It is good news that Raffles Lighthouse is open to the public for visits (Bi-monthly public tours to Raffles Lighthouse to begin in February, Jan 30).
Aside from my full-time work as a second officer on board a heavy lift vessel, I also volunteer as a sea scout leader in secondary schools during my free time.
Visiting Raffles Lighthouse on a weekend sounded almost like a perfect activity for the sea scouts.
But, why must someone be at least 18 years old to visit?
When I made the decision to start a seafaring career, I was only 14 years old. I was inspired to make that decision while standing on the navigation bridge of a 270m-long container vessel.
I believe someone standing at the top of Raffles Lighthouse, watching over one of the busiest sea lanes in the world, will be equally inspired by the sight.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has put significant effort into youth engagement.
Examples of this include the launch of the Young Mariner Badge in collaboration with the Singapore Scouts Association, the recent MaritimeSG Youth Ambassadors initiative reaching out to young adults, and the annual Singapore Maritime Week.
A visit to the 167-year-old Raffles Lighthouse would be a perfect complement to these efforts.
If the bi-monthly guided tours remain restricted to those aged 18 and above, I strongly recommend having separate tours that cater to secondary school students.
Teenagers, who are at the age at which they decide what career path to take in their post-secondary school education, should be given the opportunity to visit the lighthouse.
I hope that we can also see more maritime facilities such as Sultan Shoal Lighthouse opened to the public, including those under 18.
Tan Teng Han