Carnival season for many involves attending a good party or two, or many. We as Trinbagonians are notorious for our high propensity for fun at this time of year. But whatever your plans for the coming weeks, we need to stay safe.
A contemporary trend is to attend parties held on boats. But many people fail to realize the danger that can occur when the party moves off land and on to the water.
If you and your crew are considering a party at sea, it is your responsibility to ensure that the vessel is properly prepared to operate according to the laws of the Shipping Regulations.
You will find a list of fully registered vessels at the Ministry of Works and Transport’s site on the Maritime Services Division’s page here.
If the vessel that you are planning to ride is not listed, then you leave your safety on the water up to chance and ultimately open yourself up to the many dangers of the sea. An unregistered party boat may not have the right safety equipment to ensure that everyone on board can make it back to dry land alive.
One feature of a safe party boat is the presence of lifejackets that exceed the maximum number of persons. This precaution ensures that there are more than enough for each passenger. Lifejackets save lives by keeping you afloat in the water so that you don’t sink and drown.
Even in cases where people think they are strong swimmers, a life jacket can still help. Sometimes, fatigue from anxiety can set in during times of emergency. You may not be able to handle yourself in the water as well as you think you would. In such a case, that life jacket will help you to stay afloat and alive till you reach the shore.
The Maritime Services Division checks all local passenger ships annually. Each year, owners must undergo inspection to renew their Passenger Ship Safety Certificate.
This thoroughness works in your favour. It helps to ensure that checked vessels have on hand, all the right safety equipment in the event of an emergency on the water.
This Carnival Season offers us the opportunity to indulge in some extra fun. But we must remain safe, be aware and act responsibly. Never hesitate to verify a vessel’s licence issued by the Harbour Master. Ensure that it is in good standing before you venture out on your next party at sea.