Safety First, Maritime Authority Pleads With Public

The Maritime Safety Au­thority of Fiji (MSAF) is again pleading with the public to follow all safety messages and maritime safety rules as we head into the fes­tive season. MSAF
04 Dec 2018 11:00
Safety First, Maritime Authority Pleads With Public

The Maritime Safety Au­thority of Fiji (MSAF) is again pleading with the public to follow all safety messages and maritime safety rules as we head into the fes­tive season.

MSAF is aware that many Fi­jians have made plans to visit loved ones in the maritime islands and vice versa during this period.

MSAF is calling on the travel­ling public to be attentive and alert during this time of the year.

The authority’s acting chief executive officer, Captain Phil­ip Hill, said MSAF’s priority was the safety of passengers and the vessel’s crew members, as well as the protection of the marine environment.

Captain Hill said it is only prudent that the travelling pub­lic be MSAF’s eyes and ears on the ground when travelling.

“Sea Worthiness of all ves­sels are maintained by the ship operators through stringent MSAF survey requirements. Prior to departure MSAF en­forcement officers’ carryout a final check,” Capt Hill said. Below are some key points that MSAF would like all our inter-island commuters to take heed of when travelling.



Movement of Children / Passengers on jetties

– All adults are to supervise children at all times on jetties and only take children if they are to travel on board ships. All passengers and the general public are required to adhere to all safety requirements on jetties. Keep clear of restricted areas and follow the allocated walk areas for boarding and disembarking.

Movement of Children/Passenger on board any vessel

– All adults in any vessel should ensure the safety of their children as well as any other individual accompanying them on a trip.

Three (3) key pointers for passengers on small open boats that they must look out for is that the Boat Captain holds:

  1. a) A valid Operator’s license. Boat Captain for sheltered coastal waters, Class 6- Master Engineer for crossing to Islands
  2. b) The boat has a survey certificate certified and approved by MSAF. It is important that life jackets are available for all passengers on board the boat. Life jackets must be worn at ALL times prior to and during the course of the journey.
  3. c) The passenger capacity of boats is painted on each side of the surveyed and registered boat. Passengers have the right to refuse to board if they see that the number of passenger on board has exceeded the number the boat is supposed to carry, or inform relevant authorities about overloading.

Ensure the use of Life Jackets on small boats less than 10meters

Every passenger on board boats less than 10meters should ensure they have a life jacket readily available for them, and this must be worn at all times. MSAF encourages this practise to any person traveling on board these boats. Wearing a life jacket should never be dependent on the weather pattern or situation. IT IS A REQUIREMENT. It is better to be proactive then to be reactive.

Weather Observation

– Checking the weather forecast is a must before the start of any journey. Adhering to the local weather bulletin is a must.

Safety is your own responsibility

– The responsibility of traveling is not only at the boat captain’s discretion, the onus is also with the individual passenger. The decision to cancel any travel due to unfavourable weather conditions is also the responsibility of the passenger.


Any person wishing to travel must inform a loved one or village headman of their travel plans, this includes estimated time of arrival at destination including plans of their return journey. It is advisable that boat captains carry mobile phones as this is an effective way of communication, which can be used to advise people of the progress of the journey.

Rubbish Disposal

All traveling public must use the rubbish bins provided on board all vessels. Plastics bags must not be dumped at sea. Heavy fines can be levied to those caught doing so.

Source: Maritime Safety  Authority of Fiji


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