Friday, October 9 – “Marine Safety Through UHF and VHF Global Satellite Communication” is the theme under which Boating Safety Week 2009 will be observed here from October 12 to 16.
The observance, organised by the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, (VISR) seeks to emphasise the importance of safety at sea.

Senior Marine Officer at the VISR Mr. Dave Smith told the Department of Information and Public Relations this year’s theme seeks to underscore the importance of communication in ensuring marine safety.

Mr. Smith encouraged all boaters to have a VHF radio on board their vessels. “The VHF radio is the piece of equipment that we will like to see all boaters have on board their vessels. Nowadays everyone wants to carry a cell phone instead of having a VHF onboard but we are still plagued with the possibilities of having blank areas while on the water, but VHF will eliminate these blank areas,” he said.

Continuing the comparison between cell phones and VHF radios, the VISR official further stated that the VHF radios are particularly useful in the event of an emergency because other boaters are likely to be tuned in to the same frequency and may be closer to the distressed person and therefore be able to offer more timely assistance.

Several activities have been planned in observance of Boating Safety Week. A church service at the East End Methodist Church on Sunday will mark the start of the week, followed by an official opening ceremony on Monday 12 at the Sir Rupert Briercliffe Hall. Safety demonstrations will also be conducted at that location as well as at the Jost Van Dyke Primary School and on Thursday 15, the VISR will host an open house. The week culminates with a Safety Fair and Closing Ceremony on Friday 16 at the Noel Lloyd/Positive Action Movement Park.

The senior marine officer encouraged all residents to participate in the activities to help make Boating Safety Week a success. “I am encouraging everyone to come out, especially those with boats. I am sure there would be things that maybe you did not know or maybe you know and we can elaborate more,” Mr. Smith said.

Through the annual observance of Boating Safety Week, the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry hopes to create a greater awareness of the importance of engaging in safety practices. The VISR is committed to ensuring that vessels operating in the Territory adhere to the highest possible safety standards.