Safe Water Panama 2015

By: Cynthia Lehman

Living in Panama, a country surrounded by water of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, provides tons of opportunity for water sports, anything from floating to boating. As a resident in the beaches area of Panama I have often wondered about water safety.  It is not that I swim in the ocean that often, but a lot of my friends do, as well as the Panamanians.  There are two public beaches in Gorgona which have been packed, by Panama standards, over the past holiday week. It often begs the question “Who is watching the crowd?”

This particular area with it’s, white and black sand, has been known for having dangerous riptides.  Each year a number of people get caught up in a riptide and die swimming in Panama’s oceans. A riptide is a strong channel of water moving out to sea, usually though the surf line at speeds of up to eight feet per second. Rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer.

water panama usa europe real estate

Photo by Bob Jensen

About a month ago I was awakened before dawn with what sounded like a military troop singing and running on the beach.  I inquired from a friend who said they were lifeguards training.  However, I never saw them until this past New Year’s weekend. As I was walking my dogs on the beach I spotted a tent with the words “Proteccion Civil Panama” on it.  It turns out my lifeguards are back!

Panama has started an Aquatic Safety Operations program called SAFE WATER 2015 which takes place from January 1 to March 1, 2015. Lifeguards, paramedics and first aid trained staff will be guarding at least 38 sites.

The CEO of the National System of Civil Protection (NSCP), José Donderis, said that the entity will cover with 435 units, 22 beaches and 6 Rivers within the national territory of Panama.

water panama usa europe real estate

Photo by Bob Jensen

That coverage under the responsibility of SINAPROC, will be properly marked with flags of Civil Protection, which defines the inner perimeter and area security. “It is very important that all swimmers follow the recommendations of the lifeguards, who will be there to provide security,” says Donderis. It is also noted that more than 15,000 people visited 22 beaches and 6 rivers covered by lifesavers SINAPROC, SENAN, SENAFRONT, firefighters and Red Cross over the past week.

While you are enjoying the beach use caution and remember tragedies are avoidable:

–       Use sunscreen of at least 30SPF applied every two hours

–       Drink plenty of water – we are only 9 degrees off the equator

–       Check the depth level before going into the water

–       Avoid drinking alcohol and eating before swimming

–       Educate yourself on identifying a riptide

o   Riptides are a channel of churning, choppy water with a line of sea foam or debris moving steadily out to sea.

o   A break in the incoming wave pattern.

o   Different colored water beyond the surf zone

–       Escaping a Riptide – you cannot swim out of a riptide!

o   Do not panic – remain calm will help conserve energy

o   Do not swim towards the shore – swim parallel until you escape the riptide

o   Use landmarks to determine when you are away from the riptide

o   Breaking waves will move toward shore

–       If you see someone in trouble in the water, PLAY IT SAFE, ASK FOR HELP

–       Follow the lifeguard recommendations

–       Keep Emergency Numbers on hand: National Police: 104  –  Firefighters: 103

SINAPROC * 335/316-0080 / 316-1287

Have a fun and safe summer in Panama!

Read about Panama here!

Follow us in our Social Media / Síguenos en nuestras Redes Sociales