Stingray City restaurant boat arrives in Cayman

| 14/07/2010

(CNS): Although local businessman Bernie Bush met with considerable opposition to his project to take a licensed restaurant boat to the Sand Bar, his vessel has now arrived in the Cayman Islands and will be opening later this month. The first of its kind, Bush says the floating restaurant surpasses all government requirements for safety and operation and says it will be environmentally friendly. Bush told News27 yesterday that the special attraction is not at risk from his restaurant boat. With over 16 garbage cans on board, no capability to dump at sea, and using only eco-friendly cleaning products, Bush says his boat will not leave anything behind.

He also explained that it is jet driven so it won’t damage the sea bedand the boat is too big to get too close to the Sand Bar itself.
Following demonstrations in George Town last year against the project, Bush spoke with CNS and defended the floating licensed restaurant and explained his boat will be providing high quality, tapas-like dishes of local food prepared by local chefs to give visitors a real taste of Cayman.
He said that the alcohol license was secondary to the food and that even if that had been turned down he would still have gone ahead with what he says is a restaurant, not a bar.
“The one thing that the critics have missed is that this is a restaurant and I want to showcase Cayman food to people and give them a chance to try things they ordinarily wouldn’t do. People get hungry too when they are out on the water and there is nowhere for people to get food while they visit but yet everyone is already drinking out there,” Bush added.
He said that though at least four of the tour operators have licensed boats that are serving alcohol, none of them are offering food and he said that his initiative would tap into that market. He said that from the very beginning he wanted to make sure that the restaurant would not have a detrimental environmental impact on the area and everything he will be using, from plates to cutlery, will be bio-degradable and drinks will be served in souvenir cups.
Acknowledging that it is a Wildlife Interaction Zone that has special protection, Bush said he could understand why some people would like to see alcohol banned from the area altogether. But as so many boats already have licences and with people taking their own drinks on private boats out there, especially at weekends, he said what he proposed to do was at least offer food into that mix.
“I hope to further the experience of those coming to Cayman and give them a taste of some of our best local dishes. At the moment we already have the booze out there; what we don’t have is food,” he added.
Bush also has cameras on board the boat to be able to monitor every side and angle to ensure that visitors abide by the rules and keep everything on the boat. Bush said he will be going to every length to prevent people littering and to ensure the restaurant offers a positive experience.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is great news – the "boat" must have cost a few bucks, maybe a couple of mil?  What’s the duty on boats these days, 30%?  So assuming it is worth $2M, govt. is looking at $600,000 in duty.  Not bad… CNS, is there any way we can find out how much duty was paid???

  2. Anonymous says:

    You know I believe that you guys actually believe that all of the Caymanian owned companies are fully funded by Caymanians. Gee would that surprised if that was not true.

    Congrats Bernie. I do have concerns such as garbage and anchoring of such a large ship in that area.

  3. Anonymous says:


    A 115ft long vessel with a 40ft beam at Stingray City, you have to be joking. Does anyone realize what it takes to safely anchor a 115ft long yacht at the sand bar with a 10-25knt breeze.

    This is obviously a business front by Bernie Bush for probably a wealthy foreign business man because where in the world would Bernie Bush secure the necessary financial support to either buy or charter a 115ft x 40ft commercial vessel configured as a full service restaraunt and bar. 

    Cost of this vessel would be in the US$5m-US$10m range and the daily charter hire and operational running costs with 8 employees etc etc would be into the many thousands of dollars each day. XXXXX

    It is sure going to be interesting to see this commercial monster floating at the Sand Bar. CHANGE is what we were promised and CHANGE is what we are getting.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I hope you guys are aware that sharks has been seen hoovering around the sand bar off in the deeper end, waiting patiently for a stray sting ray? I hope some poor drunken soul don’t wander out there and get bitten by them as this will be disastrous for our tourism product.

  5. Anonymous says:

     Stingray City (Sandbar) is not a natural environment, despite what many may think.  When we first began feeding rays at the former main cut near to Vidal Key in 1986 for dive tourists, we changed that environment from a natural one to a commercial one.  It was a tremendous boon for dive operators, most of whom never had a boat in the Sound, or on the North side.  When the Editor of Skin Diver Magazine coined the phrase "Stingray City" it gave Cayman’s dive businesses, and our tourism economy a nice boost.  Before too long, someone came up with the idea to start feeding the rays near to Sand Bar and that created a tourism product for the cruise shippers, most of whom don’t dive, and many don’t swim.  From that day Sand Bar ceased to be a natural environment.  Caymanians have traditionally turned to the sea for their livelihood, and the bar/restaurant for Sand Bar is no different.

