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Water safety programme launched

There was a spate of tourist deaths by drowning earlier this year.



Water safety boards were placed at the Hulhumalé beach on Thursday as part of a nationwide programme launched by the tourism ministry.

Along with a hotline number to call for help, the boards offer information about the swimming area such as advice on avoiding sharp corals.

The water safety programme was prompted by a spate of tourist deaths by drowning earlier this year. It was planned in collaboration with the police, military, island councils and the Guesthouse Association of Maldives.

Launching the programme in the capital’s suburb with Malé Mayor Shifa Mohamed, Tourism Minister Ali Waheed said safety boards would be put up on all local islands visited by tourists.

“In addition to these boards, our aim is to keep a lifeguard on duty near the board,” he added.

“Our hope is to make this the most safe place as well as the most beautiful in the world.”

There were 31 drowning incidents in 2017.

Five tourists, including a Filipino couple on their honeymoon, drowned in a single week in January, prompting the authorities to launch inspections of all tourist facilities and appeal for safety precautions during swimming, snorkelling or water sports. Police advised extra caution when children or adults who cannot swim go into the water.

Most recently, a Singaporean tourist drowned while out swimming at the Club Med Kanifinolhu resort in late April.