Panaji: Despite the lockdown in Goa due to the coronavirus outbreak, Shashikant Jadhav is still on duty, guarding a popular beach stretch which wears a deserted look.
Jadhav and other lifeguards have to be present on duty as they need to keep an eye on occasional visitors and locals who venture into the sea.
“The present scenario is like what we witness during the monsoon months. However, an emergency can arise any time so we continue to be on guard, Jadhav, who guards the Calangute-Baga beach stretch in North Goa district, told PTI.
While the coastal state is under lockdown to check the spread of the deadly coronavirus, lifeguards of Drishti Marine, a private agency, still go out to work as on any other normal day.
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“I monitor the weather and sea conditions to assess the rip currents and tides. We put up red flags along the beaches to indicate the shoreline is not open for swimming and I continue to patrol the stretch. If I see people venturing into the waters, I ask them to go back home,” Jadhav said.
Drishti Marin’s Executive Director Ravi Shankar is also busy ensuring that their lifeguard services continue amid the current situation.
“There is an eco-system still existing along the Goa beaches, including fishermen, locals whose houses are located at the shore, tourists stranded at beach resorts and seasonal beach shack employees for whom the beach is their home. Some people come to the beaches in the morning and evening to have respite from the summer heat,” he said.
“There have been some incidents of people venturing into the sea for a dip. In such cases, the lifeguards ask the swimmers to return to the shore and go back home,” he said.
“Over the last few weeks, we have been sensitizing our lifeguards and staff about the do’s and don’ts as prescribed by the WHO and the Goa health department. Training sessions have been conducted for the 450-strong lifeguard force to educate them about COVID-19 and dispel myths,” he said.
“Every lifeguard tower his equipped with masks, gloves, hand wash, soaps and sanitizers so that lifeguards can regularly sanitize themselves,” Shankar said.
The lifeguards have been asked to maintain a distance of two metres with others at all times and to actively use whistles and hailers to give instructions to people present on the beaches, he added.