A poster under the WIMA on Watch program or “WOW” was unveiled during the Day of the Seafarer last June 25. The WOW ang Biyahe poster captures in one document basic safety tips for sea transport. The public was introduced for the first time to the updated essential safety tips under current standards. It is not very different from that which passengers see when they take air transport.
The production of the WOW ang Biyahe poster is one of the undertakings identified under the Memorandum of Agreement signed in 2014 between the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Women in Maritime Philippines (WIMAPHIL). Putting up the poster is seen as a way by which the two organizations could further safety consciousness through reminders to passengers as they board the boat or ship that will ferry them to their destination.
Safety consciousness, we must admit, is not easily imbibed. Add to this the propensity to be complacent in engaging in activities considered routine such as boarding the different modes of transport e.g. by road, air or maritime. As Filipinos, we have a “pwede na” or “bahala na” attitude. One wonders how many lives could have been saved or accidents prevented if passengers were more safety conscious or heeded simple safety guidelines.
Agencies which exercise regulatory supervision over transportation companies easily claim to have issued the necessary regulations to ensure safe and comfortable transport. Such regulations are generally addressed to ship operators/owners or crew. Passengers, on the other hand, will have to count on the assurance that the ships and boats are seaworthy.
They are not expected to ask nor demand more than just being conveyed from port to port simply because they are not aware of their minimum entitlements as passengers.
I am reminded of the experience of a friend who, coming back by boat from an island resort, encountered big waves. She started looking for life vests which according to Government requirements should have been worn by the passengers before leaving shore.
She wanted to stand and grab one of the life vests which were located overhead but being conscious about the possible panic such act may create, decided to sit back braving her anxieties throughout the trip.
The WOW ang Biyahe poster enhances public awareness of safety requirements. It also affirms Government’s presence and concern for the safety of passengers. With increased awareness, the public, the ultimate beneficiary of safe sea travel, assumes an active role as they check compliance of sea transport operators with safety regulations as are listed in the poster.
WOW ang Biyahe posters will be displayed at prominent areas in passenger terminals and piers and eventually onboard all passenger ships and boats. Distribution of WOW ang Biyahe flyers is also being considered. Look for one when you next decide to board a ship/boat.