Director-General of the Lagos Safety Commission (LSC), Mr Lanre Mojola and the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr Damilola Emmanuel, made this known on Wednesday in a joint statement a copy of which was made available to newsmen, saying that the operators must comply with the waterways safety code to prevent avoidable accidents and loss of lives on the state’s waterways.
This was just as the government warned that on no condition should anyone get onboard a vessel after or before the stipulated operational hours, “likewise no passenger or operator can board a vessel without wearing a life vest with standard buoyancy factor.”
“In line with the waterways’ safety code developed by all waterway’s regulators and stakeholders, boat transport, activities are to take place between 5:30 am and 7.00 pm every day. It is an offence for boat operators and passengers to be seen on inland waterways outside of these hours.
“Therefore, all waterways’ users are advised to strictly observe this time restriction in order to avoid boat mishaps. On no condition should anyone get onboard a vessel after or before the stipulated operational hours likewise no passenger or operator can board a vessel without wearing a life vest with standard buoyancy factor,” the government warned.
According to the statement, “This is very important because, in event of an accident, the user will be able to stay afloat for a few minutes before emergency responders arrive.
“In addition to using appropriate PPE, boat operators are mandated to have onboard safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, first aid box, Pool float (life buoys) and so on.”
The government also advised boat operators to adequately fuel their vessel tanks for a journey as fueling mid-sea is an unsafe practice, adding that they should also ensure regular maintenance of engines for effective performance.
The statement noted that the third quarter of the year was a crucial period because of the general increase in commuters’ travel needs and that the waterways transportation sector was not left out.
In line with this, it called for the need to take extra safety precautions owing to the resurgence of water hyacinths on some navigable channels on the inland waterways.
“Boat operators are advised to navigate water channels cautiously to avoid ramping into water hyacinth as the plant could entangle boat engines leading to breakdown, loss of control and to some cases accidents.
“As you are aware, the Lagos State government is developing a multimodal transport system in which all three modes of transportation available are being integrated to improve travel time, cost, experience and overall safety of all commuters,” the government said.
“On the part of the government, LASWA and LAWMA have been empowered to clear and dispose of all wastes on inland waterways in the state. This exercise is expected to commence soon.
“In addition, LASEMA in conjunction with LASWA has a robust emergency response system that would see responders arrive at a scene with the full complement of trained first aiders and paramedics for a seamless trip,” it added.
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