Applications open for access to new ship wreck

| 08/07/2010

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) is now accepting licensing applications for boat operators as well as individual residents who wish to dive and snorkel on Cayman’s newest artificial reef following the sinking later this month. The USS Kittiwake will be sunk in waters off the coast of West Bay on Tuesday, 27 July creating a new attraction for underwater fans. CITA will be managing the new dive site and all vessels going to the Kittiwake Marine Park must be licensed with the association. Individual medallions will be sold for divers at US$10 each and wristbands for snorkelers at US$5 each.

CITA, which has leased the ship, will maintain the wreck, implement procedures to promote safe practices and conduct monthly research to determine the benefits and effects of this artificial reef. All Commercial vessels are licensed at a cost of CI$150 per year for the company’s first boat and CI$75 for each additional boat. With every license issued, a slate/map of the Marine Park, two boat decals, three medallions and a briefing of the site are included.
Licenses are valid from July 2010–June 30, 2011. Individual licensing can also be completed at the CITA office. The annual cost for a personal boat is CI$40. This includes two annual snorkeler or diver medallions. Additional annual medallions can be purchased by residents for CI$25 per year. All proceeds will be collected by the CITA and utilized to sustain, maintain and promote the shipwreck.
All commercial applications must provide the following items to receive a license: be a paid member of CITA, provide the completed application and list of vessel names for licensing, provide proof of insurance and full payment of licensing fees.
With just a few weeks before the Kittiwake sinking events, CITA encourages any dive or snorkel operators to get their paperwork in to CITA as soon as possible to ensure receipt of their license at the earliest possible date.
Any vessel operator or individual that wishes to licenses their vessel(s) to visit the Kittiwake Marine Park can visit the CITA office at 1320 West Bay Road to pick up and complete the necessary forms or download them from For more information on licensing or on the former US Naval Submarine Rescue Ship and the events surrounding the sinking contact CITA 949.8522 or visit
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  1. Turtle's Head says:

    So I go diving there and don’t pay the fee.  So what?  Arrest me for swimming in the sea RCIPS and I will slap a false imprisonment and assault suit against you so quickly  . . .

  2. Helen Reid says:

    The sinking has been postponed to later in the year post hurricane season. this should make you all a little happier – you have a bit more time to log your complaints now/ take legal action against the excessive $5 and $10 charges  you are all so quick to moan about !!!

    i’m sure between you all you can lobby a campaign in this time and damage the tourism dollar that this venture would bring in!

    Actually, i would be impressed to see anyone get of their butts and log anwell researched intelligent counter attack.

    Good Luck

    • Anonymous says:

      Moot point really, as any locals that complain too much or wear a big frown wont be charged or prosecuted anyway.  Kind of like garbage fees, business licenses and probably 150 other double standard things that tax paying ex-pats don’t even know about. 

      …. next item of mass indignation please…..

  3. Anonymous says:

    Since no one has responded to the requests regarding the existence of ANY basis in law for this "exclusion zone" for Caymanians and others resident here, it is becoming very clear that there is no legal basis for keeping anyone from swimming anywhere they want within the territorial waters of the Cayman Islands.

    CITA members – by all means charge folks for taking them in your boats to the site. Don’t even attempt to charge people to swim in the sea. Trying to stop local people from swimming where they want to is going to create a world of problems that will not make the tourists happy.   

    Caymanians and other residents – If this "exclusion zone" with no legal basis is allowed, very soon there will be people putting up ice cream stands on the beach and telling us we can no longer walk the beach for free as it costs them money to maintain their ice cream stands. We have been allowing too many the rights that belong to the ordinary people to be taken away by special interests. I say NO MORE. 

  4. sea bird says:

    So far we have the Oro Verde, Doc Polson, Barge off Sunset House, a similar barge at12 mile banks and of coursethe Russian ship and the other little wreck on the Brac. All sunk as tourist attractions. Of course a few legitimate wrecks as well!

