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Call to heed advice

Tevita Vuibau
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

CALLS are being made for tourists to adhere to the instructions of resort staff when engaging in water sports.

This after an American tourist in Pacific Harbour was stranded on a reef marker for more than four hours after his kayak drifted away.

The tourist had gone out kayaking over the weekend without informing resort staff members and was only reported missing after his kayak was found later.

The man was later rescued after a search by resorts and water sports companies in the area.

Freedivefiji, who assisted in the search, said it was especially important that tourists heeded the instructions of resort staff members when engaging in any water sports.

"Sometimes we do get guests who think they know the ocean better than we do and incidents like what happened in the weekend, unfortunately," Freedivefiji operations manager Mahen Kumar said.

He explained many resorts and water sports operators extensively briefed guests on proper safety before they were engaged in any water sport.

Mr Kumar said this included questions to discern the health of the individual, a brief on the boundaries of the area of activity and also current and the expected weather conditions

"What happened in the weekend was the guest actually went out by himself, he didn't let anyone know where he was going and he basically broke all the safety procedures that were there.

"When you do that, something like that is bound to happen even if the weather is perfect."

Fiji Hotel and Tourism general secretary Dixon Seeto said the main concern for hotels and resorts was to minimise all risk for their guests when it came to activities.

"Most of the activities, whether they be land or water sports activities, will be supervised by properly qualified and licensed people or operators," he said.

"But having said that, if some guests do not follow the rules, they can possibly get into problems. So we encourage all our guests to follow the instructions and always heed the instructions and policies of the resorts and the hotel."





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