As Qatar residents flock to the country’s many beaches to cool off this summer, the issue of safety has once again been raised.
Unlike previous years, no high-profile drownings have taken place in 2015. To ensure residents stay safe, the Ministry of Interior has offered several water safety tips on its Facebook page, including:
- Don’t swim alone, or in prohibited areas;
- Avoid swimming at night and stay away from people on jet skis;
- If facing difficulty in the water, maintain calm and paddle your feet to stay afloat. Wave your hands to draw the attention of others;
- Do not attempt to rescue someone who is drowning if you are not trained to do so; and
- Monitor children carefully and consider putting on floating devices to help them swim.
Anyone who needs help or sees someone in danger should call the General Directorate of Coasts Security oat 2354666 or 999, the MOI added.
According to health officials, about 20 people drown in Qatar each year, many of them children.
In recent years, there have also been several reports of residents drowning while swimming near beaches after getting caught in the tide.
To improve water safety along Qatar’s coastline, the Cabinet approved a draft law earlier this year that would require authorities to set up designated swimming zones on Qatar’s beaches.
The legislation would apply not only to open coastline, but to “all tourist facilities including clubs, resorts and private areas overlooking the sea.”
However, the draft has yet to be passed into law.