World Drowning Prevention Day: Know about the 'water warriors' of Baywatch Lifeguard Association
Every year tourists are drawn to Mumbai’s beaches, which strongly stand as part of the city's identity. And while we spend hours on the beach, layering sunscreen and dipping our sandy toes in the water, we often miss greeting the guardians of the beaches.
So on this, World Drowning Prevention Day, we’ve decided to sing the tales of the unsung heroes of Mumbai's Baywatch Lifeguard Association. These lifeguards have made it their mission to protect thousands from Mumbai's tidal waves - especially during the audacious monsoons.
Our un-sung water warriors
Mumbai-based Bunty Rao, started India Baywatch Association with his friends in 1998. Fuelled with the passion to help other, Bunty Rao alone has saved more than 125 lives in the last 25 years - a feat that‘s quite unimaginable. His accomplishments are an inspiration to many and have attracted numerous accords to his name by celebrities, clubs and organisations. He was recently acknowledged for his efforts by Mumbai’s Rotary Club and you can watch the video here.
In a conversation with Knocksense, Bunty Rao was quoted saying, "As a lifeguard, you need to be ready for anything. Scanning the water for possible rescues during high tides, surface currents or just someone drowning from exhaustion. Armed with a storm whistle, rescue buoy, first-aid kit, inflated boats and spinal immobilisation boar, our lifeguards are always prepared, come what may."
Each Baywatch Lifeguard Association member is rigorously trained in first-aid, CPR, technicalities of an AED machine, briefed with specifications of danger zones, and surf rescue. Also, these 'water warriors' do not believe in taking an off - they monitor Juhu’s coastline at all times! From sunrise to sunset, they perform their duty all year round.
Timely medical aid to injured water animals
Rao further added, "Whether we plan to take a dip in one of Mumbai‘s beach or not, these waters are home to many aquatic animals. We mustn't forget that."
On July 20, while doing their regular duty at Juhu Beach, the Baywatch lifeguards rescued a turtle, entangled in metal wires and seaweed. Thanks to their in-depth training, the turtle was washed immediately with sweetened water and further, handed over to the Forest Department.
The association has assisted in the training of rookies and junior guards for many years now. They also have a special program where roadside hawkers such as chai-walas and paan-walas, are trained to save lives during night hours.
Bunty Rao urges people to follow government guidelines and not to hover near Mumbai’s beaches, specially during peak monsoon season. In the past few days, many casualties have been reported due to careless attitude and disregard for orders.
So, on this World Drowning Prevention Day, let’s pledge to be responsible citizens of Mumbai, adhere to government rules and educate ourselves with the hazards of swimming in high-tide waters.