Water sport activities in Visakhapatnam are yet to pick up the pace. Despite the lustrous blue beaches in the city, activities such as scuba diving, sea kayaking have taken a back seat since the unfortunate Godavari Boat mishap in September 2019. With unexpected dangers looming at sea and due to safety concerns for citizens, the Andhra Pradesh government had banned all the water sports activities across the state following the accident. Even though the activities resumed briefly in January this year, the COVID-19 pandemic soon played the spoilsport. For the Vizag-based adventure organisation, LiveIn Adventures, the pandemic has only added woes to their business which was already halted.
B. Balaram, a scuba-diving instructor at LiveIn Adventures said, “The activities have stopped for a year. Even before the Godavari accident, we couldn’t conduct many activities as the sea is quite rough during the summer.”
The year 2019-2020 has been a huge setback and an extremely dull year for the water sport activities in Visakhapatnam. However, activities are expected to resume from October 15 although there is no official confirmation regarding the same. “If we are set to resume activities, the operational costs are going to very high as we have to employ better-skilled staff that generally demand a high salary,” Balaram explained. Even if the water sports industry begins functioning again, it is highly likely to incur huge losses with the pandemic still at large.
Most of LiveIn Adventures’ customers comprise of tourists from Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. “We will still go forward with our business despite the losses. As long as we don’t give up, we will receive profits someday,” Balaram said.
Despite all the odds, LiveIn adventures is making the sea a better place by organising regular beach clean-ups. On Friday, marking the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the team held a beach clean-up at Rushikonda. The majority of the 350 kilograms of waste that they collected comprised of surgical masks and fishnets. “It is our responsibility to show the beauty of the sea to our customers, we can only do it if there is no waste in the sea,” said Balaram adding that LiveIn adventures is planning to conduct another clean-up in the coming week.