Marines called in to protect bathers after five drown in three days

wavesRoughThe Maritime Police and specially trained Marines have been called in to help monitor Portugal’s beaches and to support port captains after the fifth drowning in just a few days over the long weekend.

From today, until the official start of the bathing season, police and Navy personnel will be helping out as a general warning has been issued about dangerous and unpredictable sea conditions.

According to a spokesman from the Maritime Authority, Commander Coelho Dias, Maritime Police and Navy Marines will be patrolling many beaches, especially at the weekend, because of rising temperatures tempting people to risk swimming before the lifeguard service is in place.

This reinforced presence will concentrate on beaches along the Costa de Caparica, Cascais and Cabo da Roca’s beaches at Ericeira and Foz do Lizandro, north of Lisbon, "beaches that are still very exposed to poor sea conditions."

Dias stressed that the bathing season has not yet opened and that it is important to check when councils start their lifeguard services, "It is the municipalities themselves that agree on the start dates,” which in most cases are not until June.

In the Algarve, Albufeira’s beaches will have lifeguards from May 15th to October 15th, with other of the Algarve’s beaches opening from June 1st to September 15th.

The weekend’s list of drownings, click here, was added to on Wednesday when two men, aged 21 and 23, went for a swim at Ericeira with only one making it back to the shore. The second man drowned after strong currents swept him away.

A total of 36 people have died by drowning this year. The Federation of Lifeguards and Rescue services confirming that 18 of the deaths were at sea, the remainder in wells, rivers, swimming pools and marinas. None were at beaches monitored by lifeguards.

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