Boaters in distress may be booked for safety issues

| 05/02/2010

(CNS): Irresponsible boaters who get into trouble at sea and need to be rescued may find themselves in trouble with the law as well if it turns out they did not have all the necessary safety equipment on board. Police say that, despite all previous warnings and information given to the boating public by the RCIPS Marine Unit, some people are still not making sure they have the proper equipment when they head out to sea.

About 8:50 last night, Thursday 4 February, police were called to assist a 17-foot fishing boat off North West Point in West Bay. The boat had three people on board and they were unable to start the boat’s engine. They did have paddles available, but because of the prevailing sea conditions they were unable to make headway. The RCIPS Marine Unit Typhoon was deployed and the boat was towed back to shore. When officers carried out a routine safety check of the boat they discovered that the occupants did not have the necessary safety equipment on board.

Inspector Brad Ebanks of the RCIPS Marine Unit said, “It is difficult for me to accept that boaters are not making good of our advice and warnings and are still going out to sea without the necessary equipment. People have to be more responsible and stop putting people’s lives at risk. It is with good reason why you are required to have these safety items onboard. The mentality of ‘nothing is going to happen’ is far from the truth. The boating public can certainly expect to see an increase in checks for the require safety equipment. If you own a boat and don’t have the required safety equipment you should make good of this time to ensure that you acquire them.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Frankly – if someone gets in distress and needs help, they should be rescued, however, they should have to pay the expense involved with the rescue. Hopefully, this will make people think twice before venturing out in rough seas or bad weather or ill equipped boats etc. Why should the rest of the country pick up the expense for those. Frankly, if somebody would save my life I would happily pay for that service and hopefully would have learned my lesson as well.

  2. Boater says:

     Perhaps the Marinas that sell boats and accessories and also the Marine Police should be more proactive in making the general public aware of what is needed when going out at sea. perhaps Marine Police can patrol and stop boaters out here and just talk to them about what their are lacking when it comes to security. More P.R. (seminars; public meetings?) will help.

    In the end they work for us to protect and serve us (although not for acting stupidly)

    And by the way, rumor has it that when the 5 fisherman went missing a few weeks ago, Marine Police did not want to venture out and that once again, personel from Harbour House Marina went out and recovered the canoe (not the police like the media said)

    • Anonymous says:

      There is a thing called responsibility! I think if I buy a boat or venture out on a boat the obligation is on me to educate myself accordingly. That is what is wrong with society nowadays that the responsibilities are always pushed on to someone else. Why is it governments job to educate me about something I chose willingly to do? Does this mean that when I buy a fast car the police should stop me on the road and lecture me about proper and responsible driving? Come on. Take responsibility for your own action.

  3. Alan Roffey says:

    It would be helpful if the RCIPS Marine Unit would publish a list of the "proper equipment" that it expects each vessel to have on board when it makes a press release such as this one, or perhaps provide a link to a website where it can be found.

    Here is one such link

    The list will probably be different depending on the type of vessel and/or the purpose for which it is being used at the time of inspection.

    For example, one wouldn’t expect a 27ft centre console boat at the sand bar to be carrying an offshore liferaft, but if it was bound for Cuba for a long weekend, then it probably should.

    Obviously, life jackets are a must in every situation.

    • philip says:

      the rules for what safety gear should be on board a vessel are provided and set by the Port Authority , here is a link to the list

  4. Anonymouse says:

    This would sound more sensible if the lack of mandated equipment had contributed to the need for a rescue. Personally I’m just amazed that they had the oars – about the only sea state I could ever imagine them being usefull in was with the wind blowing me home, otherwise I couldn’t imagine getting very far. (Iron man in wooden row boat I am not.)

  5. Anonymous says:

    This should not be something that is done after a rescue.  If people think there is a chance they may get into trouble, they may not call for help.  The Marine Police should be out doing random inspections BEFORE boats get into trouble. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you really think there is a chance people may not call for help simply because they may get into trouble?….at a time when they are in distress and in need of help….on the open waters???  Getting in trouble would be the last thing on their minds….saving their own lives would be at the forefront instead. People simply need to take heed, have the proper equipment and safety gears required, and stop putting other peoples lives in danger to save theirs when they could have been proactive in the first place.

    • Joe Bananas says:

      And also how about not checking for drivers license and registration after a car accident.  For the same reason of course.  And it goes without saying that a breath test would be too embarrassing.

      Going out in a boat with now life jackets, and saftey kit on a good day?…Stupid.

      going out in a boat with no life jackets and saftey kit on a bad day?….Deadly.

      Needing someone else to make you have the right equipment on board?… Irresponsible.

    • Anonymous says:

      No matter what the Police does, you all have got to find something wrong with it.  If they do random checks on boaters, you say they should be doing something else.  If they random checks on vehicles, you say they should be doing something else.  If they prosecute you, you say they should have warned you.  I think they have been overly lenient with the public, rescuing them, helping them, pointing out their breaches and coaxing them to follow the law.  I think Insp. Brad Ebanks was right in giving the public one final warning and I hope they prosecute everyone who endangers their own and others lives after that.  Then and maybe then people will start taking responsibility for their own actions. Brad, I think you all and DoE have done a tremendous job in a thankless environment and I encourage you all to forge ahead in keeping the boating public safe and the Marine environment preserved for all to enjoy.