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EDITORIAL: Island Travellers Must Always Ensure Safety First

It is that time of the year when people in the islands travel by sea to visit relatives in other villages on other islands. It’s island hopping time during the
29 Dec 2015 10:11
EDITORIAL: Island Travellers Must Always Ensure  Safety First

It is that time of the year when people in the islands travel by sea to visit relatives in other villages on other islands. It’s island hopping time during the festive season.

Most times they do not heed weather warnings which in the end turned out to be very costly.

Just recently the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) organised a search and rescue team for some people who were reported missing after travelling in a fibreglass boat from Vio Island to Lautoka.

The boat developed engine problems and they started to drift.

Luckily a passenger had a mobile phone which they used to alert the Police.

A search and rescue team made up of Police and MSAF officials was organised to look for the six people and they were found safe at the Lautoka Wharf.

For this group it was lucky that they were able to contact the Police.

Surely some people in the islands have plans to visit their families in other villages.

No matter how much experience you have, it’s always a good idea for everyone to review and follow boat safety rules before departing.

Always check local weather conditions before departure; TV and radio forecasts can be a good source of information. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough seas and changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by not travelling or if out at sea, heading for the nearest island.

Wear lifejackets as no one knows what will happen during the boat trip.

Make sure that you have a mobile phone.

It is a norm in some villages in the islands to have a joint New Year church service in a village attended by all other villages. This will involve travelling by sea.

If you are really making these trips in the islands check your boat and safety equipment thoroughly.

Your safety is paramount and it is advisable not to make the trip if you are not sure.



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