    The Southern Stingray, a non-pelagic Ray, the species that mainly interacts with the tourists, has become operantly conditioned to the feeding situation is my guess, and that is now the "natural" environment for them, if you want to call it natural.  I can’t see how a floating bar/restaurant out there is going to matter….one way or the other

  6. Anonymous says:

    For Bernie’s sake, I hope it does better here than it did in Miami.

    Seems like it went out of business quite quickly.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone asked Bernie if this boat is, indeed, going to be a Stingray City Restaurant and Bar. Seems to me that the boat can be used for many, many types of events: weddings, special birthday celebrations, incentive group events etc. etc. and that it can, in fact, go to many, many places. It could be a Cruise around GrandCayman, it could cruise the West Side at Sunset, it could cruise the North Sound and NEVER go to Stingray City. Are we sure that we are not simply taking an old idea/name and applying it to a new product, just because the businessman behind it is the same?

  8. Anonymous says:

    people drink out their every day of the week so the idea of a well run floating bar is quite original and could become a top attraction…..

    however please drop the ‘taste of cayman’ angle…… thats nothing but a sham….

    • Voice of Reason says:

       One word – eyesore.

      That’s an expensive boat – which must have cost a lot of money…..  it’s going to look fantastic out there……. a real addition to the scenery….. what we need now is neon lights and lots of placards.

      Dare anyone say Pandora’s Box?

      Lord! What next? Can we have strippers and gambling out there?

      The shame. The shame. The shame.

  9. Charlene Rivers says:

    Good luck with this business Bernie. But remember, you have alot of  Bosun Bay seafaring  boys that are without work., you know them. Dress them up in uniform and make them look good. They will for work for you instead of expats. Keep them from idling on the streets. Chalo.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Nice one can’t wait to go to the natural phenomenon that is stingray city and watch the more drunk than usual tourists fist fight over who holds the biggest stingray as a stingray hat.

    To be honest most of the protestors were rival boat operators who didn’t want their own liquor sales to decrease on the trip there and back, as with everything in Cayman, it is about the money. Nobody gives a flying feck about the fact that it was a great opportunity for man and nature to come as one in a natural environment etc, but now it is an opportunity for man to drink and mishandle stingrays.

    Just wait for some drunken tourist to stand on a ‘stinger’ and sue the ass off the bar owners for getting them intoxicated!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Cheers Burnie good luck and we will see you out there.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Mr Bush is clearly the front man for someone with deep pockets.

    Those comments here that seem to believe that the detractors are against this Caymanian are mistaken.

    Having attended the protest at Hero’s Square the protest is against commercial ventures such as this around Stingray City.

    It was clever for Mr Bush to shift the argument from protecting the crown jewel of the marine tourist attractions to keeping a Caymanian from making a living.


  13. John Evans says:

    Best of luck Bernie, all you need now are customers.

  14. Classy Kev says:

    Seriously, the very mention of the words "souvenir cups" makes me shudder.  How ghastly and tacky.  But then it does reflect on the class of tourist we are pandering to in Cayman.

  15. Bow Line says:

    Way to go Bernie,show them thee Caymanian entrepreneur is alive & well,most of yur critics i’m sure were foriegn,who want to keep their interest zealously protected.Hopefully the price of turtle meat can come down & show this energetic man some encouragement,he may be alot of things but he’s in touch with his culture.Steady as yu go,goodluck.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is an expensive Boat. Wonder if Bernie would give some insight into who financed it. Gosh, the duty alone on this craft must be able to keep the civil service happy for a long time.

    It would be interesting to see some facts before I will support this venture.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Bernie come clean and tell the people if you are connected with McKeeva or who?. You were out of work and I am wondering where your funding is coming from? BB are you still using your cause for children to achieve? and lastly, How many Caymanian will you employ? Hope you feel good about what you are doing. I once respected you, but now I am very disappointed in you.

    • Anon says:

      But you nah easy!! Wha you worrying bout where the man’s money is coming from? Dah nah none of your business! Dats deh problem with some of you people on this island now. Unna like mind people’s business too much instead of attending to your own. Leave the man alone and let him operate his boat and don’t even mention Mackeeva. Because of the stress we are experiencing as a result of some of his foolishness, a cruise on Bernie’s boat might be just what we need! Best of luck to BB. I coming drink one lil rum and coke with ya soon.

