Saturday, August 7, 2010

Outrigger boat as tourist boat

Outrigger boat is the predecessor of trimaran - a high speed marine vehicle that is now being considered as an alternative choice for passenger or pleasure boat besides catamaran.
In the northern coast of Manokwari, this outrigger boat is usually powered by Yamaha 25 to 40 hp outboards to help fisherman transport their day catch from the sea to the main island of New Guinea. Last July 2010, I used one of the boats to carry Netherlands' tourists for snorkeling around the Kaki island - a one-hour car ride from Manokwari city - the capital of West Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia. I have been trying to introduce ecotourism scheme to Papuan fishermen communities living near Mansinam, Lemon, Raimuti and Kaki islands in Manokwari regency. If at nights, the fishermen use their outrigger boats to catch fish, during the days the boats can be used as water taxi to transport people.
When the fishing boat is converted into tourist boat, a number of safety precautions has to be taken into account. From my personal experience, most of the boats are not equipped with life jackets. To prevent accidents at sea, I limit the number of tourists that can be transported in one trip to Kaki island to three people to allow for a large freeboard at the side of the boat so that it will still be safe when facing big wave although the actual capacity of the boat is ten passengers.   Because Kaki island is located in the northern coast of the New Guinea island facing the Pacific island, the limitation of the number of tourists that can be transported by the boat is important to avoid any accidents at sea involving international tourists. The outriggers of the boat are made of bamboo - the material that can easily be found in the nearby tropical rainforest of West Papua not far from the village.
I hope that with the introduction of the outrigger boat as tourist boat, local Papuan fishermen who live near Kaki island will give more attention to the preservation of coral reef in Kaki island and other coral islands around the area.