An exclusive swimming zone for the benefit of women at Palolem Beach seems to have backfired, as lifeguards are now at the receiving end and are being confronted by tourists over the segregated access to the sea
Efforts to provide an exclusive swimming zone for the benefit of women at Palolem Beach seems to have backfired, as lifeguards are now at the receiving end and are being confronted by tourists over the segregated access to the sea.
According to sources, an exclusive ‘Ladies Swimming Zone’ was initially marked along a 100 metres stretch on the southern side of Palolem Beach, which is believed to be part of the safe-swimming zone.
Shortly after the ‘Ladies Swimming Zone’ was marked, male swimmers began arguing with the lifeguards and sought to know why they were being denied entry into the safe-swimming zone.
Following frequent complaints that a 100-metre long stretch had been reserved exclusively for women, the ‘Ladies Swimming Zone’ was later reduced to about 30 metres.
“But we are still at the receiving end, as many male and female tourists argue with us and complain that we are preventing them from enjoying the beach with their family members or partners. They keep asking us, ‘We come to enjoy the beach together, why are you separating us’,” informed a lifeguard at Palolem.
According to the lifeguard, the move to set up an exclusive ‘Ladies Swimming Zone’ was felt after some domestic male tourists were accused of misbehaving with foreign women tourists in the sea.
“It is true that our attention was earlier drawn to misbehaviour by male swimmers, but now the recent protests by people are of a different nature,” informed another lifeguard.
The lifeguards have admitted that there are many people who prefer to enter the sea in groups and take offence when male swimmers are asked not to enter the Ladies Swimming Zone.
Lifeguards have now worked out a solution to resolve this unusual situation. “To avoid arguments and complaints from tourists, we allow a male swimmer to enter the ‘Ladies Swimming Zone’ only if he is accompanied by lady swimmer/s,” informed a lifeguard.
Incidentally, Dhristhi lifeguards have also displayed a board indicating a safe swimming zone near the main entrance of Palolem beach. However, many domestic tourists ignore warnings of lifeguards, especially under the influence of alcohol, and stray into unsafe waters only to find themselves in distress.
Lifeguards then have the arduous task of rescuing the swimmers and bringing them ashore. [H]