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Prevention better than cure! More life guards needed at The Baths

- 'You charge people to come to the Baths then you must put their safety & security first' - Baths worker.
January 21st, 2013 | Tags: the Baths life guards safety tourists drowning
The recent tragic incident at Anegada, which saw the death of a tourist, has resulted in the renewed call for life guards and on-the-spot emergency medical facilities at The Baths in Virgin Gorda. Photo: VINO
The Baths in Virgin Gorda is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
The Baths in Virgin Gorda is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
VALLEY, Virgin Gorda, VI - "Just now somebody is going to come up with a crazy website with the worlds most dangerous tourist beaches and when the BVI Tourist Board sees Anegada and Virgin Gorda ranking in the top ten, then we going to rush to listen to people and try to put things in place but it might just be too late," was the opinion of a worker of the Virgin Gorda park.

The recent tragic incident at Anegada, which saw the death of a tourist, has resulted in the renewed call for life guards and on-the-spot emergency medical facilities at The Baths in Virgin Gorda. "You charge people to come to the Baths then you must put their safety and security first," said a park worker who also said that it does not take a rocket scientist to determine that the distance of the clinic from The Baths does not auger well for any emergency response.

The topic was the centre of discussion when a team of reporters visited The Baths at Virgin Gorda recently. The discussion drew the attention of some tourists, workers of the park and a private business person operating at The Baths.

Speaking exclusively with Virgin Islands News Online, a tourist from the USA said that while they do enjoy the privacy of The Baths, they found it strange that there is no visible life guards at the beach. "This is one place in the world, and I travel a lot, that you don't find life guards all over the place," said Mary Isabella Swain, a tourist.

Ms Swain, however, said that despite the fact that she enjoys the privacy, safety comes first. "This is an Ocean not just a swimming pool, and that means the force of nature cannot be controlled."

Her opinion was similarly shared by most persons with whom Virgin Islands News Online spoke to. A local businessman who chose to be identified as Lilly shared his concerns. "There is definitely an urgent need for life guards here. Very often we around here and the park workers have to run to the rescue of tourists, life guards are so important for a place like here" said Lilly.

According to the concerned businessman, serious incidents occur in the waters regularly but are not necessarily reported. "Just the other day we had a battle to save some tourists, the waves was bad and they were badly beaten up against the rocks, by the time we get them out they were covered in blood," he recalled.

Lilly said they find that tourists from the USA are more often than not compliant with the warnings and instructions given by park workers. "Mostly we have major problems with the Europeans, they would insist that they are good swimmers and despite the red flags being up they still insist on going into the water and we always have to be running to their rescue and at the same time putting our own lives at risk," he explained. "But I don't know that there is anything that can be done to stop that but having life guards would be very helpful," he added.

While Lilly and others complimented the response of the clinic, they said that its better to be proactive and put some improved facilities in place. One park worker, who opted to remain anonymous, said "we had a warning and shouldn't wait for the night to look for candles." He was referring to the recent fatal incident at Anegada. "What happen over at Anegada could have been better handled if they didn't have to wait for the clinic people to come from so far," he opined.

"The other thing is that they need to upgrade thoes things, the equipment, the baby masks they got at Anegada," he said. While there was no way of confirming the medical equipment that are available for emergency responses at the Virgin Gorda or Anegada clinics need upgrading, the workers claim they are not the best.

"It's tourist we are dealing with and to be coming with baby masks in an emergency situation is just not acceptable and this is something the tourist board need to look into," added the park worker.

6 Responses to “Prevention better than cure! More life guards needed at The Baths”

  • True (21/01/2013, 08:57) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Most if not all of these tragic drowning happen to older people with heart conditions, having lifegaurds will not stop this from happening. The incident on Anegada mention was also of the first time i had heard of this on that island. The captains of the daysail boats need to be held accountable for all the souls in their charge, they are the ones making the money and so should provide a safer service to their guests.
  • ccc (21/01/2013, 13:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    more spin and the beach so dirty
  • swimmer (21/01/2013, 14:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    Finish the swimming pool !!!!!!! Here is a great idea which we have been playing politics and d!ck!ng around with for years. It is a great training ground for life guards and developing rescue swimming skill but the pool needs to be finished. Unless of course in typical BVI fashion we plan to bring life guards in from Florida.

  • E. Leonard (21/01/2013, 19:32) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Undoubtedly, trained lifeguards with guard towrrs and medical personnel are needed at the Baths and other major beaches during normal operating hours. Additionally, conditions needed to be monitored and signs posted and announcement made on radio/television indicating whether beaches are open for swimming. Further, based on conditions, the beaches may need to be closed. But any closure must be effectively, reliably and consistently communicated to the general public and strongly enforced. These actions are vital to the tourist industry and for the safety and enjoyment of the local population.
    • Excuse me? (22/01/2013, 09:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mr. Leonard, this is exactly what happens, every day. The problem is not with the concepts, the problem is with government diverting the money to give to pet projects and friends instead of putting it into saving lives.
      They didn't want to pay for towers on Cane Garden, they don't want to pay for towers or a proper system at the Baths, they still have two coastal patrol jet skis sitting unused in government storage because they didn't want to pay for training for the lifeguards to use them, since 4 years now. The number of lifeguards is down, too. Government always says they got no budget. At the same time they waste millions left and right. And people keeping losing their lives in our ocean-based tourist destination.
  • SHAME (21/01/2013, 20:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    a report goes out every single day to hotels villas businesses cruise tour operators very early in the morning. while i agree that some persons over exert them selves when they are elderly and may suffer a heart atack the majority of tourist are told some dont listen


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