Is it safe to swim? Currents, waves and tides. Read this and swim safely
The intervention of lifeguards which are stationed in our bays is crucial and sometimes is the difference between life and death. We visited some of these bays and talked to lifeguards about the service they provide.
The typical day in the life of a lifeguard on Maltese beaches may be nothing like the popular television series Baywatch, but as Red Cross officer Robert Brincau explained, their interventions are equally crucial in providing first aid and saving lives.
We caught up with Robert Brincau on one of the forty beaches which provide this service. He told us that in Malta there were about fifty lifeguards trained to be able to do this work and they are assisted by 25 other officials who coordinate operations.
“Today we can say that as far as safety, our beaches are among the best in Europe, we carry out a risk assessment of the beaches, and as can be seen, we also have the necessary sea-faring equipment to assist in operations,” – Red Cross Operations Director.
Mr Brincau said that lifeguards intervened an average of fifteen times per day.
He said that although the Maltese had started to respect wind-warnings and refrained from swimming when the flags were yellow or red, there are still days when the currents pose challenges.
“When the weather is bad, it is obvious and the Maltese don’t risk swimming in those conditions. But for us, the days following are far worse, when the wind has calmed down and the waves are still coming into shore. There is still a lot of undercurrent”
Baskalovic Đorđe has been a lifeguard in the United States since 2014, and came to Malta last year. He told us that was proud and pleased to have saved lives, particularly of swimmers who were drowning.
“Last year me and my friend Philip at Ghajn Tuffieha, we rescued a guy who was in the current, he was swimming good but when you swim in the current it’s really hard,”
Zak Mifsud, a sweet seven year old boy, tells us that his dream when he grows up is to be a lifeguard and he spends his summers waking up early to help the lifeguards that are stationed at Ta’ Fra Ben in Qawra.
“I have often seen them saving someone and I am not afraid’
The Red Cross lifeguards are stationed at Maltese beaches from June 1 until 30 September, while the lifeguards at the national pool in Tal Qroqq and at the Inspire Foundation are present all year round.