Public urged to take greater care on water

| 27/01/2010

(CNS): Despite the recent marine tragedy in which five lives were lost at sea, police have said that people are still taking risks when going out on the water.  Following a number of incidents where the RCIPS marine unit has been called into action over the past few days, Chief Inspector Courtney Myles is urging people to be extra vigilant and to make sure they are well equipped before heading out to sea. The incidents included two people reportedly in distress when fishing from a small kayak on Wednesday, four people rescued from a sinking boat at Barkers reef in the early hours of Saturday morning, and some slight injuries sustained when a rider was thrown from a wave runner on Sunday afternoon.

 “There has been a change in the weather and as such I would urge users of small water craft to take extra care over the next few days,” Chief Inspector Myles of the RCIPS marine unit said. “In light of recent events on the islands I cannot emphasise enough the need to make sure that you follow some simple rules about boat safety.”

CI Myles recently headed up the search mission for Raynell Wood, Astor Range, Joshua Gilman, Jeamie Avila and Michelle Wood who have been lost at sea following their departure on a fishing trip in a 26ft canoe on 10 January. After eight days of searching the marine unit was forced to call off the search making the loss one of the greatest single marine tragedies in the Cayman Islands since the 1940s and reminding mariners the risks posed even in local waters.

The marine unit states that before heading out to sea boaters should file a float plan with port security; ensure boats are in good working condition; tell a friend or relative where the party is going, why and what time it will be leaving and returning; have the necessary equipment on board (life jackets, radio etc).

Myles also noted that people using the water on any kind of craft should also have spent time getting to know the various channels on their routes and, of course, they should check out the weather forecast before leaving shore.

 “We are in the process of sending examples of float plans out to marine stores in the area – however, if anyone has any questions about what they shoulddo before they go to sea they can contact the RCIPS marine unit and my officers will be happy to provide advice,” CI Myles added.

The marine unit can be contacted on 949-7710.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "He hath founded it up on the seas"; however, such lack of care for the waters, safety and legislations to govern the very same thing that these islands are proud of.

    The revenue that the government is missing out on bynot:

    1- implementing a boat registry, which would help with:

    a- investigating the theft of a vessel

    b- tracking an offender that breached port authority regulations as well as marine conservation laws.

    2- Implement a mandatory boat operators lisence; this is a great aportunity for the government to create jobs for caymanians (there is a number of very qualified caymanians for this post)

    3- The implementation of a VHF license, another revenue oportunity and a must have in other jurisdictions.

    4- This is one tha inspector Ebanks and former marine commander B Smith gonna love. The long awaited ticketing sistem for the water, the same as what the traffic officers enjoy. A ticket that penalizes from not wearing a vest to exceding the speed in marine park as well as close to shore,also for violations of the marine conservation laws; in the next ten years, caymanians will have to show their children what a lobster by showing them a photo of an extinct species.

    5- Legislation on boating under the influence. boy this is big one.

    Folks we can go on and on and on. Any takes on how much revenue these things would bring in for gov?

  2. gilly says:

    Long gone are days of real marine officers Wilred and the boys guys who knew the ocean and sea around these islands. Experience officers who knew how to run vessels properly without damaging or wrecking them. those were the days.

    • Bobby Anonymous says:

      Say what! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Oh my Ribs are sore.

      No damage and no wrecks, you are not very well informed are you?

    • Anonymous says:

      How does your comment relate to the topic? devoted to the old boys, are we?

  3. sk says:

    You know it was really heart breaking to have such a serious loss of young lives recently, but what is even sadder is to see how all these issues are again reoccurring. All these rules and safety precautions and plans were all put in place over 5 years ago by the then marine unit commanders who were in discussions with the government with a view to implement all the above mention rules and regulations and safety requirements, however it was certain political interest who were obstructing the process because of a fee for boat registration issue. It is duly note also that i can remember that the previous marine unit who by the way had only two marked police vessels heavily patrolled that Northsound daily and nightly in any kind of weather and were very very diligent in stopping vessels to check the occupants out. Thats not the situation we see these days with more boats personell and base than it has ever been. why is that?

    • Anonymous says:

      More boats but where is the fuel for them hello the budget was cut might be stepping on toes by patrolling too much and catching drug runners.

       We need a ticket system for the marine unit to enforce on violators,  if you are caught operating a boat while intoxicated you get the same punishment as on land and what ever else that you can be charged for no life vest the same as no seatbelt and so on.

       All water craft should be licenced this will also help if they get stolen and is recovered you will know who it is for.

      Sure it was hot with the old crew but they dont last forever and the ones that are left get overpowered by the ones pushed to higher postions that have no clue on special ops or on how to run the unit so they that have the know how is nobody morale is gone and lets not think that the expats did it. Its our own Caymanians that is controling and stopping the progress just look at the head Caymanians in the Force start there. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate that it would be hugely unpopular to implement but isn’t it about time that watercraft users be required to have at least a Dayskipper’s ticket or equivalent for larger craft. PWC and powerboat qualifications are also not hard to come by. If somebody can afford the boat in the first place, they can afford to learn how to handle it too. VHF protocol in Cayman is appalling, watching people anchor at Rum Point is amusing at best and seeing how some people dock will makes me wince.

    The sea always wins in the end so play it safe. And, weather forecasts are no great secret; there are plenty of sites online that can help determine whether or not it is safe to go out.

  5. Peter Milburn says:

    I would like to add my comments to this story and urge people to LISTEN to the weather alerts in the media and on the radios.It would be good if the Port Security folks could have an up to date weather report for people calling in on channel 16 and make sure its continually updated day and nite.

          There are far too many people out there who think they are boat handlers and only go out over the w/ends.Make sure you KNOW how to operate the boat properly BEFORE venturing outside our reef areas.I would be happy to assist anyone with advice on how to launch and take the boat back out after they are finished and how to tie up alongside a dock or use a mooring ball properly.Even anchoring can be tricky if you are not familiar with reef areas and currents etc.

          If you are in any doubt what so ever DONT VENTURE OUT!!!!!!My phone number in case anyone wishes to contact me is 916-0814.

                   SAFE BOATING.

    • Anon says:

      Thanks Peter,  i wrote your number down as i will be purchasing aboat soon and would find your expertise very helpful! Alot of other people that i know that THINK they are expert boat handlers should write your number down too.. lol

    • anonymous says:

      Good Lord man, Captains should not be encouraged to clog the Emerg distress Channel 16 with weather enquiries! 

      Novice boaters need to understand that weather can change very quickly here and high winds can convert a glassy sea at the 12 mile banks into 6 footers in less than an hour. 

      Be an adult and know the outlook before you get in your boat!  Always tell someone where you are going.  Carry at least one fully charged cell phone as VHF backup!  This should all be common sense!

      • Forrest Gump says:

        Momma always used to say…."common sense…it ain’t so common…."