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Focus shifts to boat operators who provide services as flooding continues

The National Government, through the Ministry of Mines, has issued a cautionary statement following the ongoing heavy rains and flooding in several regions, urging boat owners, operators and the general public to prioritise safety when navigating waterways.

In a statement, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Mines, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs,  Salim Mvurya, emphasised the importance of adhering to safety measures to mitigate risks associated with water transport.

“The safety of people using water transport remains a top priority for government,” said Mvurya. “We advise boat owners, boat operators, passengers, fishermen and the general public to exercise extreme caution during this period.”

One of the key safety measures highlighted by the department is the wearing of life jackets by boat crews and passengers, including children, while on board vessels. Mvurya stressed that enforcement measures are in place to ensure strict compliance with this regulation.

“Constant monitoring of weather conditions is crucial,” Mvurya added. “All persons are advised to avoid crossing flooded rivers during periods of heavy rainfall or strong winds.”

Vessel maintenance was also highlighted as essential to ensure proper working conditions. The ministry stressed that unserviceable vessels should not be operated at any time.

Regular monitoring of water levels and readiness to move to safer areas as advised by government authorities and other emergency rescue services was also encouraged.

Overloading of vessels was highlighted as a significant risk factor, with Mvurya urging compliance with maximum passenger capacity limits.

Enforcement action will be taken to ensure strict compliance with this safety guideline. Boat owners and operators were also advised to be prepared for emergencies by having essential equipment such as communications, lighting and first aid kits on board.

When navigating, the need to maintain a safe distance from other vessels to avoid collisions was emphasised, as was the importance of communicating immediately with the relevant authorities for emergency assistance in case of distress.

Mvurya reiterated, “We urge all water users to adhere to these safety measures for their own protection and the safety of others.”

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