2012-10-09    Preventing Tragedy at Sea

Only when I saw Ming Pao's English editorial of October 4 did I know that the Marine Department requires children to wear life jackets the whole time they are on board a vessel carrying passengers to watch fireworks in Hong Kong Harbour.

On checking the internet, I find that most places in the world have a similar regulation: young children should always wear a life jacket, also called a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) whenever on a private vessel.

Should such a requirement apply to regular services like the Star Ferry?
Given that Hong Kong people, generally speaking, are not good swimmers, logic suggests that all passengers, adults as well as children, should wear life jackets when on a vessel, even on regular ferries.

The wearing of PFDs is not very convenient, but, like "inconvenient" seat belts in cars, it would greatly reduce the likelihood of death and injury, and ensure that Hong Kong never again sees such a preventable tragedy.