Shocking lack of water safety at tourist site


I WISH to relate an experience where I witnessed a shocking lack of water safety measures at a major tourist destination.

During a family vacation, we rented a paddle boat and kayak at Pulau Dayang Bunting but there was no safety briefing, only a large signboard indicating there was no lifeguard.

We were advised by the boatman to wear our life jackets at all times.

I boarded the kayak with a 12-year-old while his elder sibling took a paddle boat.

We had difficulty manoeuvring the kayak in the 14m-deep lake and it started filling up with water.

Within seconds, it capsized and we found ourselves in the water.

I had no way to call for help and at the same time, had to calm the child who was crying.

We clung to the sides of the elder sister’s paddle boat as she tried to paddle back to the dock.

At the dock, their parents said they had to ask multiple times before help was dispatched.

When one staffer turned up in a motorboat, he was unprepared.

I asked him to tow the paddle boat back to the dock with us holding on to it but his response was: “Kalau nak tolong, kena bayar” (If you want help, you have to pay).

I was shocked but before I could negotiate payment, he said he needed to ask someone first and left.

I cannot tell how long we were in the water before the motorboat came back with two male staffers.

I asked them to let the youngest child board the boat but this was refused.

We were told to let go of the kayak and cling to the motorboat instead, which we did.

When we arrived at the dock, there was no staff to help us out of the water.

It was shocking that the staff who came in a boat did not have any rope to pull us out of the water and there was no ladder either.

The operator was clearly untrained in water safety, with no notion of the duty of care towards clients.

This incident is a reminder of why water safety measures should be made standard nationwide.

TRAUMATISED TOURIST

Petaling Jaya

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