Panambur Beach Lifeguards - The Unsung Heroes of Mangalore

Panambur Beach Lifeguards - The Unsung Heroes of Mangalore

Brijesh Garodi
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore

Mangalore, Jul 5: Saving lives, by whatever means, is a noble deed indeed. While we hear of doctors and Samaritans saving people from the jaws of death, there is another category of people who do it on a daily basis, the unsung heroes who often go unnoticed.

They are the lifeguards of Mangalore beaches, for whom saving life is a daily routine.

Mangalore is a city of beaches. They are the prime source of attraction for tourists, especially for those who do not live in coastal parts. No tourist to Mangalore returns home without a glimpse of the golden sands and the roaring waves. But it's not only tourists - local Mangaloreans are as much fond of the beach as anybody out there, and weekend trips to Panambur, Tannir Bavi or any other beach is a must for most.

Among Mangalore's beaches, the jewel in the crown is Panambur beach. Why, one may ask, and the reason is the development that has taken place here over the years, not only in terms of introducing attractive rides for visitors, but also the security and cleanliness it maintains.

It was not always so. The credit for making this beach so beautiful goes to Panambur Beach Tourism Development Project, a private firm which has taken the beach on lease for a period of 10 years to develop and maintain it. One may find it hard to believe, but this project is the first of its kind in the whole of India. The beach has undergone a number of changes ever since 2008, when it was given on lease.

Among the many, the most important development at the beach is the installation of lifeguards, the Panambur Beach Tourism Department, that is, the PBTD Lifeguards.

Earlier, the annual death rate due to drowning in Panambur beach was more than 20 deaths a year. But thanks to the lifeguards, it has gone down from 20 to 5 in just the first year of the commencing of the project, 2008 to 2009.

What is more laudable, since 2009 to present, the drowning rate at the beach has gone down to zero, all due to the efforts of the lifeguards.

They have saved more than 50 lifes over the past few years. But the director of PBTD, Yathish Baikampady lamented that out of the 50 who were saved, not even one one reverted with even a smile. He expects nothing from them but good wishes.

He is proud of his young team, numbering around 12, but which becomes quite large when volunteers join in too. It is a team of young and dynamic heroes, picked up from the fishing community, from the Mogaveera community. These lifeguards are highy trained to tackle any situation.

This lifeguards team is recognised and has a tie-up with the Rashtriya Life Saving Society India (RLSSI) and Surf Life Saving, Australia. The highly appreciable fact to be noted is that the Panambur beach has been chosen as the base for lifeguards training in the country, by the RLSSI.

Most of the drowning cases happen due to carelessness or lack of regard for warnings. Most of the tourists listen to the warnings, but for the ones who do not listen, the lifeguard have to be rude and rash, sometimes even having to pull them out from the water forcibly. "It is not wrong to be rash and rude to save a life," says Yathish, "It might be a problem with 1 percent of the crowd, but the remaining 99 percent appreciate it."

An intresting fact is that he never appreciates his lifeguards for saving a life, but instead he questions them as to what they were doing when the tourist was going so deep into the water! This is his way to show his concern for the tourists, as he believes the lifeguards are there to do their duty. "Saving lives is their duty, they are not here for any recognition or rewards," he says.

Accidently getting washed away by high tides is one thing, but there are some who come with the intention of deliberately ending their lives. When the lifeguards find such sort of persons around the beach, they talk to them, understand their probelms and counsel them, eventually saving their lives too.

But lifegurads have a tough time especially in the raining season when the waves are harsh. At such times, its not the Jetski, inflatable boats or the rescue sub-boats  that help them to save lives, but its their manpower, knowledge, tricks and skills that work better. Sometimes, only life-jackets and rescue kits are enough.

In other seasons, they have a jeep for emergency purposes, either to move from one end to another or to make an announcement. Now they have also bought two horses and an ATV to serve the purpose, as it is difficult for the jeep to move on the wet sand.

Their biggest accomplishment is that they have achieved a zero death rate from 2009, which they are very proud of. There are also two achievers from Yathish's team who have represented the state and the country in various life saving events - Sanketh Bengre and Tushanth D Bengre.

Yathish says that it would be good if swimming is made compulsary in school curriculum, apart from regular sports. This would also help in decreasing the number of drowning cases, he says.


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Comment on this article

  • SRD Das, panaji

    Wed, Jan 02 2013

    Part of Panambur beach has been given over to a private company which does not let beachgoers into it's area. The beach is still public property and nobody should have the right to restrict access.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • SKS Kumar, Mysore

    Wed, Jul 18 2012

    It is OK if they behave rudely in order to save lives. But, few of them behave like dictators as they are owner of the beach, taking law into thier hands by manhandling the visitors for simple reasons, even misbehaving with ladies in a very cheap & obscene manner.

    Management may take care of such few rowdy lifeguards in order to save their reputation & reliability.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Arjun, India

    Tue, Jul 10 2012

    Lifeguard really helps! These life guards are there only during weekends? There was a nice gentleman (Employee spotted near the parking lot) at Panbur beach who advised people not to go into the water due to high tide..people who heed to those advice stand a chance not to get carried by waves, those who don't follow the advice may risk their lives..Sometimes you need to make bold decisions not to go into water, if the force of tides is too strong. Also there is no need to impress others around and put yourself in danger.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kiran, Mukka/KSA

    Sun, Jul 08 2012

    Great job! Though its the duty of the life guards.. one should appreciate their bravery. They r not only saving one life at a time but two. Their own life too is at danger when they go to save another life.. so they should be always careful and that makes it to two. Hats off to these unsung heroes. May God bless them & their families.Proud to be a mangalorean.. Lets all live in peace with love to each other....

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ramesh Baliga, mangalore/managalore

    Fri, Jul 06 2012

    I was waiting for this article for almost 3 years.Thank you guys...wish God bless these men who are true Mangloreans...saving lives !!!

    DisAgree [3] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • juliet mascarenhas, Bejai/Mangalore

    Thu, Jul 05 2012

    I had seen this only in "Bay Watch". But now in reality.The Mogaveer community is always famous for life saving.In the past we have heard of the Mogaveers who have lost their lives by saving others. May god bless the community for their bravery.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • lalith, mangalore

    Thu, Jul 05 2012

    Awesome yatish ... were all proud of you and the team. You guys are real life heroes.cheers

    DisAgree [2] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rakesh shetty, mangalore

    Thu, Jul 05 2012


    DisAgree [2] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • Eva, Kirem

    Thu, Jul 05 2012

    Hats off to them. I truly appreciate their noble work. May the almighty bless them and keep them happy and healthy

    DisAgree [2] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse


    Thu, Jul 05 2012

    Hatts of for the Noble Cause, may God Bless, feel proud to be Mangi, Thanks Daiji for the Coverage.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sujith Nayak, Kudla / Auh

    Thu, Jul 05 2012

    Gud work by PBTD lifeguards. They need to be honoured though it is their work.Saving life is the greatest work ever.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Reshma, Dubai/Mangalore

    Thu, Jul 05 2012

    Great job..very well done. God bless you all.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse


    Thu, Jul 05 2012

    WHAT A TAN......
    KEEP IT UP.............
    GOD BLESS............

    DisAgree [1] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • sameer, doha/mangalore

    Thu, Jul 05 2012


    DisAgree [47] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sanjeev Kamath, Udupi / Bahrain

    Thu, Jul 05 2012

    Mr Shettar should look at the welfare of this valiant army also and not just the power-chair.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

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