x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

'Fine swimmers who ignore danger signs'

Stricter enforcement of safety rules would help reduce the number of drownings, swimmers say, after three people drowned in Ajman on Friday.

NORTHERN EMIRATES // Stricter enforcement of safety rules would help reduce the number of drownings, swimmers say.

Three people drowned and two others were rescued off Ajman Corniche Beach on Friday after they decided to ignore a warning and go swimming in high waves.

The weather in Ajman and Sharjah had been stormy since Thursday afternoon and high waves flooded the area around the Corniche, breaking several barriers.

Police had closed all roads entering the Corniche parking area.

It was not known why the men ignored all the signs warning of danger and entered the sea.

Abu Amro, a Sharjah resident, said: "The best solution would be to start imposing fines on anyone who ignores the warning not to swim. People here understand and obey the rules more readily if a fine is involved than a police patrol just saying, 'Don't go swimming'."

No punishment has ever been meted to a swimmer who ignored a warning and almost drowned, but a spokesman for Sharjah Police said once those who are rescued are ready to be discharged from hospital, they warn them never to repeat the practice.

There are several signposts on Ajman and Sharjah beaches that advise the public not to go into the water when it is not safe.

The warning sign in Ajman is in English and Arabic, but a number of expatriates livingthere cannot read or speak either language.

In April, five Russians were rescued from the rough seas of Ajman Corniche Beach. The swimmers said they could not read the signs.

On Umm Al Quwain beaches, there are no signs in any language to warn swimmers of potentially dangerous areas. Due tolack of maintenance, signboards on UAQ Corniche have been swept away.

Officials from UAQ Civil Defence and Municipality said yesterday they would soon replace the missing signs in Arabic, English and Urdu.

ykakande@thenational.ae