    • anonymous says:


      You have no right to question or scrutinize Mr. Bernie Bush a Citizen of the Cayman Islands. What the hell does he have to come clean about? He as a Caymanian has a right to conduct whatever type of business he feels suits his purpose as long as he is in keeping with the law. I’m he has a family to feed the same as you do? So who are you to obstruct, question or hold hostage his ambitious efforts? You’re probably not even Caymanian, if you are you should at least print your name this is really sickening!

      It really disgusts me when ignorant people disrespect Caymanians and detest the success and progress of one of our very own. What the hell does a Caymanian starting a unique business have to do with McKeeva Bush!

      I’m an Independent by the way, but such expression of ignorance makes me sick to the core.

      Bernie I congratulate you for your creativeness and unique taste of choice in this high class venue you have chosen to serve the people and our tourists alike. You truly are a man of class!

    • Anonymous says:

      Frankly, I think what has further disgusted and infuriated many people regarding the “Aqua” is the sheer, unmitigated act of deception this venture has been founded upon. If I may try to communicate what the general public knows about this venture.

      i)                    Capital; where did it come from? – According to many on the paved street (not the marl road) Mr. Bush was claiming to be on the verge of Bankruptcy having lost almost everything in his bakery business due to poor management. This can be also be corroborated by perusing the archives of several media houses as well. Therefore if Mr. Bernie Bush is indeed the sole entrepreneur in this venture how did he obtain the funds considering his lackluster economic situation?
      Fronting by any means pursuant to Law is illegal. Consequently considering all of Mr. Bush’s communications and or articulations it is more than reasonable to assert that this venture is close to if not in excess of a million dollar investment. I wonder if he ever had to provide a declaration of source of funds to any Authority regarding this rather significant venture?????
      ii)                   The Liquor License – How was he able to acquire a Liquor License so quickly, quietly and at what cost if he was broke? We are all aware that there is and has been a moratorium on Liquor Licenses for several years. Was this an existing Liquor License? one has to inquire from which establishment and from which Holder it was transfer from?
      Under the Liquor Licensing Law the Chairman should consult those affected by said license prior to it being approved a transfer request. In that case the entire Cayman Islands should have been given the right to contest this transfer application as the North Sound is in essence affects every living sole on these shores.
      By all accounts and pursuant to the Liquor Licensing Law this transfer application in favor of Mr. Bernie Bush was approved in extremely odd and suspicious circumstances to say the least. No one knew of this transfer until after the fact and the act was done. It unfortunately appears that this is the modus operandi of the current Government and their supporters. It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.
      iii)                 The sheer size of this Vessel – Mr. Bush in several media reports communicated that this “boat” will be a small barge type with swim-up capability and so forth. Anyone including a visually impaired individual can determine that this vessel is by no means a small boat!
      iv)                 Jet propulsion – these types of drives especially in such vessel create tremendous amount of thrust that can in fact cause more harm than the conventional propeller drive. Considering its massive amount of thrust it will cause more and more silt to be circulated about the North Sound resulting in choking of areas not previously affected.
      In closing, many of the supporters of Mr. Bernie Bush have lost their trust for him and have been pondering what if he did get elected? Nevertheless, we now know that Mr. Bernie Bush is UDP according to McKeeva. In McKeeva’s own words on a radio program regarding Boards soon after the last elections, “all persons sitting on dem dere boards should just resign and let the new government place their supporters in these positions as deh see fit and can trust to carry out their agenda”.
      FYI -Mr. Bernie Bush is the Asst. Chairman of the Pirates Week Committee. Things dat make ya go uhmmmmm! No wonder there is a growng divide between the generational Caymanian and new Caymanian. No one likes nepotism and two faced behavior and it is clear that this is the order of the day!
      May God continue to hold these isles in hands for the benefit of our kids and grandkids because at this rate the future is dismal for them.
      • Anonymous says:

        Well stated. Nepotism etc, is insidious all over the world.Cayman Islands included.

    • Anonymous says:

      The article states: "Bernie Bush says his boat….."!!! "His" boat? Yea, right!

      • Anonymous says:

        You may say "your house" but it may really be the bank’s…

        Same for Bernie saying "my boat".

        If you don’t have a real contribution to make here then please keep your comments to yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      You ask Bernie a number of questions – soooo obviously you dont know the answer to these questions since you are asking – I dont see a response from Bernie – in fact before you give him a chance to respond you go on to say " I once respected you but now I am very disappointed in you". Wow a man cant even try and make an honest living in this country anymore without being accused and criticised of wrong doing. Soldier crab!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      How rude of you to question where this man funding is coming from?

  18. Anonymous says:

    The best news of all is that with a boat like that BB can’t claim Caymanians are disadvantaged. