Marine Safety Center ensures Songkran boat operators ship-shape

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Public and private sector agencies joined forces to ensure boat operators taking heavy Songkran crowds on the water were adhering to safety regulations.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Marine Office 6 opened the Marine Safety Center at Bali Hai Pier April 11. Sponsored and operated by the city, marine police, Sawang Boriboon Foundation, Raja Maritime School, 3rd Marine Volunteers unit and Pattaya Cruise Enterprise Co., the center worked from April 11-17 to ensure safety and convenience for thousands of people traveling daily between Pattaya and Koh Larn, as well as those on fishing and leisure-cruise boats.

One of the handful of patrol boats participating in the program to provide extra safety during the holidays. One of the handful of patrol boats participating in the program to provide extra safety during the holidays.

Sub Lt. Preecha Phetchawong, Bali Hai pier’s deputy safety director, said ferries and boats normally carry about 6,000 people between the mainland and island, but that during Songkran those numbers regularly approach 10,000 per day.

As a result, the safety center was established to ensure boats were not carrying more people than allowed and inspect vessels for seaworthiness, the number of life jackets on board, and fire and safety equipment.

The center, he said, also managed boat traffic in and out of the harbor area and aided travelers in cases of emergency.