FYI: Lifeguards are specifically there to stop you from drowning, and not stop you from banging.
After a Maltese mother took to Facebook to complain about lifeguards at St George’s Bay who didn’t stop a couple from having sex in front of her and her children, the director of operations at Red Cross Malta, Robert Brincau, spoke to Lovin Malta to clarify the situation.
“What happens if the lifeguard tends to the people having sex and someone is drowning in the background?”
Lifeguards in Malta fall under the operations of Red Cross Malta, who are often seen everywhere from beaches, to massive live events, to local festas. At all of these events, lifeguards have one job – to save lives, and Brincau hopes people aren’t forgetting that.
“A lifeguard’s first duty is to save lives and administer First Aid,” Brincau told Lovin Malta. “For most people, it’s true, the lifeguards are the point of reference on the beach. However, our remit has nothing to do with risky behaviour.”
Indeed, Brincau was adamant that if lifeguards get involved in anything outside of their remit, the lifeguards could face disciplinary action from the Red Cross.
“Every day we have hundreds of cases of nudity on the beach, and they are handled by the police. We are not law enforcement. Beachgoers can get the attention of the lifeguards, and there are MTA supervisors on the beach as well, but we report to the police – that’s all we can do, we can do nothing else,” he said.
He explained that lifeguards have a specific job, and foregoing that job to handle other issues could endanger other lives.
“Our remit has nothing to do with risky behaviour on the beach,” he continued. “People with harpoons, or people fighting… if people fight, we wait till they hurt and then we give them First Aid.”
Lifeguards in Malta know that St George’s Bay is “prone to these things 24/7”, and they’ve seen everything from naked people to unconscious people on a daily basis.
“It’s not fair putting the responsibility on the shoulders of lifeguards,” Brincau said. “If you look at the EU standards on lifeguards, the lifeguard is not involved in the day-to-day running of the beach.”
He ended his explanation by responding to the mother who criticised the lifeguards at St George’s Bay.
“What if the mother’s son was drowning at that moment… what do we do then?”