“Don’t let the usual i-taukei expression of iko na kai wai be used as a justification to disregard the rules of safety out at sea. E kai wai ga na ika!”
This was the strong message delivered by the Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho during the closing of a two week Boat Masters Course in Draunibota, Lami on Thursday morning.
The two week course was put together by the Fiji Police Force and facilitated by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji and attended to by 41 Police officers and 40 people from various private and public institutions as well as the general public.
Brigadier General Qiliho called on the graduates to be mindful of the responsibilities placed on them now that they have acquired their licenses.
“The completion of this course has given you the skills and knowledge to operate a boat as well as the maintenance aspects of it. For some of you, you will be ferrying passengers to their respective port of calls, and for our officers, we will be able to attend to reports in the outer islands”.
“When you have returned to your normal duties you must never lose sight of the need to protect the most important asset that will be under your responsibility and care, your life and the lives of others”.
The course was designed to teach the essentials of how to operate and maintain a boat or vessel as well as the vital safety aspects of providing services out at sea or along inland waterways.
Brig-Gen Qiliho said the while the license now gives them the authority to operate boats and vessels, common sense must always prevail.
“The environment you will be operating in is an unpredictable one and they don’t call it the wrath of Mother Nature for nothing”.
“This is where you need to be smart and make prudent decisions even if it means angering the people we serve. It’s better to be late than not to arrive at all. Always prioritize safety at all times! Your safety, the safety of your passenger and that of the boat will be in your hands”.
Police officers from as far as Rotuma and Kadavu also attended the course.