The government of Goa has granted an extension to Drishti to continue to manage Beach Lifeguarding and Water Safety Services for a further period of three years till 30th June 2022.
“In 2008 when the contract was first drawn out to move lifeguarding operations from a government purview to a private contract, it was done with the belief that a highly skilled operation was the need of the hour with Goa’s tourist profile and footfall. With 32 years of experience in marine management and the past 11 years in lifeguarding and water safety services, Drishti has built the operation from the ground up, with a comprehensive network that runs from the northern most tip to the last southern beaches of Goa. 105kms of coastline have seen a reduction of drowning incidents by 99% and to date 5000+ lives have been saved. Today’s announcement comes as a testament to this record. We are indeed grateful to the Goa government for recognizing our work and assure all visitors’ safety on the coastline” stated Ravi Shankar, Exec. Director, Drishti Marine.
The lifeguarding operation seen today is a reflection of the detailed hard work put in behind the scenes to build it. Each pillar in the operation has been meticulously drawn out. In 2008 a yard-by-yard survey of the coastline was done. Placement of the towers, training and deployment of lifeguards, communication and rescue equipment and rescues movements have been audited and the entire procedure has been approved under ISO 9001 2015. This knowledge continues to be updated and built on. As a direct result of this, in the last 60 days, individuals have come and gone but the service has been delivered relentlessly; because Drishti are committed to saving lives.
“Drishti complies with the tender requirement of 90% Goans and recruitment is done from among the local youth. Training is carried out by the Special Rescue Training Academy, certified and accredited under International Rescue Instructors Authority (I.R.I.A) Canada with NLS Australia lifeguarding standards that have been customized for Indian conditions. Sreta is now a training partner to NSDC. This is Drishti’s commitment to upskilling the youth of Goa. Lifeguards are also trained to use international standard rescue equipment; boards, jet skis, beach patrolling jeeps, quick response walkie-talkies, international standard systems of flags and alert codes” added Ravi Shankar.
“A lifeguard has the knowledge, the training, the strength, and the capability to save someone’s life. Every time they put on the uniform they know they are the last and final lifeline for all who go into the water. As a company Drishti is committed to ensure these heroes of the water, are given their rightful place of respect and honour in the community by fighting an inherent disbelief that systems cannot be honest and effectively run.”
Addressing the lifeguards on duty and the ones absconding from work he added “Dear Drishti Lifeguards, you are our pride and our family. We are concerned that hardworking lifeguard like you are in financial distress. Lifeguard will be taken back at last drawn salary on case to case basis. No deduction except for absent days. Increment and bonus will be paid in February after two months of working. You are always a part of the Drishti family. Let’s return to what we are best at and keep our beaches protected. Remember: Rescue! Rescue! Rescue!”
With a deep commitment to the beach ecology, Drishti lifeguards are also trained in stranded marine mammal rescue with Terra Conscious, GoaForest Department and IUCN India. The lifeguards not only read currents and tides but are trained to handle marine mammal strandings and also have been recording sand erosion patterns for the last five years – which is the biggest challenge Goa will face.
Drishti Ver 2.0:
With climate change and significant erosion of beaches affecting sea conditions recently, beach lifeguarding can benefit from additional measures to ensure the safety of swimmers in new forming tides and currents. Never one to accept the obvious the company has drawn out a detailed plan for unique upgrades to its scope of operations; increasing efficiency using Artificial Intelligence and innovative mechanical methods for patrolling from the water as well as land.
One will see increased use of technology for identifying potential drowning victims, thermal, Infrared and AI based imaging to recognize potential water and physical hazards. Offshore lifeguard floating stations will be deployed in high visitor zones to reduce reaction time, robots for making caution announcements and crowd control and electric ATV’s for Lifeguard patrolling and logistics. It’s in line with this, that the company embarked on recruiting Captains and Supervisors who are graduates recently.
The company is working closely with various government and private agencies to upgrade vocational skills thereby increasing lifeguard employability in various sectors. These include;
- Hospitality and Real Estate developers for Swimming Pool lifeguards and attendants program
- Vocational training and certification of lifeguards
a. Jetski Operator
b. Powerboat handling – Inboard & Outboard including Marine Master program
c. Parasail Boat handlings
d. Recreational diving
e. Swift water rescue technicians course
f. Lifeguard & Swift water Train the Trainer programs etc. so that they can be absorbed into recreational water sports sector
3. Cross training across multiple locations – A team of our lifeguards and Supervisors are now proceeding to Canada and UK to learn and upgrade their skills in adverse weather conditions. This will be a series program that will increase the team’s capability to work in different weather and geographical conditions. Similarly, we expect trainers from these countries to come to work with us on our beaches.
4. Certification and further education programs through NSDC
Additionally, reinforcing its commitment towards its family of lifeguards, internal HR restructuring and new systems are in process basis learnings and surveys carried out during the recent expression of dissatisfaction.
The company is indeed grateful to all those countless hours put in by the team and volunteers to keep the shores of Goa safe.