The Larnaca district office on Friday rejected criticism from the lifeguards association, saying that the number of lifeguards and the hours they work on each beach was governed by the national scheme Salamis, drawn up by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in 2018 and updated each year.
The announcement came a day after the lifeguards warned the public that only one Larnaca beach had lifeguards on duty before 10.30am.
The district office said that it complies faithfully with the provisions of the Salamis scheme, including provisions as regards the months lifeguards are on duty and their working hours.
It added that for this season, 59 lifeguards had been hired, more than in previous years.
As regards previous complaints about the unsuitability of lifeguard towers at beaches of Larnaca Municipality as well as of Pervolia and Alaminou municipalities, it said that this was the responsibility of local authorities who have repeatedly been told in writing by the district office to replace them.
The written statement follows comments by the association after members were called to help a 71-year old woman who had got into trouble just before 8am on Thursday on Mackenzie beach.
The lifeguards’ association said that in view of this incident and complaints they had received from swimmers, they wished to clarify that only one lifeguard post, Lar8A at Mackenzie, was manned from 6.30am to 7pm.
“For unknown reasons and even though the other posts can also be covered they operate only from 10.30am to 6pm,” they said.
The lifeguards said that their committee has not received any official information as to the operating hours of the towers and why the other points are not covered with a shift system.
And they urged swimmers to only go to the beach between 10.30am and 6pm “as the decisions by some leave them exposed to danger.”
Thee lifeguards also posted photos of the beach early in the morning to show there were swimmers there and urged authorities to act before it is too late.