Be safe, abide by warnings

Editorial

THE weather office has issued a warning to all small craft and boats of strong winds sweeping across the seas and seafarers must be cautious with their travels.
The winds are causing very rough seas and high sea waves that would overturn boats and unworthy sea going ships.
Thanks to technology, such warnings are circulated at the press of the button.
Technology can control lots of thing in our life, but one thing it can’t control is the weather.
Most times, people along the coast do not take heed of weather warnings and venture out during windy conditions thinking they are seafarers and know how to sail through it all.
It is those who live along the coast that want to try their skills against Mother Nature and sometimes end up as statistics.
Mother Nature rules and will always show her might.
For some, years of practice and experience in sea travel puts them in good stead, as it is the only means of travelling from one point to an-other.
We must warn that banana boats are no fun at all when the wind picks up, and the wind can pick up with little warning.
People die reasonably frequently in open-sea banana boat crossings and you will need to exercise common sense before boarding one.
The number of lives lost of sea will continue to increase because of negligence by small boat owners, operators and passengers.
Time and time again, authorities have been calling on boat owners, operators and passengers in maritime provinces to excuse responsibility and comply with sea safety measures.
One does not need an encyclopedia to consult when it comes to exercising some form of responsibility.
Comply with sea safety measures including not travelling in bad weather, not overloading, carrying extra fuel, life jackets and some form of communication device. We have people travelling in overloaded dinghies loaded with building materials, food items, bags or betel nut.
There is no care by boat operators to adjust so they comply with safety regulations.
Boat operators must know their load limit which is supposed to be a monitoring mechanism used for load capacity.
It seems many want to make quick money and are ignorant of this limit.
The load limit must be enforced by local authorities to ensure safety for operators and passengers.
Do not contemplate a trip in rough weather or if the boat is dangerously overloaded.
The Government knows how much it costs to conduct searches and rescue operations when people encounter mishaps at sea.
That is why, through the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA), it has been calling on small boat owners and operations to practise sea safety especially during windy periods. Our emergency services are under enough pressure as it is without having to rescue people who put themselves in danger.
The maritime provinces must take full responsibility and ownership to ensure the Small Craft Act (SCA) 2011 is effectively implemented and administered to improve and promote sea safety for small boat owners, operators and passengers.
NMSA can only do so much but the final call on venturing out to seas in any day rests entirely up to the boat owners and operators.
We must acknowledge how frustrating it can be for officials who constantly preach preparedness but get ignored by the general populace.
What is now needed is for people to take heed of these warnings.

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