Several incidents of people drowning at city beaches in the past month,has prompted the civic administration to improve safety at beaches by deploying boys from local koliwadas or fishermens colonies as lifeguards.
The citys six beaches including Girgaum Chowpatty,Juhu Beach,Dadar Beach and Aksa Beach will get 50 new lifeguards.
The youth of the nearby Koliwadas,who are unemployed during monsoon when there is no fishing activity in sea,will be recruited for this purpose,said officials.
These boys can swim well and have the added advantage of living close to the beach to rush to the rescue of anyone who is drowning, said Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar.
The BMC also plans to add watch towers,jet skis and other life-saving equipment. As of now,the beach safety gear includes rescue tubes,life jackets,ring buoys,kayaks that fail during high tides,said officials.
While there were about 15 drowning incidents since the start of June,almost half of them have taken place at the Juhu Beach.
Of the nine drowning-deaths,six were at Juhu,and three near Dadar and Haji Ali.
While 22 persons were rescued at different beaches across the city,10 were rescued at Juhu,according to the fire department of BMC.
At present 35 lifeguards with two extras on standby are stationed across the six beaches. They are augmented by fire brigades flood-relief teams,which are brought in on weekends at crowded beaches and during high-tide or rough weather conditions.
Three students of a group of 13 picnicking at Gorai beach drowned earlier this month during high tide. Three boys had drowned off the Juhu beach as they ventured too far into the water during high tide.