3 drownings in two weeks: Experts in UAE remind residents to follow safety rules

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 7, 2021

At least three UAE residents, including two teens and a mum, have drowned off beaches over the past two weeks.

Residents have been urged to be extra cautious when venturing out into the open waters, following a spate of drownings in different parts of the country. At least three UAE residents, including two teens and a mum, have drowned off beaches over the past two weeks.

As the police remind parents to keep an eye on their children during beach outings, experts lamented how residents often fail to follow basic safety protocols whenever they are in open waters.

“People need to at least check weather conditions and high tide warnings before venturing into open waters. At least ensure that there is a lifeguard on the beach before swimming,” said Nader Malik, a freelance swimming coach.

While two Emirati teenagers drowned off the Dibba Al Fujairah beach and in Ras Al Khaimah on June 6 and May 27, respectively, a 32-year-old Indian woman died in Umm Al Quwaing after her family went for a swim on May 28.

Providing details about the Dibba incident, the Fujairah Police said two teens — aged 18 and 16 — had gone swimming when they went missing. “After a search operation, one of them was found dead, while the other was rescued,” reported the police.

In Ras Al Khaimah, a 17-year-old Emirati drowned after he was swept away by high turbulent waves on Al Rams beach, located around 12km north of Ras Al Khaimah, while swimming with his friends and relatives at night on May 27.

The Indian woman was with her husband, son and daughter when she drowned during a trip to Al Beit Al Mutwahid Beach in Umm Al Quwain on May 28. “Her four-year-old daughter nearly drowned, but she was rescued by beachgoers, who immediately responded to the family’s call for help,” stated police sources.

The Abu Dhabi Police on Monday said that lack of supervision was the leading cause of drowning accidents, particularly among children.

The police warned parents and families against leaving children unsupervised in pools. Negligence, swimming pools without rails, and lack of swimming skills are among the top factors that lead to accidents and tragedies, they added.

Lifeguards and swimming coaches who train children and adults in pools and open waters have said there are certain safetly protocols everyone must keep in mind.

Pedro Torririt, a swimming coach at High Performance Swimming Club, said: “If you’re going to swim in an open beach, check the flag on the station. If it is red, it could mean that the life guard is off-duty or it’s high tide. Swim confidently when it is green.”

He added: “If there is a red flag, try not to swim beyond the boundaries or the buoyancy markers placed on the beach. Strong swimmers can venture out a little beyond this point, but, amateur swimmers must stay close to the beach. Also, stay at a place where the water reaches your chest. If the water is over the chest, you have to move back.”

Torririt said waves are unpredictable and dangerous and going beyond a certain limit may have dangerous consequences. “High waves can smack a swimmer and you could be pulled into the deeper seas because the current under the water is so strong.”

He strongly advised swimmers to stay close to the shallow waters and carry floaters for safety. “As much as possible, stay in the line of sight of the life guard. He or she should be able to see you and you should be able to see them.”

He added that night-time swimming is highly discouraged. “You could relax on the beach and wet your feet, but heading into the open waters is very risky.”


> If a red flag is up on the beach, do not swim beyond the boundaries and stay close to the shore

> Stay at a place where the water reaches your chest

> Stay in the life guard’s line of sight

> Avoid night swimming

> Never leave kids unsupervised

> Equip kids with life jackets or flotation devices



Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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