    We can dive these without restriction and no fee. Public moorings on all of these wrecks provided by DOE. (except for the 12mile bank wreck)

    Now to dive a single wreck we have to pay $10 PER DIVE! ($5 for snorkelers) This is not an annual fee but a per dive fee. Also we are limited to 45 mins or an hour on the site and have to be PADI (Put Another Dollar In!)  Wreck diver certified! $$$

    The amount of divers that will want to dive this wreck is going to be huge…. Let’s face it, there is very little left to see on our reefs! A typical boat will bring 10-20 divers (add a few crew members $$$ because this is going to be the "new" rule) and with 5-6 moorings earnings are going to be significant…..

    Snorkel boats with 30 -50 tourists…

    Who is going to profit from this? Will there be disclosure? Might it be that significant "managment" fees will be paid to a few in the system… let’s wait and see.

    I understand that this project has taken up significant time and money to get the wreck ready but when you start down this slippery slope where will it end?

    To have a few people profit from this will be a terrible disservice to the Cayman dive industry. Then again we should not be surprised, this is the way things are happening more and more all over these islands!




    • Seriously? says:

      Hmmmm 30-40 snorkellers and 10-20 divers (minimum) … on one site all at the same time … now doesn’t that just sound like fun.  I can’t wait.  Not!  I think i’ll stick to wall diving and leave the wreck to the tourists. 

      Initially, other than the wreck there won’t be anything to see anyway, its not like the marine life will immediately converge on the wreck and make it home overnight.  It will take time for that to happen, well, that’s if the lion fish don’t eat all the fish first.  I have a feeling it’s going to be another mini Bahamas – pay money to dive with … erm … lion fish.  The only difference being they can dive a wreck to make up for the lack of fish.

  5. Helen Reid says:

    There are alot of comments here that have been made without any research. The charges levied on boats, divers and snorkellers are so that the wreck, moorings etc can be kept safe and well maintained. and personally i think its a small price to pay!

    In terms of ‘polluting these waters’ the ship has to be stripped of anything that could cause any damage or harm to the reef, water, sea life or visitors. It also has to be made safe for divers to be able to penetrate without getting caught and stuck.  the ship is also to be sunk on the sand not reef and will create a artificial reef that will encourage marine species to thrive.

    this will be extremely beneficial for Cayman and Tourism and anyone who knows the people behind this plan over the last few years know how extremely well thought out, safe and green this venture is.

    As i diver myself i cannot wait but i  am willing to bet those those nay sayers will be all too happy to stand on WB public beach and watch the sinking in awe!

    Well done to CITA, Nancy Easterbrook and the other sponsors for their hard work in making this come to fruition.

    too all those in doubt please check out this link

    • 10 generation Caymanian says:

       How do you keep the wreck safe? Moorings Maintenance Cost = $500 per year.  What is etc and the costs involved?

      Something does not add up here XXX! You are going to have major problems implementing any fees to local Caymanians.

      I think you have answered the question in regards to who gets the money = CITA.

      Can I bring in a boat and sink it and then charge people?

    • Pending says:

      And when the first decent nor’wester / hurricane comes through will it end up on public beach? Or through condos along SMB?

      • anon says:

        errr no – if you read the website and research a bit you will quite clearly see that storm anchoring will be put in place.

        i suggest before people comment they actually do some research.

        please don’t comment unless you know what the @#*" you are talking about.

        • Pending says:

          Clearly, you have no idea, or have never been through a hurricane XXXX. Mother nature doesn’t take "storm anchors" into account.

  6. 10 generation Caymanian says:

    CITA better have their lawyers ready.  I will not be paying the fee and I’ll be damned if anyone is going to tell me to pay a fee to swim within the territorial waters of the Cayman Islands.

    Let’s have everyone meet at the site on Saturday, July 31st to protest this ridiculous decision. Bring your friends and family and let’s show them that we still own Cayman.

    I am assuming that the money will be going to CITA and not to any environmental fund! CITA members benefit financially from paying passengers – they should absorb the costs.  Isn’t CITA a non-profit organization?

    My lawyers are ready – see you there on Sat.

    seawater running through my veins Caymanian.

