The importance of water ways as it affects transportation cannot be over emphasized.
Waterways transport has been with the world for centuries providing avenues for transactions on sundry activities, the days of canoes to small boats, ships to luxury yachts and cruise liners; the quest to maximize the open waters for entertainment knows no bounds. Indeed, from fishing to pure luxury, the world’s waterways offer unlimited economic opportunities.
Lagos waterways are reputed for being unconsciously neglected and underutilized in spite of the abundant potential for business, tourism and leisure they possess.
In the past few years, there have been efforts to tap the opportunities in the water transportation in Lagos, though; it has not yielded much fruit because those who commute through the waterways are an insignificant number compared with those using the roads. This figure may drag as a result of the frequent boat mishaps on Lagos waters.
The safety of jetties in Lagos has come under scrutiny as transportation via waterway is gradually becoming a way of life for most people, especially for those who live in locations such as Ikorodu and work in Lekki most of them have learnt to depend on the water transportation not only because it is affordable but because its faster than the regular road route and the burdening traffic of Lagos.
Taking a trip to Apapa from CMS through the waterways happened to be not only faster but cheaper and the safety culture is gradually built up, everyone is given a floatable life jacket upon ticket purchase and the regulation states that no one is allowed to move around during navigation except the boat crew.
What I realized is that the general populace of people using the waterway need more awareness on the importance of a life Jacket and what to do during an emergency. It was evident that many people could not fit their life jackets properly and if the life jacket doesn’t fit properly at the point when an accident occurs the ability to stay afloat is compromised.
During my trip, I noticed there were no emergency procedures in place. There was no one to give a safety brief before the boat moved from the jetty.
These are concerns on the minds of people which creates fear on using the waterways. In other climes, distress call from boats or ships on high seas often attracts attention from rescue team on ground.
In the city of Lagos, when a boat capsizes, the response time to such emergency situations is very crucial. The survival of the passengers involved must be taken into consideration.
These are safety issues that need to be addressed on Lagos waterways to restore the system to its former glory.