PHUKET BEACH SAFETY ZONING REJECTED – The issue of tourist safety was once again tabled at a Governors meeting and despite the growing problem with Jet Ski, Parasailing and Speedboat accidents the Thai authorities have still not managed to agree on a solution and implement it.
Yesterday the police initiated a surprise raid on Patong and Karon beach whereby officers tested Jet Ski operators for drug use.
With the police reporting to the media that some of the Jet Ski operators tested negative they did not provide clear information as to the number of people who tested positive or what action was taken against them.
“The press release was almost laughable with the police simply stating it found some who tested negative. However there was no indication of how many Jet Ski operators tested positive and no mention of any arrests. People are left wondering why the police even bothered to carry out the raid if they had no intention of doing anything about it.” Meebal.com source
Yesterday the Governor of Phuket, Maitree Intrusud, held a meeting with Chief of Phuket’s Marine 5, Phuripat Theerakulpisut at Phuket Provincial Hall after the raid to discuss and find a solution to make the beaches, especially Patong and Karon, safer for tourists.
The idea of zoning the beaches was once again raised after Colonel Panya, Patong Police Chief, told the Governor that Patong beach has become over-crowded with Parasail’s, Jet Skis and Sun Lounge operators.
The Colonel suggested that the water is becoming too dangerous for swimmer when Parasail’s and Jet Skis operate so close to the shore. He proposed that a specific zone should be set up for each business and that Jet Skis are moved out into the bay; operating from floating pontoons.
However, the Chief of Phuket’s Marine 5, Phuripat Theerakulpisut, simply retorted that ‘zoning could not be achieved.’
Phuripat Theerakulpisut remarks were not followed up with any reasoning or explanation as to why zoning couldn’t be achieve leaving many feeling that his remark was off-handed or simply an unwillingness to try such a measure.
Over the last week two accidents have occurred with Jet Skis; the first involved an Australian, who according to Phuripat Theerakulpisut was ‘showing off to the girls’. The second accident involved a Chinese tourist who was injured after his Jet Ski struck a Parasailing speedboat; neither of the accidents involved any fatalities.
Again the Governors meeting with other officials have failed to provide any useful measures and we asked one Phuket resident for their views;
“The current Governor is not exactly pro-active in fact he is rarely here and appears to jaunt off on foreign excursions at any opportunity.
As for Phuripat Theerakulpisut it’s amazing he still has a job. Here’s a man who once told Honory Consols that it was acceptable for Jet Ski operators to rip-off foreign tourists because tourists were rich and Jet Ski operators were just poor Thais.
I would go with the proposals of Colonel Panya and properly zone the beaches in order to segregate the activities; this really is the sensible solution and would certainly help prevent many of the needless accidents.”
There certainly seems to be something amiss here when suggestions are arbitrarily dismissed without proper investigation and yet unless something is achieved this coming high season will almost certainly see many more tourists being injured or worse dead due to the lack of proper sustainable safety management.