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Lessons picked from the Mutima boat tragedy

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Added 25th November 2018 07:32 PM

For many fun lovers, no trip can be complete without spending some time on or near water.

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For many fun lovers, no trip can be complete without spending some time on or near water.

By D/ASP Mudope Benjamin, District CID Butalejja
It is sad news for Uganda following the tragedy that befell us during the boat incident where our brothers and sisters passed on as the boat capsized in the waters of Lake Victoria.
For many fun lovers, no trip can be complete without spending some time on or near the waters. But whether you are a professional diver, a sailor or just like to paddle around at a lovely sandy beach, you should beware of and plan for the dangers you may face as you enjoy the waters.
General safety tips for water travellers
Think about boat safety and plan your trip before you go. Knowledge and planning reduce the risks. Expect emergencies and be prepared in advance
Carry with you the necessary equipment:
·     Water vessel management should ensure the boats are in good condition. If not safe, don’t risk
·     Equip your boat with a VHF Marine radio that will generate your position in an emergency
Always wear a life jacket:
It is mandatory to have a life jacket on your trip, and it is recommended that you wear it at all times. Insist that everyone wear a personal floatation device or life jacket whilst on board. No life jacket, no water adventure even when you are a professional diver
Don’t drink and boat
Make sure you are rested and sober. Remember that alcohol lowers your chances of survival in case of an accident.
Don’t overload your boat
Believe it or not, gravity also applies in the waters. Make sure that weight is evenly distributed, and don’t overcrowd the boat, as this will obviously have a negative effect on your trip.
Man overboard
If someone falls overboard, it is important to get them back on the boat as soon as possible. If necessary, throw a floatation device to the victim, but do not jump in yourself. If the floatation device has a rope attached or a floating beacon, then so much better. If you can’t get the person out of the water, try towing him back to the shore.
Be careful in a rescue situation
When helping somebody into your boat, be careful to not tip your vessel especially if you are in a small rowing boat or canoe.
If your boat is overturned but still floating, don’t try to swim to safety, but stay nearby and await rescue. If you can, climb onto the boat, but be careful so that it doesn’t get unstable.
Rafting and rivers
Rafting is great, but don’t go rafting on your own. A guide should always accompany you, as they have the equipment and the know-how to assess the safety at any given time.
If you are wading in a river, assess the force of the current carefully. The water has a lot of momentum and may sweep your legs from under you before you know it. A wading staff may help you keep your balance.
Stay safe by following these simple rules of thumb
·     Learn how to swim
·     Never swim alone or allow others to do so.
·     Don’t go swimming if you are hungry, have just eaten or have been drinking alcohol
·     Check the water level before diving
·     Swim along the shore
·     Don’t exceed your swimming ability. Know your limits and stick to them
·     Get out of the water if you feel sick
Water safety tips for kids
Never leave a young child unattended to near water. Don’t trust a child’s life with another. Teach children to always seek permission to go near water and that they risk drowning if they overestimate their swimming ability or underestimate the water depth

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