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Letters to Editors

2014.06.21   Lifeguards in place at beaches

The Editor
South China Morning Post

Dear Editor,

I refer to a letter by S. Procter which was published on 10 June 2014 and would like to advise that the measures suggested have long been implemented at the gazetted beaches in Hong Kong. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) provide lifeguard and first-aid services at 38 gazetted beaches (including Shek O Beach). All our lifeguards are holders of valid Beach Lifeguard Award and/or Pool Lifeguard Award meeting the requirements of relevant National Sports Association and they have received first-aid training. To enhance the quality of lifesaving service and ensure that lifeguards are conversant with the rescue operations for drowning swimmers, the LCSD provides a wide range of training for lifeguards on a regular basis. Mobilisation drills are also organised regularly at all LCSD beaches during the swimming season to get the lifeguards prepared and ready for lifesaving operations at all time.

Currently, LCSD adopts a three-tier approach by (a) maintaining lifeguard services all year round at four most popular gazetted beaches, namely Clear Water Bay Second Beach, Silverstrand Beach, Golden Beach and Deep Water Bay Beach; (b) providing lifeguard services from March to November for Repulse Bay Beach, Middle Bay Beach, Stanley Main Beach and Big Wave Bay Beach which are more frequently used; and (c) providing lifeguard service from April to October each year for the remaining beaches (including Shek O Beach) as they are less frequently used in winter. When the beaches are not provided with lifesaving service in winter months, we still arrange two lifeguards on duty at each beach to provide first-aid service to beach visitors. We will keep the situation under regular review to see if there are justifications for extending lifesaving service in winter to more beaches.

Apart from this, the LCSD has devoted much effort to raising public awareness of water safety. When a beach is not suitable for swimming, our beach staff will hoist a red flag and display warning notices to alert the public. They will also broadcast regular announcements to advise swimmers not to enter the water. Such information will also be disseminated to public immediately through press releases and the GovHK Notifications App. Furthermore, notices are displayed at prominent locations of our beaches reminding swimmers not to enter the water outside the lifeguard service hours and in winter months when lifeguard service has been temporarily suspended in some beaches. Announcements will also be broadcasted regularly at the beaches with lifeguard service temporarily suspended reminding the public not to enter the water.

Yours sincerely,

Miss Margrit Li Lai-fan
Assistant Director (Leisure Services)
Leisure and Cultural Services Department

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