Dangers of Phuket Beaches

Phuket Island is a very beautiful place to visit. People travel to this exotic holiday destination and leave all of their cares and worries back in their own countries. This is a good thing if you wish to enjoy a relaxing vacation in paradise. However, one should not be so careless as to think that just because you are on holiday, you are safe from danger.

Red Warning Flag on the shore of Bang Tao Beach


There are many dangerous things in Phuket Island, driving motorcycles is probably the most dangerous. One place that most people do not consider dangerous are the beaches, or more specifically, the ocean. The ocean is a large and powerful thing, it can be unpredictable at times and fatal at others.

When dealing with the ocean, it is smart to always keep in mind that you are not smarter, stronger or better then the ocean. The ocean can and will do whatever it wants with you whenever it wants despite your best intentions to the contrary. It is a force that you cannot win against, and knowing this can keep you safe. Respect the ocean and you will be much safer in it’s embrace.

Rip Tides

The number one danger facing any visitor to one of the many Phuket beaches are rip tides. These deadly currents are caused by the breaking waves funneling together into a channel of water that is sucked back out into the sea. Rip tides happen all year round, some stronger then others, but most notably during the monsoon season where the majority of ocean related deaths occur.

When you are caught in a rip tide for the first time, it can be a very scary feeling. Your body is caught up in a force of water that you cannot really see and it is pulling you out to sea at an alarming rate. The first reaction for anyone to have in this situation is to fight. They swim against the current, trying to be stronger then the ocean. The ocean is always stronger then us and in a situation like this, you will tire yourself out and put yourself at higher risk of drowning.

The proper way to get safely out of a rip tide is to not panic. Remember that the rip tide is just a channel of water maybe a few meters wide. Your best course of action is to swim parallel to the shoreline. The current will still be carrying you out to sea, but as you are swimming perpendicular to the current, you will quickly find yourself free of it’s grasp. Once you are clear of the rip tide then it is safe to swim back to shore without fear of tiring yourself out against the strength of the ocean.

The best way to get out of a rip tide is to never be caught in one in the first place. Be aware of the flags posted along the beach, they are there for a reason. Red flags mean that there are strong rip tides and it is not recommended that you go out into the water. Yellow flags mean that the water is less dangerous, so use your own discretion as to whether you should go out.

The most dangerous beaches for rip tides are Karon Beach and Nai Harn Beach, but you should take care at any beach that you go to.

Jellyfish

One danger of the ocean’s along the beaches of Phuket are jellyfish. For the most part, jellyfish are not very dangerous. They drift within the water with their stingers dangling below them, stinging any fish or people that come into contact with them. Stings from a jellyfish can be very painful, but they are rarely fatal.

If you are stung by a jellyfish, first, get away from the jellyfish so you don’t get stung more. When you are clear of the creature, swim into shore. You will probably be in a lot of pain, but not so much that you will lose the ability to swim. Once on shore, you can neutralize the sting with vinegar, or lacking that, urine will do the job although in a more unpleasant way, but if you are in serious pain, do you really care?

About Lawrence

Google+ : Lawrence is an American expat who has lived in Thailand since 2008. He has spent the majority of his time living on the Island of Phuket, but has also done a fair amount of traveling around the country.

Comments

  1. Lawrence, I’m always alarmed at the numbers of people drowning off Thai beaches or when diving. So many unnecessary deaths!
    Catherine recently posted…Interview: Benjawan on VOAMy Profile

    • Me too Cat, but it all comes from inexperience with the ocean combine with a sense of invincibility while on holiday. They should do a mandatory ocean survival tips briefing on-board any flight coming into Phuket/Thailand, it would likely save a lot of lives. But alas, that is practical, so of course it will never happen.

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