The Ministry of Works and Transport has revealed plans to review the current water transport laws that were enacted in 1939 as a way of ensuring safety and improving standards for boats used on water in a bid to reduce water accidents.
The commitment by the government comes after 20 people were confirmed dead on August 2, 2023, after a cargo boat capsized on Lake Victoria while sailing from Lwanabatya and Ntuuwa landing sites, Kalangala district, heading to Katabi Town Council, Wakiso district.
According to Fred Byamukama, the state minister of works and transport, there is a need to use boats that are safe and only managed by skilled people.
“We have, together with the Ministry of Works and Transport and the marine police, come up with a strategy on how to reduce accidents in water, like having a law enforcement team regulate the types of canoes and boats moving in the water bodies, “Byamukama said.
Byamukama stated that there are a number of boats that have been purchased, and more rescue boats and ambulances are already on standby for any emergency.
Byamukama further encourages the use of life jackets and the observance of loading limits to avoid accidents related to overloading among the travelers in the water.
The vessel operators are also encouraged to exercise greater caution during the high tide season, when the water levels go high, and in case of water-related issues, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center is toll-free at 110.