The Bardi Jawi Rangers play a crucial role in marine rescue operations due to their extensive local knowledge and understanding of the waters, locations, people, and vessels in the region. As the traditional custodians of the land and sea, they possess invaluable insights into the treacherous nature of Bardi and Jawi sea country. These waters are characterised by challenging conditions such as high reef platforms, rip tides, back-currents, and standing waves, which make navigation perilous. By leveraging their traditional wisdom and intimate familiarity with the area, the rangers are uniquely positioned to contribute to the safety of both community members and visitors.
Azton Howard, an accomplished Bardi Jawi Ranger and marine science award recipient, took the lead in spearheading the marine safety campaign. Recognising the need to raise awareness and prevent emergencies, Mr. Howard initiated the installation of key safety equipment at major boat access points within the communities of Ardyaloon, Djarrindjin, and Lombadina. Moreover, he organised a workshop involving students from Ardyaloon school to design visually engaging signs that convey essential safety messages. The involvement of the local students not only instils a sense of ownership within the community but also fosters early awareness of marine safety among the younger generation.
The Rangers' commitment to marine safety, in collaboration with DFES, exemplifies the cultural responsibility of traditional owners to protect their people and visitors to their sea country. These waters, known for their inherent beauty, are also marked by potential dangers arising from large tides, strong currents, reefs, and islands. Since the marine resources within these areas sustain the livelihoods of the Bardi Jawi people, ensuring safe access to the sea country is of paramount importance to everyone involved.
The marine safety campaign launched by the Bardi Jawi Rangers, in collaboration with DFES Marine Rescue, demonstrates the proactive efforts of the Indigenous Australian community to prioritise the well-being of those navigating the waters. By leveraging their local and traditional knowledge, the rangers are making a significant impact on promoting safer boating practices.
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