The drowning of two female dancers and one man at a beach party after their leisure boat capsized in Mvurwi on Sunday afternoon is a sad reminder of how basic safety precautions are not observed at many public places in this country.
Regulations state that public places should be fitted with safety instruments such as fire extinguishers, water buckets and first aid kits. High-rise buildings should have fire escapes and fire staircases in the event of emergencies.
In most instances these apparatus and precautionary infrastructure appear redundant and a waste of money.
In fact companies and property owners who have the obligation to install safety gadgets and infrastructure oftentimes regard inspectors from local authorities as a nuisance every time they call to enforce safety by-laws.
At the club in Mvurwi, basic safety instruments which could have saved lives were not there. The club, we are sure, has held other watersport activities without incident and may not have seen the need to enforce a strict safety regime.
On Sunday afternoon safety instruments and life-saving infrastructure was telling. The result was tragic, which is what often happens in such circumstances.
At the moment we can only contemplate what could have happened if the club owners had exercised the precaution requisite when offering water sports.
From the information gathered so far, it did not appear as if there were life-jackets for those who were going to take to the water.
The organisers did not appear to have hired a competent life-saver to attend to emergencies. Then more egregiously, the integrity of the boat which was used in the activities was questionable.
All these shortcoming conspired to claim young lives.
The incident is a poignant reminder of the perils inherent in water-based public activities. To many they are great fun but they are dangerous and, as a result, come with strict rules.
There is need for even greater precaution if alcohol is taken by those venturing into the water.
It should be noted that even if public emergency teams like the fire brigade, ambulance services or sub-aqua teams respond within reasonable time of getting a call, they often arrive too late to save lives.
It takes less than five minutes for drowning to occur.
But most small towns do not have proper emergency services and sub-aqua teams are always hours away from points where they are required urgently.
It is therefore important that owners of properties where large numbers of people gather invest in safety.
Local authorities have a duty to strictly enforce safety standards. T
he authorities should be even stricter with nightclubs and bars, where the level of recklessness increases in tandem with levels of alcohol consumed.