When it comes to nature based recreational activity, safety knowledge and planning can reduce the risks and increase the fun for you & your loved ones. Tragic events like the Lake Victoria boat accident on Saturday 24th November 2018 which claimed over 30 lives can be avoided in future by applying a few basic principles of safety on water; let’s take a look at 3 key quick ones;
Carry all the necessary equipment
All the equipment on the boat must be in good condition and easily accessible to everyone. It’s important for you to get familiar with the life-saving technical equipment on board. Being able to use this equipment correctly will significantly increase your safety. For example a good number of people who drown during these accidents are people who cannot swim. If you can’t swim, at least be knowledgeable on how to use safety equipment like life jackets.
A lot of selfies and video clips were taken by the victims prior to the accident. It is right to carry communication equipment like mobile phones on these trips. However, good safety practice demands that all electronic communication devices are preferably stored in a waterproof plastic container. This will enable you to report any changes in your plans or call for assistance if needed. Many friends and family of the victims reported trying to reach their loved ones in vain—the most logical assumption being that their smart phones had been destroyed in the water.
Don’t drink too much alcohol
Make sure you are rested and sober for most of your time on the boat. Alcohol affects your judgment and lowers your chances of survival in case of an accident. According to survivor stories in the press, some (sober) people urged the boat cruise patrons not to exceed a given number of people boarding the rescue vessels at a time but all was in vain. People didn’t heed this advice because according to them there was “no time to think”
Don’t overload your boat
Gravity also applies while on water. The crowd managers on the boat must make sure the weight is evenly distributed. Overloading passengers on one end of the boat will obviously have a negative effect on your trip and compromise the safety on board. Many times owners & managers may make the decision to exceed numbers just to make “a little more money” but this rarely ends well especially if the vessel to be used is not in perfect condition.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the boat accident on Lake Victoria. Such a fun day should not have ended in a tragedy. May their souls rest in peace.