Lack of lifeguards leads to bathing restrictions on Vung Tau beaches

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A sign at the entrance to the Paradise Resort World in Vung Tau City says people can bathe on the beach only until 5 p.m.

Authorities in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau have issued a controversial regulation that allows people to enter beaches for bathing and swimming only between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

They say the regulation is needed because there are not enough lifeguards on the beaches.

H., a security guard at the Paradise Resort World on Thuy Van Street in Vung Tau City, told Thanh Nien he was unhappy about stopping anyone who entered the resort to bathe on the beach, but he has been ordered to do so.

"If I do not stop them, the company will reprimand me because it is a violation of the provincial government's regulation," he said.

The regulation has sparked outrage among city residents. Nguyen Van Cuong, residing in Thang Tam Ward, Vung Tau City, said: "Why do we have to bathe only during working hours?

"State office workers and students have to work and study during these hours. How can we find free time to bathe?"

Doan The Long of Vung Tau-Paradise Joint Venture said the regulation was inappropriate. He said company representatives have repeatedly asked the provincial People's Committee to amend the regulation, but they have not received a reply.

Under the regulation, the management board of beach resorts will be held responsible for any death caused by drowning when people bathe in the sea outside the working hours.

"That's why we were forced to ban people from bathing, when government lifeguards are no longer on duty," Long said.

Pham Khac To, deputy chief of the Vung Tau Tourism Area Management Board, told Thanh Nien  it was hard to recruit a qualified lifeguard.

"Lifeguards have to work very hard; they have to soak themselves in water all day long, so they cannot work at night."

Truong Thi Huong, deputy chairwoman of the Vung Tau City People's Committee, blamed a lack of lifeguards for recent drownings on the beach.

"Several tourists and city residents who went to the beach early in the morning or late in the evening have drowned as there were no lifeguards around to rescue them," she said.

However, she said the city government was planning to extend the time for people to bathe to 7 p.m.

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