ALL banana boats are currently built in Papua New Guinea.
As far as we know it is many years since any have been imported.
All boats currently built in Papua New Guinea, by a number of different companies, offer full flotation by law.
This means the boat will not sink if flooded.
It can be used as float by passengers.
However, if no-one knows you are floating in the water, you are still in trouble.
Flotation may not apply to earlier older boats, some of which have no or limited flotation built in.
You can purchase for less than K1000 a waterproof EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) from a number of companies.
By activating this when you are in severe trouble, you send a signal to a satellite.
The satellite then retransmits this to the local maritime safety bureau, advising them of the fact that you are in trouble.
It gives your location less than a minute after the EPIRB is activated, to within five metres.
It will keep on broadcast-
ing for about two days unless switched off earlier.
This makes a rescue simple and cheap, compared to some recent efforts to find people which have cost hundreds of thousands of Kina with no result.
I know the cost of an EPIRB is high, but when you compare it to the cost of lives, searches, or even the cost of boat and motor, it’s
cheap insurance. Out of interest, the cost of one unsuccessful search such as that for public servants lost in West New Britain waters some years ago, would have outfitted every boat in PNG with an EPIRB.