As serene and beautiful as the turquoise blue sea surrounding our islands can be, it can also be violently dangerous, especially during unfavourable weather conditions. In Seychelles, we are almost completely dependent on the sea for our livelihood – for fisheries, importation and distribution of food and other supplies and as the exclusive mode of commute between some islands.
Sadly, accidents are all too common at sea. Some of the common ones include capsizing of vessels, broken down or equipment failure, fire and falling overboard. Injuries can include bleeding, fractures, hypothermia, smoke inhalation and, in unfortunate cases, drowning. The importance of safety at sea cannot be stressed enough which is why it is better to raise prevention awareness to reduce the chances of accidents, minimise the extent of damage and most crucial, to prevent the loss of life.
All vessels should be equipped with safety equipment. These may include:
- Inflatable life jackets
- Inflatable life rafts
- Radio for distress calls
- Vessel Tracking System
- Personal floatation device
- Personal locator beacon
- Handheld flares
- Personal (thermal) protective suit
- Breathing apparatus (oxygen masks)
- Self-inflating belt
- Smoke signals
- Lifebuoys with automatic light
- Fire extinguinsher
- Safety signs and signals around the vessel
Irrespective of the size of your vessel or the nature of your activity, you should be equipped with the most basic safety equipment in case of emergency. This is especially important if you have passengers and crews under your responsibility. You should provide lifejackets if children are boarding your boat, even if it is only for an afternoon of picnic during good weather.
The safety equipment will not be as effective without appropriate training. All crew, including the skipper should have the basic knowledge available to operate safety equipment correctly. It is also important to include other trainings such as search and rescue, vessel stability, emergency communications, safe maintenance of equipment, first aid techniques, fire prevention and correct use of an extinguisher.
Frequent and regular drills for skipper and crew should be undertaken, in addition to carrying out risk assessments and vessel inspections. Skippers and crew members should be advised to document and report every accident or incident whether it is a malfunctioning of equipment to ensure that appropriate actions are taken. Safety guidelines should be revisited on a periodical basis or following a major accident
So, if you are operating a vessel, here’s a quick to do list for you:
- Watch the weather report before setting sail
- Familiarise yourself with the planned navigation route
- Check and test all safety equipment
- Prepare for emergency procedures
- Do a quick briefing with the crew
Sacos offers marine insurance for private boat owners and businesses such as the Marine Hull and the Marine Cargo. Contact us on 429 5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.