Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities are inspecting and selecting locations for the construction of 12 additional coastguard towers from Ochheuteal to Chum Teav Mao beaches in Sihanoukville to rescue people involved in any incidents in the water.

Provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearom said on October 19 that governor Kouch Chamroeun and officials from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction went to see the locations before making a decision where to construct the towers.

“So far, we have four towers and [on October 19] the provincial governor led a team to inspect the locations where we plan to build 12 more towers along the beaches,” he said.

He said the construction budget will be determined once the locations for the towers are selected. The cost could depend on the type of the towers and the size of the project, among other things.

“However, we suggest that tourists be more careful. When they go into the water at any location, they must have life jackets and not venture into the sea where there are big waves or deep water for their own safety,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk has frequently reported incidents of drowning. During the Pchum Ben public holiday two weeks ago, four young siblings drowned after getting swept out to sea.

Chamroeun also advised beach vendors to maintain clean sanitation at their locations to attract tourists who can increase their income as visitors like a clean environment.

Harry Lao, education manager at Helpcode Cambodia, supported the plan. He requested that the provincial administration continue to cooperate with his organisation to spread information about drownings in the province more widely.

“In the past, our organisation had asked the provincial administration to put up signs in public places about the dangers of drowning and signs about how to get first aid for drowning. But the provincial administration allowed us to only place them at schools, not in other public places,” he said.

Lao said his NGO still wanted to place warning signs about drowning and maintain drowning measures in hazardous coastal areas because most people do not understand conditions in the water. Sea and fresh water are different. But when waves come, they can wash people away and lead to tragedy.

Lao urged that coast guards be put on standby at the towers, especially during stormy weather. He said there also had to be warning signs about the possibility of drowning and further publicity about the causes of drowning.