Boarding a boat to some, is like diving into the ocean without a swimming skill. Recently, many have been discouraged from boarding boat owing to several mishaps.
Though, Lagos state is a busy, traffic-congested area, many who live at waterway areas prefer going by road despite the distance and traffic congestion in the state.
Narrating his ordeal a week ago, Mr Semiu Makanjuola who lives in Ikorodu, Lagos state, and works on the Island, said, “the boat I boarded almost capsized due to a heavy storm on the warterway close to Powerline enroute Addas Jetty, Victoria Island. The passengers had to pressure the captain to return to the embankment at metro jetty Ikorodu.
“The boat almost capsized because water had almost filled the boat and the captain had to be forced to turn back.”
For Olatunji Makanjuola, going to work can be an overwhelming feat at times, considering the distance and the traffic situation in the Lagos metropolis.
“Interestingly, for a couple of years now, the alternate route via waterways has become more popular amongst commuters plying the Ikorodu-Island route. Shuttling between Ikorodu and Lagos Island by boat has given workers and business people some relief as people don?t have to wake up as early as 4.00am just to hit the roads nor do they worry about being stuck in traffic any more,” Olatunji said.
However, that is no longer the same as people have decided to go through the pains of facing the traffic or wake up early to avoid the traffic because of the recent rise of disaster, drowning and deaths after a boat crash.
The town of Ikorodu now provides four (4) jetties at Ebute, Origin Gardens, Majidun and Bayeku; each with their own peculiar environments, staff and service quality.
The most popular of all the ports seems to be the one at Majidun.
Continuing, Olatunji said, “in the mornings on weekdays, you will arrive at the jetties to find queues or crowds of passengers buying tickets in order to have a position in the line-up to take a trip across the waterways on any of the continuously moving passenger boats.
The jetties take passengers across Ikorodu to stops at Lekki, CMS and Victoria Island except for the one at Bayeku which takes passengers to and fro Ajah, Lagos.
According to him, the boats are those with a human capacity of an average of 21 people. On the Majidun route there are fewer larger boats, those of about forty and also some with a seating capacity of just over sixty passengers exist.
“The small popular boats could be very terrifying for new commuters to board because these boats are more easily thrown around by the level of the water?s currents whenever they are turbulent, as every single wave can lift and drop the boats as they will. The effect makes the boats to slam hard as they land on the water again and again.
“Another scenario on the gestures of these little boats is the response to short and brisk waves which create a continuous and quick vibrating motions against the water. Yet another scenario is when waves are so huge that they smash against the boats almost making them turn towards another direction, usually when the weather is stormy. In such cases, you would simply hate it when water splashes into the boats and gets you wet. Just pray you are on the way home and not on the way to work.”
He advised that, “no new commuter should go by boat when the weather is stormy, as you will literally wet your own trousers out of fear and shock.”
When asked if she had ever gone through the waterway, Alhaja Sherifat Alade briskly said, “Never. Not in my life. I have husband and children I have to take care of, I’m not ready to die now. I don’t even like looking at the water, it’s scaring.”
Whether it’s work or pleasure that takes you on or near the water, you should be prepared and be aware of safety measures to take to stay alive.
However, experts have urged people to use life jackets while on boats to help people keep afloat in water in case of emergency.
You may not like it but if you eventually end up overboard, you will be grateful you’re wearing one.