A total of 500 trained lifeguards graduated yesterday at the Eastern Naval Base in Tema New Town.
The trained lifeguards, drawn from about nine regions in the country, comprised both males and females and will be deployed to save lives on Ghana’s water-bodies in the country.
The Basic Water Safety and Life Guard Training Course was made possible under the Volta Lake Transport Safety Project (VLTSP), a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the Ministry of Transport and Ecozoil – a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies (JGC).
The course was undertaken in two parts, with the first part commencing on February 11 this year and lasted for six weeks.
Lifeguard Operative, Mr. Prosper Kofi Abochie, was adjudged the Overall Best Trainee and received a Special Certificate of Commendation.
Madam Augustina Agyemang (Best Female Trainee-2nd batch); Nehard Mumuni (Best Male-3rd batch); Ruth Astwei Adjetey, (Best Female Trainee-3rd batch); Mr. Abubakar Fuseini, (Best Male-4th batch); and Madam Benedicta Eklu (Best Female- 4th Batch) all received a Special Certificate of Commendation.
Speaking at a colourful passing-out ceremony, Minister of Transport Kwaku Ofori Asiama congratulated the lifeguard trainees, and urged them to use the training skills acquired to save lives on Volta Lake and the country’s water-bodies.
According to him, as part of the project government will be providing free life-jackets to commuters on the Volta Lake; and also help to educate residents along the lake.
“This project will also provide jobs for the youth in coastal areas,” he said.
The Executive Chairman-JGC, Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, in a short address urged the lifeguards to do their best to make water transport safer in the country.
He announced that his outfit will provide three speed-boats for the Ghana Navy to help support the security agency in its naval operations.
The VLTSP, he explained, has become necessary because of the challenges bedevilling transportation on the Volta Lake and other water-bodies in the country.
“Transportation on the Volta Lake is plagued with challenges: including lack of life-jackets for commuters, overloading on boats, and lack of safety education on the lake,” he bemoaned.
According to him, the project seeks to employ the youth from communities along the Volta Lake and equip them with basic skills in water survival and rescue operations, to ensure safety of commuters on the lake.
“In addition, it helps to maintain cleanliness at the various landing sites, provide safety education to both boat operators and commuters, and provide life-jackets for commuters to protect them on the lake,” he added.
Dr. Siaw Agyepong disclosed that the project covers 40 municipal district assemblies (MDAs).
He therefore thanked the Transport Minister for the confidence he reposed in his company that resulted in renewal of the project.
“I also want to thank the Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Isaah Yakubu; and the Flight Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, Commodore Emmanuel Ayensu Kwafio, for training the lifeguards.
“To the Ecozoil team, let’s work hard to ensure that the project achieves its objectives so it can become a model for other countries in the world to emulate,” he charged the trainees.
On his part, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Isaah Yakubu, commended Dr. Siaw Agyepong for his pledge to support the navy with speed-boats.
He encouraged the lifeguards to always have the country’s interests first in the discharge of their duties.
Earlier, in a welcome address, the Flight Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Commodore Emmanuel Ayensu Kwafo, while commending the leadership of the Leadership Training School, ENC, praised the trainees for their endurance.
He said the participants were trained in firefighting tactics, confidence jumps and survival at sea, and endurance in water to save lives and properties among others.
The objective of this training, he said, is to help avert accidents on the Volta Lake and other water-bodies.
“This is not the first time Ecozoil is embarking on such a project. It happened some 10-11 years ago, and the Ghana Navy has also been supporting in saving lives on Ghana’s water-bodies,” he indicated.