Qamea women learn boat steering


That is why when the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji conducted a Boat Master Licence (BML) and Restricted Master/Engineer Class 6 (RME 6) training on the island, the women in the villages deeply appreciated it.

"For us women in the four villages on Qamea Island, learning to drive a boat is a must because our husbands are either employed by nearby hotels or work in Taveuni," Maria Lawanuku, 40, of Togo village said

"For this reason, we had to learn to drive a boat so we could go fishing and run other errands without having to wait for our husbands to get back from work.

"We realised that through this way, there were no delay in getting food for the family and it generally helped in the family's day to day activity."

She was one of six women who were a part of the 120 participants who attended the training at Naivivi village.

"Given that boat is the only means of transportation and movement in these areas, we have no choice but to continuously upgrade our skills and learn more on the related maritime legislations.

"In our family, my 17-year-old daughter and I drive our fibreglass boats, apart from my husband. We would take school students to Taveuni and back. At the same time, we would buy food items, groceries and other goods for our canteen.

"So for us, this training is extremely important as it not only helps us broaden our knowledge and upgrade our skills in sailing and seafaring, but also helps us improve our standard of living as a family and helps in the general development of our maritime community."