Phuket is awash with all types of experiences for those seeking out adventure including day tours which are offered to tourists to the island. Speed boat tours in Phuket are a great way to explore other nearby islands, which zip around at great speed from points 'A to Z' and everywhere in between.
During the high season tourists visiting Phuket on holiday, many tour boat operators can be seen speeding around the islands of Phi Ph, Racha and Phang Nga Bay as their primary purpose is to transport tourists as quickly as possible between these islands. Speaking from experience, these tours are not my idea of a relaxing day on the water, surrounded by beautiful island landscapes.
During the low season, these death rides can become even more treacherous due primarily to the prevailing weather conditions in the Andaman region. Heavy tropical rains, coupled with low visibility and large ocean swells are not considered to be safe as many of the drivers of these fast moving vessels are inexperienced to cope with changes in conditions. Even when official weather warnings have been issued, its not unusual to see the boats heading out into these tough conditions - after all this is Thailand, and the tourist dollar rules.
Not long ago, in the course of a two week period there were two speed boat accidents recorded in Phuket, adding to the ever growing number of incidences on the island. Accidents at sea can be even more treacherous than those on land with the addition of water to the equation. How many of us wear life jackets when on a boat tour on holidays, and of those who take a day trip out to see check to see if the number of life jackets on board are equal to that of the number of passengers boarded for the trip.
The first of these incidences occurred when two speed boats – Wararat and 999 Tour 41 – collided in Phang Nga Bay. According the The Phuket News, 'Nineteen people, including 16 tourists and three Thais, were plucked from the sea.'
The second incident took place after a speedboat sank in Krabi, just 500 meters from the pier at Nopparat Thara Beach. Reporter for the The Thaiger, wrote: 'Approaching the pier the boat was hit by a series of waves and strong winds pushing the boat into a rock nearby.'
The ten passengers who were ejected into the sea scrambled onto nearby rocks and were later rescued and taken to Krabi Hospital. No serious injuries were reported. In both incidences, it appears all passengers were wearing life jackets which has no doubt saved a number of lives.
There will no doubt be many more speed boat accidents before the low season ends. Unfortunately, history shows there have been a number of deaths over the years and yet nothing really changes. Inspections by authorities have achieved little difference to the number of incidents in the past even when drivers are caught breaking laws, they are rewarded with little penalty or punishment.