avoidable unneccesary tragedies

Sun island Nalaguraidhoo

Guests drowning off the resort lagoons is becoming an alarming situation throughout the country. Its becoming more common now and almost every month we hear about a fatality of a guest or a few guests. However there doesn’t seem to be a realization of this problem in the tourism industry as something which can be acted or prevented upon. Just as any resort is perpetually concerned about the comfort, privacy or personal preferences of the guest, so shall a resort be concerned about the safety of the guest. In fact safety shall come first.

In all resorts, guests are free to swim anywhere around the island and whenever they want. However the snorkelling or diving gear is sometimes exclusively sold or rented by the dive shop which may or may not be operated by the resort. The majority of the dive shops in resorts are operated by third parties so its likely that the responsibility for the guests’ care and safety falls in between and no party really wants to take responsibility for this. However what is known as a fact is that diving and snorkelling gear is always rather a little bit expensive so sometimes guests bring their own snorkelling gear. Some travel websites and forums advice guest about this fact which doesn’t seem to have registered with resorts yet. Rates for hiring a snorkelling guide are per hour and not cheap because dive-shops and resorts all make an effort to run the operations with a streamlined workforce and bloated profit margins!

To overcome this tragic situation, resorts could in theory do implement a few of these following measures:

  • Employ full time life guards in the resorts. The guards shall be trained and equipped with rescue gear vessels etc.
  • Implement stubborn safety rules such as making it mandatory to wear buoyant safety vests on journeys to and from resort, airport, Male’ etc
  • Make sure that the guests are fully competent in swimming before lending them snorkelling gear and making a point of knowing if the guest needs additional help and providing them such help free of charge.
  • Have an arrangement or an understanding with dive-shops to lower the rates of basic snorkelling gear for novice guests or to provide a discount so as to encourage more guests to use appropriate gear and help of water sports folks.

Successful businesses count on being headstrong and stubborn! No amount of theorizing, preaching or advising will work on resorts. Employers or managements seldom need or read advices or recommendations. Its just the reality of running a resort which is tough, complicated and demanding work. Nobody really has the energy to do anything else after a hard day’s of work. So the only thing that can get the resorts attention seems to be legislation by law makers or purposeful action by the tourism ministry.