Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji’s acting CEO Captain Philip Hill is pleading with members of the public to closely monitor weather warnings and to practice boat safety at all times.
With a trough of low pressure moving over certain parts of Fiji and a strong wind warning remain in place for Southern Lau waters boat operators are requested to adhere to weather warnings.
“I will reiterate my plea to small boat operators not to travel on voyages carrying passengers, cargo or go on fishing trips when the weather is not favorable for the voyage,” Capt Hill said.”
Capt Hill said small boat operators are aware that night travel is prohibited as small boats do not have navigation lights as well as any means of electronic navigational aids.
He said members of the public along with traveling passengers are equally responsible for making sound decisions to cancel voyages if the weather is unfavorable.
“At times the boat operator is much younger than the passengers, this is where we expect the senior passengers to make the right decisions to cancel the trip,” he said.
“If there are no passengers than these small fiber glass boats will not travel as there is no business for the boat operator,”
Capt Hill said most marine incident reports received are of small boats measuring less than 10meters in length are the high risk maritime travellers.
“During rainy weather boat operators are restricted in their ability to see where they are headed to or where they have departed from. For small boats they do not have electronic navigational aids to assist them when they cannot see land or get their bearings right,
“”The only safe and wise thing to do during those times is to postpone all travels until the weather is good,”