Stay safe during the holidays, says Maritime Authority of JamaicaFriday, July 30, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), which is responsible for the safety of life at sea and the prevention of marine pollution from vessel sources, is reminding those who wish to traverse waterways over the Emancipation and Independence holiday weekends to be acutely aware of their safety and to ensure the guidelines are adhered to.
Noting that the Emancipation and Independence holiday weekends are famously enjoyed by boaters, Captain Steven Spence, directorate of safety, environment and certification at the MAJ, said “Operating vessels outside of the registration and licensing guidelines set by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica pose a significant danger to the public.”
“Particularly as we are in the hurricane season, passengers are urged to pay keen attention to the weather. If the seas are rough and waves are high, they should not proceed on boat rides,” he continued.
“The guidelines set by the MAJ are to keep the public safe and coxswain (boat drivers) of passenger-carrying vessels must be in the business of protecting the passengers they transport. Firstly, their vessels must be registered and licensed by the MAJ to carry passengers, and the operators must engage in a safety brief prior to commencement of a voyage. They must ensure that lifejackets are properly fitted and worn by all passengers.”
Captain Spencer said passengers must also take responsibility for their own safety and should not unknowingly put themselves at risk.
“Before passengers step onto a boat, they should ask to see the coxswain license of the boat driver, and the safety certificate of the vessel, issued by the MAJ. Pay keen attention to the number of passengers the vessel is licensed to carry. Do not board that vessel if it does not comply with what is outlined on the safety certificate,” he warned.
To curtail the spread of COVID-19, additional carrying rules have been implemented by the government of Jamaica, the MAJ added.
It said passengers carrying vessels must observe the carrying rule of half of the present assigned capacity to a maximum of 10 people. For small passenger vessel operators particularly, this means that the number of people permitted by the MAJ, as shown on the safety certificate, must be cut in half.
The public is further encouraged to obey the curfew hours and social distancing rules.
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