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Lifeguard lessons: Mumbai's Kolis will no longer be at sea in rescue ops

Lifeguard lessons: Mumbai's Kolis will no longer be at sea in rescue ops
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Goan lifeguards will train budding lifeguards in Mumbai to safeguard lives at seven popular beach stretches in India's commercial capital, a Goa government-appointed beach management agency said on Wednesday.

The beach stretches are Girgaum, Chowpatty, Dadar, Juhu, Versova, Aksa and Gorai, said a statement issued by Drishti Lifesaving. The agency will work closely with Mumbai's Koli (fisherfolk community) to train them in rescue services.

Drishti Lifesaving has been appointed by the Mumbai Fire Department under the aegis of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corp (BMC) for beach safety and rescue services in Mumbai, the statement said.

"Our first priority is the recruitment and training of lifeguards. The Goan lifeguard team has been doing an exceptional service. A team from Goa comprising senior trainers and instructors is now working closely with the Koli community in Mumbai to train them in rescue services, life-saving techniques and physical fitness," Ravi Shankar, CEO, Drishti Lifesaving, said.

Over 150 lifeguards will be posted on Mumbai's seven beach stretches from mid-December, he added.

"The lifeguards will advise beachgoers and swimmers to adhere to some basic safety measures. Swimmers should ideally swim only in the swim zones which are marked with red and yellow flags by the lifeguards," Shankar said.

He added that non-swim zones would also be marked on the beaches as a caution to beachgoers against venturing into the risky stretches of the sea which are unsafe for swimming.

In 2008, Drishti Lifesaving began operations in Goa. Since then over 3,000 people have been saved from drowning due to rescue operations by the agency.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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