Come December, Goa converts itself into one big party destination. The roads have never-ending serpentine queues of vehicles and the beaches are crowded, practically leaving little or no place to stand.
Amidst this chaos stand the Drishti Marine lifeguards, continuously alert, manning 27 beaches across South Goa and 18 beaches in North Goa.
With upmarket tourists coming to Goa, the State has to meet the expectations of the holidaymakers.
President of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa Nilesh Shah, says, “We have noticed that the tourists we get are looking for value and the industry is market driven. With international events like Sunburn, which will take place in Goa, we will see a lot of tourists in Goa. The numbers of tourists in Goa are gradually picking up. This is the time of the year when Drishti Marine will have to work to keep the beaches safe.”
MORE FORCE TO MAN THE BEACHES
Drishti is gearing up for the task. In anticipation of the peak tourism weeks from Christmas to New Year, the lifeguard agency has roped in more personnel to carry out midnight shifts, deploying volunteers and using artificial intelligence for comprehensive beach safety support.
Navin Awasthi, CEO, Drishti Marine, says they have taken preventive measures to help tourists and locals during this busy season.
“We have increased the number of lifesavers by 24 personnel and are planning to deploy state-of-the-art AI bots – Aurus and Triton. We have taken these steps in anticipation of the increased footfalls along popular stretches of Goa’s coastline – especially Baga, Miramar, Calangute and Candolim beaches in North Goa and Colva, Benaulim and Palolem beaches in South Goa.”
INCREASED RESCUE OPERATIONS
Between December 2022 and January 2023, a total of 171 rescue operations were undertaken during the last festive season. With that in mind, this year, along with additional personnel, eight volunteers from Drishti Marine’s volunteer programme will be deployed on Goa’s densely populated beaches, who along with lifeguards will keep vigil over the large midnight crowds on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
More than 450 lifesavers will be manning designated sites and 80 beach safety patrol personnel will be engaged in the operations to ensure unhindered service.
CROWD MANAGEMENT AND DRUNK TOURISTS
According to Ashwin Ghag, a Drishti Marine lifesaver stationed at Calangute beach, extra manpower is necessary for efficient crowd management.
“The two significant issues during Christmas and New Year are crowd management and looking out for individuals who are intoxicated. For this reason, deploying more lifesavers helps mitigate any unforeseen circumstances that may arise,” says Ghag.
Navin, says, “We will also deploy the AI bots – Triton and Aurus – for comprehensive beach safety support, along with additional jet skis. The jeep-patrolling fleet has been enhanced with extra vehicles to speedily assist with rescues and intensify patrolling along the beach stretches.