‘Life jackets are vital for your safety’

National 1 minute, 44 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MOST of the drowning victims in Brunei from boating accidents over the past few years weren’t wearing life jackets.

Marine Department Officer Hj Yusoff Hj Metusin made the comment yesterday on the sidelines of a life jacket safety briefing held at Datu Ahmad Primary School in Kg Lurong Dalam.

According to Hj Yusoff, global statistics show that nine out of ten drowning victims weren’t wearing life jackets and two-thirds of drowning victims were good swimmers.

A video shown by the Ministry of Education (MoE) at the briefing said common reasons cited by Bruneians who don’t use life jackets were that they know how to swim or that the distance of their journey was too short.

Some people also said that life jackets provided on boats are dirty or that putting them on is “a waste of time”.

“For safety, we can’t compromise.

“Life jackets are for your own safety, as incidents can happen any time - regardless of whether your journey’s distance is short or long,” Hj Yusoff said.

Someone who is in danger of drowning can be easily identified if they’re wearing a life jacket, as not only does it help them stay afloat, its bright colour will also help alert those around them, he added.

The Marine Department currently requires all boats to be equipped with life jackets approved by the department, and all boat passengers and drivers have to wear them.

Hj Yusoff said spot checks conducted by the Marine Department in conjunction with the MoE as well as other enforcement agencies such as the Royal Brunei Police Force have revealed that the rate of students and teachers living in water villages who regularly use life jackets “is improving”.

Boats commissioned by the MoE to transport school students and teachers might have their services terminated if they are found to be disregarding life jacket requirements, he said.

The Marine Department said previously that the number of life jackets needs to exceed the total number of available seats and customers on any boat.

The Brunei Times