Fear not, safety first - Solomon Star News

Fear not, safety first

07 August 2014

Dear Editor - A report into the sinking of an OBM Boat with five people are still missing between open waters of Vella La Vella and Choiseul since last week has found it was overloading, unsafe and traveled in a very bad weather causing human lives in total danger.

It is saddened to loss young lives at sea, causing fear, trauma and a great loss for the families, loved ones and their communities in general.

While boat drivers are at helm of motor boats in waters enjoying speedy cruises, you have to take great care that the lives of your passengers is at your hand and whenever you intends to travel off to open waters then you have to be a responsible person in ensuring weather situation are cleared and calmed.

Safety equipment should be available for the trip, carry less passengers/less load, notify relatives and be sober or alcohol-free during the trip.

In precaution measures, boat drivers to notify the local authority on departure, intended destination and estimated time of their arrival.

There were serial of sea-safety awareness being conducted in 2010 and 2011 by the Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA) in Western, Choiseul, Central, Malaita and Makria.

This sea-safety awareness however, is an ongoing workshop to local boating communities in our provinces including a learned basic marine safety rules for small boats, weather patterns, and uses of safety equipment as well as other important basic sea safety knowledge requires to boat drivers and boat owners at large.

Solomon Islands weather pattern has been changed drastically over the years which are resulted in unpredictable sea conditions across our maritime waters and perhaps is a reminder to all sea travelers and boat drivers to take precautionary measures whenever traveling out at sea on small boats.

It is high time for the authority to enforce the Small Craft Safety Regulation in bringing about changes of enforcement to local boats operation, issuing Safety Certificate and to commercialize passenger travel on small boats business in our coastal waters.

Safety First!

Derek Saru
National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics