The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) has trained 105 boat and ferry captains and Deckhands on safe navigation on the waterways to forestall mishaps, according to LASWA general manager Oluwadamilola Emmanuel.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the one-day training with the theme: Boat/Ferry Captains and Deckhand Proficiency Upgrade For Non-Conventional Craft was held for boat and ferry operators in collaboration with Simptop Ventures in Lagos on Sunday.
The LASWA chief executive explained that the state governor had approved continuous training for boat captains after an event held in October, 2020 for waterways stakeholders.
He said: “Mr Governor has informed us to organise training for the boat and ferry captains, in the process of licensing them, to enable them be aware of safety measures on our waterways.
“The training will guide the operators on safety procedures as regards Inland waterways operation. The training will also sensitise the operators, while the enforcement will be in collaboration with marine police and our monitoring teams to ensure they operate within the rules and regulations of the Inland waterways authority”, Emmanuel said.
He added that the state government was building the state’s first Jetty terminal to be completed in 2021, adding that the authority would not relent in its efforts for continuous channelisation and removal of water hyacinth.
The Head of Vessel Inspection Unit of the authority, Mr Sunday Ukeme, engaged the participants on rules of the waterways, navigation and safety on sea, in addition to sensitising the boat operators on the importance of navigational buoys on the waterways.
“Often times, the local boat operators remove the navigational buoys from the water and take them home not knowing that the buoy shows them the right channels to follow to prevent accidents”, Ukeme said.A Medical Doctor with the Lagos State General Hospital, Badagry, Dr Kazeem Lawal, also engaged the participants on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), a life safety technique for accident victims.
Lawal explained that CPR was an emergency procedure that combines chest compressions often with artificial ventilation to preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who has had cardiac arrest.
The Higher Fire Superintendent, from Lagos State Fire Service, Gospel Akaehrmen, urged the ferry operators to always be conscious of the environment, as safety was everyone’s responsibility.In particular, Akaehrmen cautioned the ferry operators against unsafe acts and advised them to purchase fire extinguishers and learn how to operate them to reduce loss of lives and properties, in the event of a fire.
Daniel Erinfolami, a boat captain, commended the efforts of the state government and the management of LASWA for exposing them to safety procedures and changing their attitude positively towards water transportation.
Erinfolami said he used to think that the buoys posed a danger to the boats, not knowing that they were meant to provide direction for easy navigation.
Another boat captain, Eniola Ayerin, said he now understood the importance of always allowing right of way and slowing down for one another to avoid boat mishap.
Ayerin said they usually faced such challenges at night, when the fishermen hanged their net on the road and the boat’s lighting was not bright enough to clearly indicate the situation, thereby causing accidents.