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Phuket Resorts Must Stop Drownings or Beaches Will be Subject to Travel Alerts: Opinion

Phuket Resorts Must Stop Drownings or Beaches Will be Subject to Travel Alerts: Opinion

Sunday, August 1, 2010
Phuketwan Opinion

SAVING tourists from drowning on Phuket is a relatively simple matter. Visitors need to be told that swimming on Phuket can be dangerous during the low/monsoon/green/wet/summer season.

They should be told this as soon as they check in at their resorts, guesthouses or other accommodation. The same managements who encourage visitors to come to Phuket during the low season have an obligation to inform them about obvious dangers.

Use of the word ''Summer'' to entice tourists is strictly correct, but it doesn't tell visitors the whole story. Some resorts do. Sadly, most don't.

It's time Phuket's tourism industry became totally honest.

The resorts derive most benefit from attracting tourists to Phuket at this time of the year. And it is the resorts that must accept responsibility to let guests know of the dangers.

One friend of a Romanian tourist who became the latest victim of lack of information and drowned a horrible, lingering death on Phuket last month told Phuketwan that the group of friends were never warned that swimming at Karon beach was dangerous.

This Romanian has travelled the world, and he was rightly appalled at the lack of care on Phuket. On an earlier visit to one of Phuket's global tourism rivals, Jamaica, he said he had been told, on checking in at the hotel, which parts of the local beaches were safe and which were not.

Quite rightly, Phuket's beach lifeguards have made the point that they cannot save people from drowning without more help in warning the innocent victims. This help must come from the resorts.

Warnings must be issued.

If needless drownings continue, if warnings are not given at the appropriate time, the alternative is for beaches to be closed to swimmers. This would mean the good resorts that do the right thing suffering along with the bad resorts that deny any responsibility.

To a certain extent, if the drownings continue, as seems likely, it will be up to the island's honorary consuls and Bangkok embassies to implement changes through travel warnings.

Nobody would like to see travel alerts standardised more than Phuketwan.

But the point should be made that tourists run a far greater risk of drowning on Phuket than they do falling victim to violence and unrest in Bangkok. The national alerts continue loudly about Bangkok. Yet they do not mention drowning on Phuket.

While the Australian Government's travel advisory site warns against jet-ski rip-offs, no mention is made of the high incidence of fatalities in the surf off Karon.

In truth, jet-ski extortions have not been an obvious problem since last year, when the Governor of Phuket introduced compulsory insurance of the vehicles. However, the life and death issue of drownings continues. The far greater threat to citizens - one that could cost them their lives - is ignored. Why is that?

If the issues were properly understood, and especially given Australia's leadership in setting the standards for saving lives on beaches, the Australian Government might eventually even see the wisdom in recommending against swimming at some Phuket beaches during the monsoon season.

One hopes that day never comes. But the question is whether Phuket resorts are prepared to take responsibility and warn guests themselves, or whether they would prefer to have far more draconian measures taken to save people from losing their lives needlessly.
Phuket Drownings: How Life Ebbs Away on Karon Beach
Latest Lifeguards from Phuket's Karon beach are frustrated and upset that many local resorts fail to warn tourists of potential dangers that continue to cost lives needlessly.
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Breaking News UPDATE A Phuket holiday turns to horror as yet another tourist hovers close to death by drowning, a victim of inadequate warnings and ''summer'' beach holiday marketing.
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Phuket Lifeguards Save Expat, Thai Swimmers
News Analysis Newly recorded figures show which Phuket beaches have the most number of near drowning incidents, along with jellyfish stings and mishaps involving speedboats and jetskis.
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Photo Album Phuketwan knows these photos will shock. But a young boy's death by drowning on a New Year's Day holiday is a shocking thing, especially on a beach holiday island.
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Phuket's Lifeguard System Dead on the Sand
UPDATE The leader of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation will abandon lifeguard tendering and introduce a workable system for Phuket as soon as possible.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


The elephant in the room is that when tourists discover that Phuket's beaches are unsafe at this time of year, they won't come.

Posted by Sir Burr on August 2, 2010 07:44

Editor Comment:

Use of the word 'Summer' is deceptive. Any tourist who comes for three or four days at this time of the year and finds the island blanketed in rain for the entire time would be unlikely to trust Phuket's marketing experts again. The number of drownings is not great, but the point is that all these deaths are unnecessary and can be prevented with adequate warnings. Telling the whole truth about Phuket is the only option.


I'm a friend of Romanian tourist Gheorghe Paulivc, who drowned at Karon beach. Thanks to Phuketwan for the campaign to try to make Phuket's beaches safe.

Since the drowning I have been reading online about the several cases of deaths on Phuket, and especially on Karon Beach and it seems quite obvious that all drownings had the same M.O. - healthy people against the high waves and strong tides.

That's why I think the efforts should be directed towards preventing people on not going into the sea, therefore I thought about a couple things in preventing disaster.

1. Putting up red flags everywhere on the beach and written on them "Danger: Do not enter in the sea"

2. Information on the international websites such as tripadvisor (sorry for the advertising) and local websites as well about the danger of swimming in the "summer/monsoon" period, and not just about the bad weather that you will encounter.

We didn't find any material on the matter prior to our arrival.

3.Also I read online the many Europeans drown, and perhaps a cause is the long flight (we had to exchange three flights from Romania) apparently there is a connection here as well, and I think also a leaflet about this danger should be printed.

4. Information should be presented at the resorts through verbal warnings and also printed materials.

5. A campaign organised by the local authorities, with billboards/maps covering the dangerous spots, perhaps along with some photos of those who died, statistics, and so on.

6. Perhaps setting up an online page covering all of this, and along a forum page.

Mihai iorgulescu

Posted by Mihai Iorgulescu on August 2, 2010 17:37

Editor Comment:

Mihai, thanks for your ideas. We'd be glad for tripadvisor to highlight the monsoon safety issue, using Phuketwan's coverage if needed. Phuket remains a great year-round beach holiday destination, but visitors do need to be warned about the danger as they do their research and even more importantly, as they check in.


Sir Burr your comments are very true, most people come to Phuket because they have heard of how nice the beaches are. Editor for the past 2 months their has not been 3 or 4 days straight of sun... this is moonson season.

Posted by Jamie on August 3, 2010 21:09

Editor Comment:

Monsoon season, yes.

Thursday July 29, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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