Boat operator tells passengers to prepare ahead

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PASSENGERS travelling from Kokopo in East New Britain to West Coast Namatanai in New Ireland by dinghy have been urged by an operator to prepare themselves a day early.
Jonah Toiwat, from Rasirik in West Coast Namatanai, has been a veteran operator of the St George Channel between Kokopo and Namatanai for the past nine years.
He was concerned about passengers’ safety at sea.
Toiwat said even though they had life jackets in the boat, passengers’ safety was very important to him, and he urged all passengers to prepare themselves a day early.
“My advice to all the passengers travelling from Kokopo to Namatanai is that they must get prepared a day in advance so we travel early,” he said.
“We are experiencing bad weather conditions, so it is important to go out to sea earlier in the day.
“For safety purposes, all the boat skippers are advised to travel in convoys instead of travelling one-by-one.”
Toiwat said the main problem for operators was when the spark plug was worn out or expired, affecting the dinghy’s motor at sea.
He said they were only allowed to carry eight passengers during bad weather.
Toiwat said on a fine day, they could carry up to 15 passengers with cargo on a 60horsepower dinghy, and carry eight passengers on a 40hp dinghy.
The fares are K80 for adults, K70 for secondary school students, and K60 and K50 for upper and lower primary school students.

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