Drowning has caused over 2.5 million deaths in the last decade, and tragically, the vast majority of these fatalities occur in developing countries and involve children less than 10 years of age. To mark this year’s World Drowning Prevention Day on 25th July 2023, the Phuket Hotels Association has joined hands with the Australian Consul-General in Phuket and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) to stage a series of important activities that are designed to improve water safety in Thailand.
Yesterday (Tuesday 25th July), these like-minded partners are hosting a major “Collaboration in Water Safety” seminar to discuss the future of water safety in this popular resort destination. This will be followed by a two-week series of intensive training sessions in Patong Beach, Phuket, that will focus on upskilling non-lifeguard hotel staff.
Spearheaded by Phuket Hotels Association and led by professional trainers from LSV, the training will be offered to hotel staff who work near swimming pools or beaches. More than 50 hotel team members have signed up so far to join the three courses, including security guards, waiters, sports staff and kids’ club supervisors.
Following classroom sessions, the participants will train in the swimming pool and the sea to teach them exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. This will include water rescue, resuscitation and first aid techniques, with specific sessions on how to deal with incidents such as injured limbs, sunstroke, cuts and bleeding, choking, and heart attacks. Trainees will also be instructed how to check the sea conditions and look for potential hazards, such as strong currents.
Two professional lifesaving trainers from LSV, both with extensive lifesaving experience in Australian pools and beaches, Peter Gibney and Jack Kennedy, have travelled to Phuket to conduct these intensive courses. They are being ably supported by two Phuket-based lifesaving trainers. This marks the latest example of Phuket Hotels Association’s strategy to improve health and safety at the island’s hotels and resorts, with properties regularly undertaking lifesaving and first aid training.
The “Collaboration in Water Safety” seminar was opened today by Mr. Danai Sununtarod, the Deputy Governor of Phuket, and featured important contributions from 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. In addition, Mr. Bill Trempus of the Rotary Club of Patong Beach, spoke about his organisation’s efforts to teach children to swim.
“Australia is a proud supporter of World Drowning Prevention Day in Phuket. Since our Consulate-General in Phuket was established in 2016, we have focused on supporting water safety measures on the island and will continue to do so. Thailand and Australia face common challenges and together we can share experiences and learn from each other to decrease drownings in both countries,” said Dr. Angela Macdonald PSM, The Ambassador of Australia to Thailand.
The seminar panel discussed key issues relating to water safety, and one popular proposal was to support the new committee recently established by the Governor to implement and oversee beach safety standards. The audience consisted of hotel general managers, consular representatives, local government officials, swimming and lifesaving groups, and non-profit organisations.
At the forefront of this water safety drive is Ms. Jayne MacDougall, Executive Director of the Phuket Hotels Association, who has organised water safety and lifeguard training in Phuket for more than 20 years.
“The impact of drowning on a family, a community and a destination are profound. Investing time and effort in training those at the frontline will prevent drowning and make Phuket a safer place for all. In 2023, the World Health Organisation is encouraging us all to ‘Do One Thing’ to save lives and prevent drowning. By taking 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, we can save many lives,” said Jayne MacDougall.
For more information about the Phuket Hotels Association, please visit: www.phukethotelsassociation.
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