While Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong has used his executive powers to overcome a bureaucratic bottleneck, negotiations have yet to take place.
A spokesperson for the Phuket Lifeguard Service - not to be confused with the Phuket Lifeguard Club - told Phuketwan today that the contract had yet to be discussed.
''We will have to agree on the contract before lifeguards can return to the beaches,'' she said.
''The 22 million baht covers 88 staff at 13 beaches, but if the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation wants 95 lifeguards at the same budget, we may have a problem.''
The other issue that regularly dogs the annual negotiations is the provision of adequate equipment. The PPAO owns the equipment and takes it back at the end of every annual contract.
However, the Phuket Lifeguard Service, which has improved safety standards on Phuket's main tourist beaches, says the current equipment is obsolete and should be replaced.
Local authorities have been strongly criticised in the past few weeks for lack of spending on marine safety despite the large income Thailand derives from tourism.
Drownings on snorkelling trips and the burning and sinking of a Krabi to Phuket ferry have raised questions about the authorities' commitment to tourism safety.
The lifeguards' contract continues to be negotiated each year - often with weeks when there are no lifeguards on beaches - even though progressive countries put beach lifesavers in the same essential service category as police and fire fighters.
The contract for lifeguards is put out to tender each year, but if only one tender is received, the tendering process has to be commenced again until two bids are made.
The governor's intervention has allowed just the Phuket Lifeguard Service to bid this year.
The annual tendering process is transparent and prevents corruption but it means there is no continuity and the lifeguards have no incentive to gain improved skills.