The worrying increase in the numbers of deaths by drowning in Crete which have so far in the summer season reached 27 was one of the issues the chief coast guard officer in Heraklion raised with the shipping minister during their meeting. The increase was greater in the prefectures of Chania, Lasithi and Rethymnon while in Heraklion the numbers showed a small decline from last year.
The minister, Mr Dritsas responded by saying that there are plans to minimise the number of accidental deaths in the sea in the whole of Greece. The programme includes better education for the young and practical swimming lessons. As this is a long term plan, Mr Dritsas suggested that local businesses make a contribution in supplying better information to customers and by meeting some of the costs of extending the life saver’s services on popular beaches.
It is not clear how any of these measures, even if fully implemented, are going to address the problem for visitors and older adults who make up a significant proportion of the victims of accidental drowning around Crete. Perhaps the use of warning signs with maps of blackspots, recommendations of alternative stretches of water and better information for visitors – Greek and non Greek – at the hotels or travel agents would help a bit more.