221 people fined in one day on Dubai's beaches
People soak up the sun and enjoy swimming at one of the beches in Dubai. Official statistics show that incidents of drowning while swimming in the sea have declined over the past one year. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Dubai Police recorded three drowning incidents this year, resulting in two deaths.

According to records, there has been a 10 per cent decline in drowning incidents on Dubai beaches last year, with 14 incidents registered in 2020, compared to 17 in 2019. Moreover, ten people died from drowning at sea last year, compared to 13 deaths in 2019.

Despite the dramatic decline in the number of drowning deaths and injuries this year, Dubai Police have warned beachgoers not to go for a swim after a meal or after sunset or during high tide and strong winds in the Arabian Gulf.

Colonel Dr Hassan Al Suwaidi, Director of Ports Police Station, said that most accidents involved people who did not have sufficient swimming skills or were either swimming close to underwater rocks or beyond the designated swimming areas.

He urged parents not to leave children unattended while at the beach or in swimming pools.

“Parents are responsible for their children. Don’t leave your child alone on the beach even if there is a lifeguard around. International standards suggest that drowning incidents in swimming pools can happen within two to three minutes if one is not attentive enough, while at sea, one can get drowned within five minutes [if not attentive enough],” said Col Al Suwaidi.

He said that Dubai Police were keen on awareness campaigns to educate beachgoers about what to do while at the beach and that one should not go for a swim in the sea during high tide and in bad weather.

Authorities want to curb drowning deaths by making people more aware of the dangers of unpredictable tidal behaviour and increased surf — especially as evening descends on the beaches and visibility is sharply reduced.

Lt Col Ali Al Naqbi, Director of the Maritime Rescue Department in Dubai Police, said that recently, they rescued a group of five people who were on a banana boat ride in the sea. “A boat was on the same track as the riders and they fell into the sea,” said Lt Col Al Naqbi.

He urged beachgoers to follow the instructions of lifeguards from Dubai Municipality deployed on the beaches as well as the sign boards that specify areas and timing of swimming on Dubai beaches.

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How to stay safe when you go out for a swim

Check the weather and sea forecast before going to the beach or before going out swimming in the sea.

Follow the safety instructions on the beach.

Remember, swimming is prohibited when the red flag is raised.

Keep an eye on your children at all times and don’t allow them to swim alone or without wearing life jackets.

Swim only in the designated areas.

Swimming is prohibited after sunset.

Do not enter the water if you do not know how to swim.

Call 999 for emergencies.