KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 19 — Terengganu Civil Defence Force (APM) will have more lifeguard teams stationed along the beach to monitor the safety of visitors there, said its director, Lt Col Che Adam A Rahman.
Currently, he said, lifeguards were only stationed at four locations, namely Pantai Bukit Kluang, Besut; Taman Laut Pulau Redang; Pantai Batu Buruk in Kuala Terengganu and Pantai Kekabu, Marang, with the next one at Pantai Pulau Kekabu, also in Marang.
He told this to Bernama when asked on a suggestion by the director of the Institute of Oceanography and Environment (INOS), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), Associate Professor Dr Mohd Fadzil Mohd Akhir for more coastal lifeguards to be placed to prevent drowning incidents along the coast of Terengganu.
The latest incident was reported last Friday, involving four students of the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Polytechnic in Dungun who were feared to have drowned at Pantai Teluk Bidara, Dungun, and a week earlier, two Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) students in Chendering drowned in Pantai Pandak.
However, on both occasions, the lifeguards were not at the location and according to Che Adam, the lifeguards would not be on duty during the Northeast Monsoon season, which is from October to March, as the area is closed for recreational activities.
“Only periodical monitoring is conducted by lifeguards during the monsoon period,” he said, adding that the placement of more lifeguards would incur cost.
Meanwhile, Dr Mohd Fadzil said if the sea is calm, it does not mean that it is safe for swimming or bathing activities as there are other factors, including rip current, that makes it dangerous.
He said a study conducted by UMT found that the rip current, an intermittent strong surface current flowing seaward from the shore, often happened at several locations between Pantai Pandak in Chendering, as well as Teluk Bidara and Teluk Lipat in Dungun.
Besides the rip current, other factors that pose danger to visitors are the steep beach slope, he added.
Terengganu has the longest stretch of beaches in the country, which spans 244 kilometres. — Bernama