The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has vowed to flush out quack boat drivers from its waterways in Delta State.

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This is one of the measures being taken to ensure the safety of lives and properties as well as reduce water/river accidents on the waterways.

The Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority, Dr. (Chief) George Muoghalu, while addressing boat operators, said the training programme for the boat drivers in collaboration with LUFREDHA Academy, was aimed to empower drivers on safety precautions.

Dr. Muoghalu who was represented by the Warri Area Manager, Engr. Mohammed Dangana, said, ”This 5-Days programme is open to all eligible power boaters:-crew boat, cruising and racing skippers as well as commercial fishermen.

“The training is structured to be conducted by experienced captains of marine industries, all experts in their field to provide novice and experienced boat operators with information and skills required to prepare for inland navigation, boat preparation, handling heavy weather etc.

“On-the-water demonstration will include quick stop and man overboard recoveries, and flare procedures.”

Also speaking at the event, Barr. Sonny Sidadi-Kadiri appreciated NIWA in collaboration with Lufredha Academy for the training and retraining of boat drivers to maintain an acceptable safety standard obtainable anywhere in the world.

“It is to ensure that the basic requirements for the safety of life and property along the waterways are not compromised. We look forward to the water demonstration or drill which will include quick stop; man overboard recoveries and flare procedures. These demonstrations, though entertaining, are for the safety of lives.”

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The Chief Executive Officer of Lufredha Academy, Tonlagha Rosemary said the training for the boat drivers will help greatly in reducing accidents and others in the waterways.

On his part, the Unit Head of Marine Department NIWA Area Office, Engr. Ipimoroti Adeleye, declared that quack boat drivers will not be allowed on the waterways in Warri.

He noted that NIWA will soon embark on patrols and will not tolerate any excuses when its fully out to enforce its safety rules.

He urged the relevant marine companies to send in their staff (boat drivers) for the training being organized by NIWA, to help train and keep the waterways safe from accidents and others.

Mr. Innocent Ohwotuemuhor, a trainer with Lufredha Academy, urged boat drivers to avoid alcohol and drugs if they must drive.

According to him, “Alcohol will impair your judgements driving. You’re not supposed to be on drugs.”

Ohwotuemuhor also advised the boat drivers to ensure that their passengers always wear live jackets before entering the boats for any trip, bearing in mind that all safety rules according to NIWA is applicable.

He said that the boat drivers should always move with their communication gadgets whenever they embark on any journeys especially during critical times as well as know the weather condition before embarking on any journey.