Travelers to Kalangala worried as Marine authorities deny them life jackets

Written by: 
Nayiga Teddy Tracy


NAKIWOGO- Passengers using Nakiwogo, Entebbe route to Kalangala have expressed concerns also faulting Marine Vessel (MV) authorities for not issuing them with life jackets.

Travelers said that they feel unsafe using the vessel without jackets citing the recent incident in the neighboring Tanzania where over 70 people lost their lives in Lake Victoria.

According to the report issued by Tanzania authorities indicated that none of the passengers on the Marine Vessel had a life jacket.

A one Julian Nakiwala, a second year journalism student at Makerere, said “while in my primary school, I was told that whoever travels by water means has to be with a life jacket but I'm so surprised that we have not been given them.  

“I actually feel uncomfortable,” Nakiwala said.

However, Sam Amanyire, also a Makerere student told this website that he started going to Kalangala in 2011 and for the many times he traveled on the MV Kalangala, he had never worn a life jacket.

“I am used,” Amanyire said.

Mr. Jibril Mukwaya the quartermaster on Marine Vessel (MV) Kalangala said life jackets are given to passengers only during emergency times.

"Life jackets are only given to passengers during emergency times, if you’re on board and your given a life jacket, just know things are not good and we are only left with one option that is abandoning the ship just in case its sinking," Jibril said.

Quoting the international law on marine, he said life jackets are only given to passengers when things are out of hand and when the safety of passengers is below 80 percent but on this [MV Kalangala] ship, the safety of passengers is above required percentage so there is no need of giving them life jackets.

But he said there is a place where they are kept and accessed in times of emergency. This reporter was denied access to the place he claimed.  

According to the Marine Notice no 39 of 2013, wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) increases the chances of survival in the event of entering water and life jackets must be worn every time passengers get on board.

"The purpose of this Marine Notice is to inform owners, charterers, masters, skippers and crew of fishing and commercial vessels that correctly selected and worn lifejackets save lives. Help yourself to survive by wearing a lifejacket!" states the notice.


The Marine notice no 39 of 2013, states that the high majority of people who will drown will not be wearing a lifejacket and Survival times may be over 7 times longer if a lifejacket is correctly worn, regardless of the water temperature.