The Fire Brigade, to curb the increasing number of drowning incidents, has proposed to mark swimming and no-swimming zones on beaches.
Fire brigade officials plan to take help from local non–governmental organisations, fishermen and lifeguards to identify patches in the sea that have strong currents.
“We have begun surveying the beaches and once we identify the spots beyond which currents get stronger, we will mark them as no-swimming zones,” said an official from the fire department.
The no-swimming zones will be marked with red flags.
The proposal has been sent to the municipal administration for approval. The city has seen eight deaths due to drowning this year.
This system is followed in Goa where the beaches are popular tourist haunts. The Mumbai Fire Brigade will take the help of the Beach Safety Association and the Institute of Water Sports, Goa, who will be consultants for this project. “We are still in the process of mapping out these areas. Once implemented it will be helpful in curbing incidents of drowning,” Chief Fire Officer Uday Tatkare.
This will be a part of the fire department’s beach safety programme. Mumbai has a 124-km long coastline. The six beaches along the western coast, Gorai, Juhu, Versova, Marve Madh, and Aksa, are manned by lifeguards appointed by the civic body. There are only 36 lifeguards manning these beaches that see more than 50,000 visitors on weekends.
The fire department has also forwarded a proposal for procuring high-end beach safety equipment like binoculars, neon lights and additional safety jackets.
The department also plans to install boards in English, Hindi and Marathi cautioning people. These display boards will give details about high tide levels, the weather and also the number of drowning cases that have been reported on that beach.
Weekend had lifeguards on high alert
Lifeguards attached to the Mumbai Fire Brigade were on high alert on Sunday because the tide was expected to be as high as 4.5 metres.
On a new moon night, the water experiences stronger gravitational pull and tides are higher than usual.
“All factors, the high tide in the afternoon, the weekend crowds and amavasya [new moon] day, we had deployed more people on the beaches,” said a fire official.
All the six beaches—Gorai, Versova, Madh, Marve, Juhu and Aksa —manned by municipal lifeguards were alerted and additional lifeguards deployed.
Four firemen, three civic lifeguards and three local fishermen were posted at Juhu.