New safety guidelines for Kerala houseboats
In the wake of recent accidents and safety concerns it has raised, the authorities have issued a set of fresh guidelines for houseboats in Alappuzha. The new guidelines, issued to prevent accidents, directs the houseboat owners to increase the height of railings at the lobby and rear-end of boats with seating facilities.
The houseboat owners are directed to increase the height of the railings in 60 days. Safety instructions should also be displayed in multiple languages on the houseboats. Apart from the written materials, the crew of the boat, are instructed to give safety instructions and do’s and don’ts to the tourists while they are on board the houseboats. Also, from now on, it is mandatory for the tourists to wear life jackets while standing in the lobby. The committee convened to discuss the safety issues of the houseboats has also observed that it is necessary to put in place some regulations regarding taking selfies during cruise. Houseboat owners have also been directed to set up an emergency alarm button on boats.
The guidelines were issued after District Police Chief (DPC) S Surendran convened a meeting of he Ports Department, Pollution Control Board, Tourism Department, and representatives of houseboats owners’ associations to discuss about the recurring accidents in the sector. The DPC has also constituted a special team to look into the complaints of houseboats crew working under the influence of alcohol.