  7. Lacklustre says:

    I don’t the allure of purposefully sinking a ship and wowing people into diving under the sea to look at it.  I mean, there it is…I can see it in the picture so now why do I need to go snorkeling (for a fee no less!) to see it.

    I mean a ship that has sunk on its own is something, but…I dunno I just don’t get it.  Oh well, back to work!

  8. My2cents says:

     I guess everyone here wants something for nothing.

    Never mind the costs involved in getting the old girl cleaned up and made safe, not to mention getting her down here and sinking her….everyone wants the benefit, but no one wants to help out with the costs. 


  9. Kerry Horek says:

    I do not support the sinking of this Ship in our beautiful waters.  This sinking should be reconsidered and stopped.

    There are other ways and means to attract tourism and certainly not by contaminating our beautiful waters with a soon to be rust bucket of a relic sitting just off our shores.

    It is the most ridiculous thing ever!!

    My people please do not support this and voice your non support publicly.

    Kerry Horek
    ‘Keep my Island Clean & Green’

    • Durrrr says:

      More emotional nonsense. It will be fully cleaned before it is sunk, so there will not be any contamination. I suggest you read Guy Harvey’s article in this month’s What’s Hot.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can the CITA please let me know the Law that covers this area. I would also like to know the Section and Revision date please,who is going to enforce it and what powers they will have.

    This is one of the most stupid things I have heard of. We are trying to make this Island an affordable destination, yet all we do is up the price of everything.

  11. Abandon ship! (Formerly Sir Henry Morgan) says:

    The Lion Fish are going to love it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    So i now have to pay to swim in the ocean……………  Next they’ll be telling me how much air I can breathe per day before I pay a charge.  There is something really wrong with this.  Yes, by all means boats should be licensed to prevent over-crowding etc. but individuals?

    • Anonymous says:

      Addmission is for Kittiwake visitors only.  The cost to bring the attraction was substantial and paid in large part privately, so I have no problem with the nominal fee.

    • Pending says:


      First, is it going to be in a depth of water that snorkellers will be able to see and enjoy? i.e. 25 – 40ft max? If not then who is going to pay money to look at a ship which is the size of their finger?

      How far off the shore is it going to be? If it is close to the shoreline, are they going to have a toll booth?

      How are they going to enforce people paying, are they going to waste money by paying someone to patrol the area?

      Have they thought about the lionfish issue? This ship is going to be a giant magnet for these things, so are the going to allow tourists / anyone out there for risk of getting stung?

      As a certified lionfish exterminator, will I have to pay $5 everytime I go there to help get rid of these menaces? As we have have been asked by the DOE to help them in their efforts to control / eradicate these fishes from our waters. All lionfish hunters should be given these wristbands free of charge.

      Where in the law does itsay that they can enforce this type of measure?  Can soemone please point out a clause for us all?


  13. Anonymous says:

    I might have missed something, but is there any legal basis for the restrictions they are proposing? That may be a silly quesiton with all of the other lawless activities going on but still, I have been swimming in these waters since before Mac discovered swimming trunks and I do not like edicts with no basis in law.

    Which law provides them the exclusive right to sell licenses for people to swim/dive in the water off West Bay, and more specifically, which law is it that says that I must buy a license from themto swim off West Bay anywhere I like. Do we now have regulations that say where we the people of this country can look at the sea bottom and where we can’t?

    I have no problem with CITA members selling tickets to take people out to the wreck, just don’t tell me where I can swim. It is one of the few things that I can still afford.


    • Cicero says:

      Next thing will be tickets for Stingray City and Eden Rock. Can Government gone mad?

      What happened to the bar at Stringray City and can we please have one at the new wreck?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes; WHICH LAW?  And what happens if we just learn to  say no "in the land of Ya?" 

      • Anonymous says:

        You lose your job. Keep cool, ride the waves, dont sweat the small stuff, its only 50cents a week to visit a dive site

    • Anonymous says:

      My thoughts exactly. First it was "get off my beach" (remember the visitors from the UK actually arrested for their lawful use of the beach infront of one prominent hotel), and now it is purportedly going to "get out of my water". Good luck with that one!