Last week, Jennifer O’Leary (WCS WIO Region Marine Director) and Erwan Sola (Lead Coral Reef Scientist, WCS-Mozambique), visited the WCS-Madagascar Marine Program Team in Nosy Be for a Boating and Diving Safety evaluation and training. Combining our experience and expertise in the region with the local knowledge of the country Team, we reviewed available safety equipment and drafted safe procedures for boating and scientific diving, including checklists and emergency plans. The protocol developed will be shared with all WCS staff in the WIO Region, where remoteness and lack of access to emergency and specialized medical services add an extra layer of risk to these inherently dangerous ocean-based activities.
Madagascar boating and diving safety training
The workshop included a review of the of experience of the Madagascar Team, of the safety equipment available, discussions to identify gaps and find ways of filling them. The elaboration of safe boating and diving plans and Emergency Action Plans was covered too. Further in the week the Marine team was tested for their swimming and diving abilities during a visit to the stunning coral reefs of the Island. Finally, we used the results of this work to prepare and upcoming underwater ecological survey in Ankarea and Akivonjy (Nosy Be).
We are thrilled about this experience and the opportunity to contribute to establishing high standards and best practices, ensuring that our Marine teams conduct outstanding research and conservation in the safest manner. A heartfelt thanks to the Mada team for their warm welcome, hard work, and engagement in these essential processes. Hoza tokana tsy mba ala! ( Malagasy proverb which means: a single tree does not make a forest, that is there is strength in numbers).