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Are you ready to hit the beach this summer? Follow these tips to help make your romp in the sand safely

Hello March! Hello Summer!

As summertime enters the scene, a nice and cool beach outing becomes tempting. But before you book a resort or plan that cool, refreshing trip, make sure to check out these reminders from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to keep your summer escapade safe.

1.      Be familiar with Water Safety Guidelines.

In 2014, the PCG released the Memorandum Circular 03-14, also known as Water Safety Guidelines. It outlines the guidelines for safety and security requirements of coastal and beach resorts, including vessels with pool facilities.

Under the said memorandum, all beach resorts must have a sufficient number of lifeguards duly trained by accredited organizations such as the Philippine Red Cross, Philippine Life Saver, or PCG.

Certified first-aiders should also be available, and first-aid kits and medicine should be accessible within the resort in case of emergencies.

Moreover, the guideline specifies that the resorts must mark the safe swimming areas through buoys or floating devices attached to a safety net.

Each resort is also required to establish safety regulations approved by the PCG and must be visible to guests.

So, before you make a reservation, check if all of these precautionary measures are employed by the resort.

2.      Strictly observe the resort’s house rules.

As mentioned, each resort has its own house rules that also cover the safety of the guests. According to the Water Safety Guidelines, swimming rules should be posted near the entrance of the pool, so it will be hard to miss.

Remember that rules are not just restrictions; they are given so that we can enjoy the water without the crippling fear of accidents.

3.      Check in with local authorities.

If you are visiting a public place, such as falls, rivers, or lakes, inform and coordinate with the local government unit (LGU).

This serves as a layer of safety net for tourists and visitors as local government officials, such as tourism officers, barangay officials, or purok leaders can provide the do’s and don’ts in the area, and they can also serve as guides!

Captain Airland Lapitan of PCG Occidental Mindoro emphasized the importance of proper communication with the LGU before excursion activities.

“Mas safe sila kung alam ng LGU [na bibisita sila]. Kasi [kung] pupunta sila [at] hindi alam ng LGU [at] hindi alam ng PCG, kapag nawala sila, hindi namin alam kung saan sila hahanapin. Para alam din ng barangay [officers] kung ano ‘yung risk na pwede nilang harapin,” he said.

[They are safer if the LGU knows that they are visiting a tourist area. If they are going without informing the LGU, or the PCG, rescue operations will be difficult. This also helps barangay officers to be able to inform them of the risks that they might encounter]

4.      Have a responsible adult present during water activities and wear proper safety gear.

Lapitan advises the vacationers to “always look for the safety of their companions,” especially when there are children involved. This increases the chances of rescue and reduces the risk of drowning.

He also recommends checking if the life jackets and other life preservers are functioning well before using them.

“Mayroong approved na life jackets na pwedeng gamitin…Pwede [ring] gamitin ‘yung mga salbabida. Always make sure na walang butas yung gagamitin nila. Isa rin yan sa chinecheck ng PCG [sa mga resort]…kung pwede pa ba gamitin or not [‘yung mga life jacket nila],” he explained.

[There are approved life jackets that can be used. Salbabidas can also be used. Always make sure that there are no holes in the equipment. That is one of the things that PCG checks in a resort; whether their life jackets are functioning or not

5.      Avoid drinking alcohol when swimming or participating in watersporting activities.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report in 2023, alcohol use near or in the water is one of the factors that are associated with an increased risk of drowning.

“Although part ng kasiyahan ‘yan, pero kapag nakainom na sila, huwag na silang lulusong ng dagat kasi may possibility na malunod sila,” Lapitan said.

[Although alcohol is part of the fun, when they are drunk, it is advisable to not swim because there is a possibility of drowning]

He highlighted that alcohol increases the risk of accidents as it impairs our judgment and significantly reduces our reaction time.

6.      If it looks dangerous, do not dare to do it.

The adrenalin rush that you are hoping to get might lead to something unpredictable and worse, death.

A recent incident in the municipality of Magsaysay resulted in the death of a teenager, who drowned in the river after jumping off a cliff about 60 feet high from the waterline.

“Wag na nating i-dare yung mga sarili natin na alam na nating delikado. Always look for [your] safety first,” Lapitan underscored.

[Do not dare ourselves to do something, especially if we know that it is dangerous]

Remember that we are responsible for our safety. And while we are at it, we should try to look out for our family and friends as well. Consequently, March is Drowning Prevention Month, so “do your part, be water smart!” (DSG/PIA MIMAROPA – Occidental Mindoro)

About the Author

Dianne Francis Sy-Gorembalem

Information Officer

Region 4B

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