Posted by Dr. Peter Harris on Oct 22, 2017
"Water Safety  and Learn to Swim."     Shall we be involved?
Lifeguards and water safety was the topic at our recent club meeting when  J.P. Mestanza of the Phuket News indicated this was a big story.
Meanwhile PP Larry  had proposed that we look seriously at this issue.
He stated :If you ask the average resident of Thailand  “What is the leading cause of deaths in children over the age of one?”  you would probable get a response,  “motor bike accidents”.
In fact, the leading cause of deaths in Thailand of children over the age of one is drowning.  Statistics indicate that, on average, 2650 Thai children drown each year, or an average of about seven per day.  , I suspect with the proximity of water all over and around the island, our child deaths would probably be even more.
Meanwhile at a meeting held with the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club which is an English language club and has many features similar to ours they indicated a desire to extend their Water Safety program to Phuket.
Following the visit The RCoPB has invited Dr. John Schorr the PE of the Chiang Mai RC to visit and talk on November 24th 2017 about a potential project in Phuket. 
 Chiang Mai  Rotary Club has a grant from Safe Child Thailand and can provide training for local established swim instructors in Patong.  Their team would teach their curriculum which is an adaptation of the Royal Life Saving Society of the Commonwealth Nations curriculum that encompasses 15 hours of instruction for each course in 10, 90 minute sessions (30 minutes pool-side and 60 minutes in pool).
The CMRC can also pay the costs of the first demonstration class for fourth graders at a local public school.  They will also provide an assessment team to evaluate and suggest improvements in our local program as we move to sponsor our own swim classes.
What CMIRC would ask from Patong?
Find an appropriate facility for the instruction; to establish a channel of communication with the local tessabon (municipal) schools, so that we can identify 4th grade classes and transport them to and from instruction; to find public-spirited local established swim instructors to conduct the program; and, most importantly, to commit to continuing this program far into the future using local club funds. The estimate that a course with 30-35 students will cost around 18,000 baht.  In Chiang Mai they teach children at 11 schools for around 200,000 baht or around 500-600 baht per child for 15hours of instruction.
 They have strong support from the Royal Commonwealth Life Saving Society.   They currently teach 300 - 9 year olds from 11 schools to swim
PP Larry believes that here in Phuket the stakeholders for such a project could be:
All the schools, The Phuket Lifeguard Association, The Kusoldurm Foundation and similar EFR groups,parents and of course, the children of Phuket
Possible contributors/partners in such project might include: Dive shops/hotels and other facilities with swimming pools PADI,The Phuket media,Other Phuket Rotary Clubs, Life guards, Relevant government agencies and the Phuket Ministry of Education.
There is a small pool at the Patong Municipal Kindergarten but there is no swimming program at the Baan SiamYen Municipal School which has 250  nine year olds. The school would welcome swimming lessons. This school is a focus for our water and sanitation programs, literacy awards  and it is appropriate for us to assist as part of our commitment to community health and safety.
 Our local Goals would be:
 “To teach every 9 year old student enrolled in school in Patong to swim”, later expanding to other towns thru the cooperation of other Rotary Clubs and  serve as a collection point for data regarding child drownings in order to continually optimize the program.
Such a project would obviously extend over several years, and could become a legacy project of the club, certainly enhancing our image among the community.