The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has urged citizens and residents to follow all safety procedures and measures when going to the sea or swimming pools in order to avoid any accidents.

Stressing its eagerness to make every effort to provide protection for sea and beach visitors in the country, the MoI said its competent departments are making great efforts to provide protection and prevention for sea-goers.

At the same time, the "self-commitment and level of awareness and responsiveness to these efforts remain the most important factor to avoid any unfortunate incidents”, a press statement by the ministry said.

Maj Ali Mubarak al-Mohannadi, director of the External Regions Department at General Directorate of Coasts and Borders Security, said the department is keen to provide the highest levels of security for sea-goers by conducting marine and coastal patrols hourly. These are in addition to conducting additional patrols during weekends, official holidays, Eid and events, and distributing search and rescue team patrols at all seashores to immediately deal with any cases or reports by applying the requirements and emphasising the safety methods.

He also drew attention to a number of errors committed by sea-goers that may lead to accidents, including the failure to adhere to swimming in designated areas as well as swimming near places of water currents, not complying with swimming instructions and ignoring the rules and requirements for safe swimming.

The MoI official added that the General Directorate of Coasts and Borders Security recommends a set of requirements for swimming lovers. These include swimming in the places specified for such purpose as well as swimming near the shore, with an emphasis on not swimming alone in addition to avoiding it in case of weather fluctuations or when feeling tired or having a high body temperature, as well as staying away from areas of water currents.

Maj al-Mohannadi advised water bike enthusiasts to register their maritime vessels with the competent authorities, adhere to the legal age requirement (18 years and above) when driving a water bike and wear a life jacket when driving.

He also urged them not to disturb seafarers, wear a bike key on the wrist, not to drive near swimming areas, refrain from causing accidents and to avoid overloading of the water bike.

Further, he advised marine vessel owners to review the forecast and know the weather before proceeding to sail, as well as to ensure the presence of marine safety tools such as a life jacket for each passenger and first-aid tools, and registration of maritime vessels at General Directorate of Coasts and Borders Security centres. They should also keep away from prohibited and private areas in accordance with the law, stick to the specified capacity of the vessels, operate the automatic tracking device and all navigation devices and lights when sailing, and be aware of the regional borders of the State.

Regarding safety measures in swimming pools, Captain Abdullah Abdulrahman al-Hammadi, officer from the Inspection and Licensing Section at the Prevention Department - General Directorate of Civil Defence, said there are some general requirements.

“Respecting these requirements is sufficient to achieve safety and security," he stressed. These include providing a guide board for swimming pools in Arabic and English, providing signs indicating the depth of the pool and ensuring it is suitable for different age groups, as well as providing signs to prevent diving in non-allocated places. The requirement also include providing a sufficient number of life jackets and first-aid equipment and ensuring that the floor at the edges of the pool have a non-slip surface.

He also highlighted the need for all transformers and electrical switches to be in safe and waterproof areas with the provision of swimming pools with appropriate lighting and providing back-up flashlights working in the event of a power outage, as well as the presence of a barrier separating the pool from electrical equipment at a distance of not less than 5ft.

With regard to hotels and sports establishments, Captain al-Hammadi stressed the need to have supervisers to monitor the proceedings and for drowning rescue, while calling on parents to follow their children in private pools, master first-aid techniques and adhere to all necessary requirements.

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