Text, photos and concept are the original work of S. A. Martin

Faculty of International Studies Prince of Songkla University

Rationale for Water Safety Education in Hospitality & Tourism

In recent years, there have been more drownings on an annualbasis at surf beaches around Phuket than in all the islands of the State of Hawaii combined! The following short article offers the concept and a very basic lesson plan for introducing English terms pertinent to ocean safety in Phuket. Realistically, this article functions to spark awareness of the topic for the hotel staff in Phuket?adding to the potential of information reaching the tourists froma variety of mediums.

Many Thai (and foreign) hotel staff may have little understanding of ocean safety and related issues and the following information is meant to help educate hotel staff regarding the best way
to communicate water safety information to hotel guests. Unquestionably, this is an awkward topic whereby no one likely feels comfortable giving a guest at the hotel a warning.

Introduction to Ocean Safety Vocabulary

Indeed, some of these terms do not have a Thai equivalent and translation is not straightforward. However, in the spirit of initiating awareness and imagination for the topic of water
safety, we have begun to integrate some Thai language translations.


Lifeguard Tower in Phuket


A lifeguard tower is the place on the beach where thelifeguards set up each day and place their lifesaving equipment; it is used to watch and supervise swimmers in order to prevent drowning and other dangers.

Words and meanings for Phuket Ocean Safety and Awareness for Hospitality and Tourism Staff

?Beach Break ??? คลื่นแตกชายหาด ??? The type of waves that take shape near a sandy beach

Drowning ??? จมนำา้ ??? Death from suffocation caused by a liquid entering the lungs and preventing the absorption of oxygen

Lifeguard ??? ไลฟ์การ์ด ??? A water safety professional, normally wearing red shorts and uniform

Lifeguard Tower ??? หอคอยไลฟ์การ์ด ??? A place on the beach where the lifeguards set up each day and place their lifesaving equipment?an observation deck used to watch swimmers in order to prevent drowning and other dangers

Rescue ??? ช่วยเหลือ ??? When an individual, whether civilian or professional, rescues or assists another person (referred to as a victim) to safety.

Rip Currents / Ocean Currents ??? สานนำา้ ??? Strong near-shore ocean currents which pose a danger to swimmers; a river-like flow of water returning to the open sea.

Surf (N.) ??? คลื่นแตก ??? Generally defined as waves in the sea when they break upon the shore ?or the splash and sound of breaking waves

Surf (V.) ??? โต้คลื่น ??? To ride an ocean wave!

Surfing ??? การเล่นโต้คลื่น ??? The sport of riding the surf, especially on a surfboard

Warning Signs & Flags ??? ป้ายเตือน, ธงเตือน ??? Signs placed on or near the beach advising beachgoers of water safety issues. Flags may be placed daily to indicate danger levels. In Phuket, red flags mean danger!

The Delivery of Water Safety Information
Given the unique and diverse tourism setting in Phuket,a mixture of people from around the world who speak, read,and accept information in various capacities?water safety information is best delivered from multiple sources. Tactfulness and approach from hotel staff may need to consider the cultural background of guests. Here are several examples of a simple dialogue, with an up-beat and positive tone.

? ?Did you know that Phuket has surfing??

? ?Please be careful at the beach is you see any surf?

? ?Did you know that there are rip currents on
beaches here, especially when there are waves??

? ?Check to see if there are lifeguards on duty?

? ?If there are lifeguards at the beach, smile and say hello
to them, ask them where to swim safely?

? ?Warning Signs & Flags mean it?s dangerous
to swim on that day?

? ?Have you seen the new Phuket Ocean Safety Guide
featured here in Thailand Surfrider Magazine??’

As mentioned in this brief article, it is inevitably awkward to warn guests at the hotel about ocean safety, and indeed tactfulness and style used in the delivery of such warning may
vary among cultures and languages. In a first-step toward this, The Phuket Ocean Safety Guide provudes a visual insight to the issues which can bridge the gap in language inherent dangers at our west coast beaches. Hotels can request that TSM deliver the free Phuket Ocean Safety Guide found in every issue of the magazine.

English for Phuket Ocean Safety is a new lesson plan
designed to promote awareness, understanding and
communication among Thailand?s Hospitality and
Tourism industry, especially for Phuket and Phang Nga.
For information or to share any comments on this article,
please contact:

S. A. Martin was a Hawaii County Water Safety
Officer during the 1990s and worked with the
American Red Cross and the State of California
Lifeguard Program in San Clemente. He currently
holds an MA in Social Science & an MBA in
Hospitality and Tourism. He is a lecturer at the
Faculty of International Studies,
Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus.





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