Phuket Hotels Association Joins Forces to Improve Water Safety

Drowning has tragically claimed over 2.5 million lives in the past decade, with the majority of fatalities occurring in developing countries, particularly affecting children below the age of 10.

To commemorate the World Drowning Prevention Day held on 25th July 2023, the Phuket Hotels Association has partnered with the Australian Consul-General in Phuket and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) to launch a series of crucial initiatives aimed at enhancing water safety in Thailand.

Promoting Water Safety: “Collaboration in Water Safety” Seminar

In a proactive move, the Phuket Hotels Association, the Australian Consul-General in Phuket, and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) have organized a significant “Collaboration in Water Safety” seminar. This event, held on 25th July, served as a platform for discussing the future of water safety in this popular resort destination, Phuket.

Recognizing the importance of well-prepared hotel staff, the Phuket Hotels Association and LSV have initiated a two-week intensive training programme in Patong Beach, Phuket. The primary focus of this training is to equip non-lifeguard hotel staff, including security guards, waiters, sports staff, and kids’ club supervisors, with vital water safety skills.

Extensive Training for Enhanced Safety

The comprehensive training, led by professional trainers from Life Saving Victoria, entails theoretical classroom sessions followed by practical exercises in the swimming pool and the sea. Participants will be trained in essential emergency procedures, including water rescue, resuscitation, and first aid techniques.

Specific sessions will address dealing with various incidents, such as injured limbs, sunstroke, cuts, bleeding, choking, and heart attacks. Moreover, trainees will be instructed in evaluating sea conditions and identifying potential hazards, such as strong currents.

To ensure top-notch training, two highly experienced professional lifesaving trainers from Life Saving Victoria, Peter Gibney and Jack Kennedy, have travelled to Phuket to lead the intensive courses. They are supported by two Phuket-based lifesaving trainers. This initiative exemplifies the Phuket Hotels Association’s commitment to enhancing health and safety standards at the island’s hotels and resorts, with regular lifesaving and first aid training.

Pictured at the “Collaboration in Water Safety” seminar on 25th July (from left to right): Mr. Jack Kennedy, life saving trainer, LSV; Mr. Peter Gibney, life saving trainer, LSV; Col. Bannawit Chalermthong, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Phang Nga Naval Base Third Area Command; Khun Hathairat Rangsansarit, Deputy Director, Patong Hospital; Dr. Angela Macdonald PSM, The Ambassador of Australia to Thailand; Mr. Danai Sununtarod, Deputy Governor, Governor’s Office; Mr. Matthew Barclay, Consul-General, Australian Consulate-General, Phuket; Mr. Daniel Meury, Director, Phuket Hotels Association; Khun Hasachai Noourai, Representative, Phuket Office of Tourism & Sports; and Ms. Jayne MacDougall, Executive Director, Phuket Hotels Association

Distinguished Inauguration of the Seminar

The “Collaboration in Water Safety” seminar commenced with Mr Danai Sununtarod, the Deputy Governor of Phuket, inaugurating the event. Distinguished contributors included Dr Angela Macdonald PSM, The Ambassador of Australia to Thailand, Mr Matthew Barclay, the Australian Consul-General to Phuket, Mr Bjorn Courage, President of the Phuket Hotels Association, and Mr Daniel Meury, Secretary of the Phuket Hotels Association. Mr Bill Trempus from the Rotary Club of Patong Beach also spoke about his organization’s efforts to teach children to swim.

Australia takes great pride in supporting World Drowning Prevention Day in Phuket. Since establishing its Consulate-General in Phuket in 2016, Australia has been actively engaged in promoting water safety measures on the island, and this commitment will continue. Dr Angela Macdonald PSM, The Ambassador of Australia to Thailand, emphasized the importance of shared experiences and collaboration between Thailand and Australia to reduce drowning incidents in both nations.

Key Discussions and Proposals:

The seminar panel engaged in meaningful discussions surrounding crucial water safety issues. Among the notable proposals was the support for a newly established committee by the Governor, tasked with implementing and overseeing beach safety standards. The audience, comprising hotel general managers, consular representatives, local government officials, swimming and lifesaving groups, and non-profit organizations, actively participated in these discussions.

Phuket Hotels Association Joins Forces to Improve Water Safety

At the forefront of the water safety drive in Phuket is Ms Jayne MacDougall, the Executive Director of the Phuket Hotels Association. For over 20 years, she has been dedicated to organizing water safety and lifeguard training in Phuket. She emphasized that investing in frontline training can prevent drowning and make Phuket a safer place for everyone.

Ms MacDougall echoed the World Health Organisation’s call to “Do One Thing” in 2023 to save lives and prevent drowning. Simple steps, such as installing barriers near water, providing safe places for children, teaching swimming and water safety, and training hotel staff in first aid, can collectively save numerous lives.

Conclusion

The collaborative efforts of the Phuket Hotels Association, the Australian Consul-General in Phuket, and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) exemplify a steadfast commitment to improving water safety and preventing drowning incidents in Thailand. Through comprehensive training initiatives and valuable discussions, these partners aim to create a safer environment for residents and visitors alike. By working together and taking proactive steps, they believe that many lives can be saved, making Phuket a shining example of water safety and responsible tourism.

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