Most of Goa’s beaches face the wide open seas. That means whether the weather is fair or not, there is a certain amount of danger in going swimming as there are a lot of undercurrents and riptides. It’s far worse in the monsoons. Waves are strong and they often scale a height of at least 2.9 meters. The wind coming off the water is fierce enough to knock you off your feet and even back a few steps. That makes swimming in such conditions completely off-limits. Most of Goa’s beaches are manned by lifeguards but most people, locals and tourists alike, do not pay heed to them and it usually ends in tragedy for those involved. In light of the multiple drowning tragedies in the last week and a half, the authorities now plan to go one step further and make swimming after sunset a punishable offense.
Swimming is off limits during the monsoons
Since the monsoons have begun in beautiful Goa, there has been not 1 but 3 separate incidents of drowning on North Goa’s beaches. All 3 incidents have involved tourists that visited the state for a good time and instead ended in disaster.
The first group of 14 people that arrived at Goa from Maharastra, lost 5 of their friends on Calangute beach. Among those lost was a young policeman. All ventured into the sea early in the morning but the current was too strong and 5 got pulled underwater. 3 bodies washed up on shore but the remaining 2 weren’t found until almost a week later.
Another dangerous thing that tourists do on Goa’s beaches is head straight for any rocks that line the sides of the beach. They appear to do it for the purpose of taking pictures. What they seem to fail to comprehend is that even when walking on the rocks, there is a high probability of losing footing and falling into the water. And that is what happened to the tourists in the subsequent incidents.
The other 2 incidents happened over the past weekend at Baga and Sinquerim. All the tourists were South Indian. While the incident at Baga involved a group of 8 people, the other at Sinquerim had 4. While swimming in the rough sea wasn’t the direct reason for drowning, all did go on the rocks and were hit by huge waves. In the Baga incident, one Dinesh Ranganathan was identified as the deceased. AtSinquerim, 33-year-old Sasikumar Vasan from Tamil Nadu lost his life when he and 2 others went to the rocks to take pictures. A huge wave hit him and he almost immediately disappeared from sight.
Authorities to pass a bill prohibiting swimming from dusk to dawn
With the frequency of these tragedies at the onset of the monsoons, the government is now proposing to put forth a bill which will ensure that swimming during between dawn to dusk is banned. No one, whether local or tourist will be able to go swimming without it being punishable.
Tourism Minister Ajgoankar said, “A law will be made where beach patrolling will be extended in order to prevent mishaps and unwarranted activities which is affecting Goa’s image as a safe tourism destination”. This law will also supposedly also discourage people from visiting the beach entirely thus also preventing incidents of rape and robbery which have also occurred in the beach vicinity.
There were also talks held to put the vigilance of beach activities in certain areas in the hands of locals and tourism stakeholder but this was put down.
Tourists are most welcome to visit Goa throughout the year. However, it poses a major problem when they pay no heed to warning signs and messages on the beaches and defy the lifeguards on duty. And so, it has now led to the government attempting to be forceful in setting things right and ensuring that tourism does not suffer anymore.
Information credit – https://www.goaprism.com/swimming-at-beaches-after-sunset-will-be-punishable/