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Safety Tips for Ferry or Boat Travel On Your Next Mission Trip?

Safety Tips for Ferry or Boat Travel On Your Next Mission Trip? Featured Image

Many mission teams arrive by air but then travel by land and water to arrive at their destination.  Wither you are taking a boat in to the jungle or a ferry to the next island, the US State Department provides some practical safety tips for your next mission trip.  Given the recent fatal ferry accidents in the waters off Zanzibar in the past year, (The State Department) offers the following guidance for travelers:

· Purchase tickets beforehand from a reputable sales agent when possible, not from vendors on the piers.

· Plan to depart and arrive during daylight hours with good visibility.

· Avoid travel during high seas or during inclement weather.

· If you board a vessel you feel is overcrowded or unsafe, disembark immediately.

· As soon as you board, take note of your surroundings: Are the corridors free from debris, cargo, excess bags, and passengers? Learn where the nearby exits are located and test them to ensure they open.

· Verify that there are sufficient life-jackets aboard the vessel. Where are they located? Can you access them in an emergency? Are they in good condition?

· Is there a functioning public address system to broadcast instructions in case of an emergency?

· Can the ship’s staff communicate adequately with the passengers?

· If you believe any part of the ship’s safety is compromised, get off immediately and make alternate plans to arrive at your destination.

Ships may not be maintained regularly; they may lack basic safety equipment and navigational aids. Emergency response capabilities in Tanzania are limited. Minimize your risks by considering these factors and taking appropriate actions to guard your safety.

For more information, please contact the following agencies:

Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA, for Tanganyika), tel: +255(0) 22 2197 500, email:

Zanzibar Marine Transport Authority (ZMTA), tel: +255 (0) 24 223 2858

Tanzania Ministry of Transport, tel: +225 (0) 22 2137 650, email:

Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), tel: +255 (0) 22 2116 258 or +255 (0) 683 800 944

Zanzibar Port Corporation (ZPC), tel: +255 (0) 24 223 2017, email:

The U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam encourages U.S. citizens to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for the most up-to-date safety and security information. Keep all of your information in STEP up-to-date by maintaining your current phone numbers and email addresses where you can be reached in case of an emergency.

You can stay in touch and get updates by checking the U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam website. You can also get global updates at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warning, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well, or you can download our free Smart Traveler IPhone App for travel information at your fingertips.

Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or a regular toll line at-1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Copyright © 2012, U.S. Department of State

Categories: Travel