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Why don’t tourists heed the warnings of lifeguards on the beach?

The month of October has seen unprecedented weather conditions in Goa. On account of Cyclone Kyarr, the state has been lashed by heavy storms that have made the entire coastline extremely unsafe. Fishermen have not been able to go out to sea, but most importantly, on almost a daily basis, warnings have been issued by Drishti Marine and the Indian Meteorological Department informing tourists not to venture into the water. To make the warnings clear, red flags have been posted along the coastline and lifeguards have been stationed at every beach to enforce the warnings – yet tourists just refuse to listen. This causes lifeguards to risk their lives trying to save tourists.

Almost 100 tourists rescued

In the month of October alone, close to 100 tourists were rescued by Drishti lifeguards with the aid of locals. Despite multiple warnings, tourists have been venturing into the rough seas with absolutely no regard for their own lives, let alone the lives of those taking the risk to rescue them. What tourists don’t seem to understand, is that because of the rough seas, there has been an unusually high amount of sand erosion. This is compounded by the fact that almost every beach along the coast is experiencing strong rip currents. Tourists think that the sea looks calm for the moment, and even though they are told otherwise, they still get into the water.

On October 14, 7 people were rescued from different beaches in the South. This included a 40-year-old Russian at Colva beach, and in a separate incident on the same day, a tourist from Delhi in Varca. Over in the North around the same time, a woman along with her 13-year-old son was rescued from Baga beach, while two men from Delhi were rescued in Calangute. If that’s not enough, a 23-year-old man from Jammu and Kashmir was rescued from Arambol beach – all in a span of 24 hours. And these are just the people who made it out alive.

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Many tourists lost their lives

Just a couple of days prior to the above incidents, a 30-year-old tourist from Hubli drowned at Baga beach. The man was swept away by the dangerous rip currents. The man and his wife were a part of a group of 13 that had come to Goa on a holiday. Regardless of the multiple warnings at the beach, the group decided to go out into the water, which is when two of them got swept away. Drishti lifeguards managed to save one, but the other was declared dead on arrival. 

In another case down south, a 32-year-old man got drunk and ventured out into the sea at Colva beach. Having drowned, his body was later recovered by a lifeguard who happened to spot the body floating in the water a hundred meters from the shore. Finally, in the most recent case of tourists being rescued, over the weekend, three tourists from Telangana were rescued by firemen at Vagator beach. Despite several signboards indicating that the beach was a danger zone and a no picture zone, the three tourists decided to venture out on to the rocks to take selfies. Before long the water level increased to a point where the rocks were completely submerged, trapping the tourists on all sides. Vigilant locals nearby heard their screams for help and informed the police, who immediately sent rescue services. With the aid of a rope and a long ladder, the fire personnel were able to rescue the tourists with the help of the locals. 

Why don’t tourists listen?

These are just a few cases where lifeguards, fire personnel, and locals have risked their lives to save tourists in the last 30 days. There are many more cases that have occurred during the monsoon this year as well where tourists have ignored the warnings of signboard, red flags, and even the lifeguards, and have lost their lives. What more can the government do to prevent tourists from going out into the sea when it is rough? Should there be stricter enforcing of the law inclusive of fines? Should there be frequent, round-the-clock patrolling on the beaches? 

If you have any suggestions, we’d like to hear what you have to say. Drop a comment below and start a conversation. With more awareness, just maybe, we’ll be able to prevent people from losing their lives when visiting our beaches in Goa during the monsoons, and unprecedented weather conditions.

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