Safety Management System for the People in Water Areas in West Pomerania during COVID-19 Crisis
Purpose: The primary purpose of this text is the extensive appraisal of the modifications in the conditions of people’s safety in water areas during the COVID-19 pandemic in the region of West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland and the management of the safety of people in water areas in this region from the perspective of the rescue organisation. Design/Methodology/Approach: The publication uses research methods characteristic of the social sciences, including the analytical method relating to the different types of reports and quantitative and qualitative data, and dogmatic method focusing on the analysis of the legal text. Findings: The pandemic situation has notably affected the number of rescue operations being carried out. In 2020, there was observed an increase in the number of incidents supplied by the water rescue units compared to the previous years. At the same time the number of domestic tourists reduced by 7.4%, while the number of foreign tourists decreased by a noteworthy 42.9%. COVID-19 pandemic also resulted in changing the nature of the lifeguard's role from ‘supervisor of the swimming area’ to ‘creator of conscious use of the body of water’. Through water patrols and contact with all water users (sailors, anglers and people practising other water sports), lifeguards can build social awareness and by creating positive habits and focus most of their time on preventive activities, a kind of ‘water culture’ based on a set of rules for responsible behaviour on the water. Practical Implications: Having an increased group of responsible people on a given body of water, there is a possibility to build a specific ‘aquatic community’ that not only takes the full responsibility for independent and safe use of water areas, but also becomes a perfect example for other users. In an era of increased awareness of responsibility for one's own health and life, such a solution seems to be socially more effective and economically viable. Originality/Value: The study presents an original approach to the problem of COVID-19 pandemic by including two important subjects, modifications in the conditions of people’s safety in water areas during the COVID-19 pandemic and the management of the safety of people in water areas in this region from the perspective of the rescue organisation.