Monday, June 14, 2010

Lack of insistence on life jackets at Chunnambar cause for concern

Lack of insistence on life jackets at Chunnambar cause for concern

Staff Reporter

It is considered essential only for ride on water scooter

— Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy


Unsafe: Not much interest is shown in insisting on the use of life jackets for most boat rides at Chunnambar.

PUDUCHERRY: "The boat ride was not too fast. Life jackets were available on the boat but we chose not to put them on," said a young couple from Delhi, who just got off a speed boat at the Chunnambar Boat House on Sunday.

The lack of insistence on wearing a life jacket by authorities at Chunnambar is a cause for concern. Several boat rides are available for tourists, including a ride on 40-seater and 20-seater pontoons, four-seater and two-seater speedboats and water scooters for different durations of time.

Employees of the Puducherry Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), which runs water sports facilities, insist on wearing a life jacket only for ride on the water scooter because "it is critical."

"The depth of the water is not much; it could go up to a maximum of 15 feet. The speedboats only go up to a maximum speed of 40 or 60 kmph," they added.

But, with children and the elderly going on boat rides without life jackets, even a depth of 15 feet could prove dangerous to the passengers.

While employees claim that adequate life jackets are available on the boats in case of any mishap, stowed-away safety equipment may not be of much use in case of an emergency.

Ganesh, who had also gone on a ride in one of the pontoons at Chunnambar, agrees. "The boat was not overcrowded; the ride was enjoyable and did not seem dangerous. But it is better to provide each passenger with a life jacket, for safety's sake," he said.

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