Ra youths learn basics of seafaring

MSAF trainer Noa Gadekimerika (3rd from left) explains the parts of an outboard engine to participants. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE youths in Ra are now currently undergoing a training program teaching them skills needed to be a certified boat master.

About 31 youths between the ages of 17 to 35 years are part of the two weeks training program in Narewa Viilage in Ra.

The program by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in partnership with the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) is aimed at creating awareness on the importance of safety at sea.

As part of a series of workshops conducted for youths and boat owners along the coast of Ra, the training will see the participants complete the course equipped with basic sea safety certification Class Six Restricted Training allowing them to operate in limited coastal areas, a government statement said.

MSAF trainer Noa Gadekimerika said one of the most common problems among seafarers in the country was the lack of knowledge and skills when problems were encountered at sea.

“These training programs address the youths by providing the necessary knowledge for those wishing to commence a profession at sea. It upskills our youths and creates awareness on what to do when faced with a situation at sea” he said.

“We have been carrying out this training in the Western Division and our partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports has seen youths in the province trained on the basic skills which will allow one to attain a Boat Master certification with Class Six restricted license.”

The youths, who are from the province, acknowledged the training for instilling confidence in them and welcomed the three months follow-up programme in place.

“I sincerely thank the Ministry for organising the training for us. The training will enable me to know more about operating a boat especially when I go fishing since I am a fisherwoman,” said Nunia Kawa of Namuaimada village.

Expressing the similar sentiments, 19 year-old Peni Raisele of Vitawa village, said the work of the Ministry and MSAF have provided them with a very enabling environment.

Mr Raisele dropped out of university because of financial constraints and turned to fishing as a source of income.

“My grandfather owns a fishing boat and most of the time I operate the boat without a license when I go fishing with him. I am very happy and thankful to the Ministry of Youth and Sports for providing this training course which has been very enlightening as I have learnt how to operate outboard motors the proper way and more importantly safety at sea,” said Mr Raisele.

“I am confident that with the certification from this training I will be able to find work in hotels which is one of my childhood dreams,” he added.

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