beaches.

They could note the presence of unusual marine creatures, especially jellyfish, which invaded the island in alarming numbers last year.

It's evident from the compilation of the raw data on fatalities and injuries that there is more concern now about death by drowning.

Drowning is in many ways a malaise that can and should be prevented, especially on a tourist island that sells itself on beach holidays.

Here we have 31 lives that mostly could have been saved, with the right precautions. It's time for a more concerted approach and greater attention to detail.

Part of this responsibility for preventing the deaths of guests falls on Phuket's resorts. It is not possible for the local authorities to put up warning signs in every language under the sun.

But it is possible, when guests check in during the monsoon summer season, for each and every receptionist at each and every resort to make the point on arrival that Phuket is only a safe place if the beach warnings are obeyed.

PHUKET Lifeguard Club will be hosting another Lifesaving Carnival on October 3 at Patong Beach. The carnival will be preceded by an eight-kilometre beach run.

Carnival registration will start at 8.30am. The carnival features lifesaving events in eight categories and will include Under 15 categories for our young competitors.

It will culminate in a gala dinner at Le M????????????????????ridien Phuket Beach Resort, a major sponsor of this year's festivities.
Formed in 2003, the Phuket Lifeguard Club is committed to raising awareness of surf and water safety in Phuket and southern Thailand. Trained to Australian Surf Life Saving standards, club members work in hotels as ocean and pool lifeguards.

The club runs training courses in CPR, first aid and rescue skills and has monthly activities for children, with a focus on confidence and training water safety skills.
The Phuket Lifeguard Club has relationships with sister clubs, Cudgen Headland Surf Lifesaving Club in far northern NSW and Darwin SLC.

Last year's October carnival established valuable ties with lifesaving clubs in Australia's Northern Territory, Shoalhaven Heads and North Palm Beach.
Inquiries to Jayne MacDougall at

The club website has event lists and more details about activities.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


It is important to look at the reason for people drowning in the west coast of Phuket. Every day the red flags are up, even when the water is quiet. Red flag should tell people not to enter the water. Many people lose respect for the flag when it gives the same signal, even when it is completely safe.

Posted by Lasse on August 18, 2009 01:06


That's just the problem, Lasse. The water looks quiet and safe, while under the water the rip tides are still ripping. Yes every day until the end of October they RIP. People are just suicidal if they want to swim now, despite verbal warnings from everybody. Go ahead and swim. Do you feel lucky ?

Posted by Graham on August 18, 2009 07:54

Wednesday July 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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