Leaders and residents of Lamu want the national government to put up a marine search and rescue station in the county.
This follows increased accidents in the Indian Ocean resulting in injuries, deaths and loss of property.
Lamu Deputy Governor Abdulhakim Aboud, who doubles as the county Fisheries and Agriculture executive, noted there had been delays in search and rescue missions when accidents occurred.
Between 12 and 15 people die in marine accidents in Lamu annually, says the county fisheries and sea transport department.
Last August, seven fishermen died in an accident in the ocean while 12 boats capsized in Lamu.
“We need a fully equipped marine search and rescue substation to be established either at Mtangawanda or the Lamu Port area in Kililana,” Mr Aboud said.
“I believe with such a facility in place, it will help improve our water transport infrastructure, including maritime communications, navigation aids, and inland waterways.”
He spoke during an event to issue certificates to boat operators in the county.
Lamu County Beach Management Units (BMU) Network official Mohamed Somo said fishermen and other sea users, including travellers and traders, are unable to get assistance when accidents occur in the ocean.
Mr Somo said it can take up to 12 hours for rescue boats to arrive at an accident scene.
This often happens when lives are already lost.
He called for the establishment of an emergency search and rescue station in Lamu that will directly help address threats in the ocean.
“The government needs to put in place effective measures and practical guidelines to help save lives during marine accidents in our waters. We expect such a facility to be equipped with fast rescue boats and trained crew who will be on standby 24 hours to respond to any emergencies arising in the Indian Ocean,” he said.
Mr Ali Jamal, a long-distance cargo shipper in the Lamu archipelago, said seafarers, fishermen and travellers often have to struggle on their own in the unfortunate event of an accident.
He cited the August 2017 accident where Lamu ODM politician Shekuwe Kahale lost his family when a boat capsized in the Manda Bruno channel.
“People have told stories of how they swam for hours without any help. Others gave up and died, while a few survived,” Mr Jamal said.
“Kahale made all efforts, including holding onto his six children for a whole eight hours until they started slipping away from his grasp as they were exhausted and that’s how they died. Imagine if rescuers had been out there at that time, they would be alive.”
Mr Ahmed Bakari, of Kiunga, said once established, the station will reduce pressure on fishermen who often rush to rescue their colleagues when accidents occur in the ocean.
“We will appreciate it if the state's top priority is to minimise the number of fatalities that occur in the Indian Ocean due to boat accidents,” Mr Bakari said.