KUANTAN: Despite warning signs from authorities to avoid water-related activities during rainy season, picnickers in Pahang continue to ignore it by taking a dip in the sea.
This, according to lifeguards from the Civil Defence Force (APM) who were deployed daily to monitor the beaches between 11am and 7pm, were evident in Pantai Sepat, Pantai Batu Hitam, Balok, Teluk Chempedak and Cherating, where the red flags were being flown.
Lifeguard supervisor Sergeant Baharin Abdul Majid, who is stationed in Teluk Chempedak beach, said facing stubborn beachgoers were among some of the challenges they faced when carrying out their duties on these tourist spots.
He said lifeguards could only advised picnickers against entering the water as they have no authority to stop them from doing so.
"When we try to prevent them from entering the water, some will even scold us back. Lifeguards will usually remind them about the red flags and danger posed by huge waves," he said.
Lifeguard, Sulaiman Abdul Karim, 30, who is stationed at Cherating, said besides picnickers, there were also surfers, both local and foreigners, who sometimes spent long hours in the water.
"It is just impossible for us to prevent them from entering the water. Most of them appeared to be professional surfers but the problem is when picnickers saw them riding waves, picnickers will want to try their luck by going for a swim.
"We understand that it is the school holidays but they need to understand the danger posed by the rough seas...Things can go wrong in a split second," he said.
Picnicker Muslim Ibrahim, 34, from Gambang urged visitors to adhere to the red flag warning and advice from lifeguards.
"If something were to happen, the lifeguards will be blamed. Please cooperate with them." he said.