DUBAI // Rescue police say they responded to 23 water safety incidents on Dubai beaches last year, off which only two resulted in fatalities.
The figures represent a significant drop from the official 2011 statistics, in which police reported 64 incidents but only one death by drowning.
The Dubai Police rescue department said the highest call-out rate was recorded in March, April and July when five incidents were reported each month.
In all, 24 injuries were recorded during their call-outs including 13 minor injuries, nine moderate and two severe.
Police blamed the two deaths on swimming without "adequate skills" and swimming after sunset.
Major Juma Bin Darwish, head of the Dubai Police's rescue department, said his department would be stepping up their patrols around hotspots in 2013 and raising awareness by all means available.
The leading causes of drowning, he said, were failure to master basic swimming skills, sudden muscle spasms from exhaustion or failure to do warm-up exercise before swimming, failure to abide the lifeguards' instructions, strong currents, overconfidence and indifference.
Maj Darwish urged the public to dial 999 to report swimmers in trouble and provide a precise description of the location. In cases where no trained lifeguard is on duty and no skilled swimmers are around, he advised throwing safety buoys or life jackets to the victim.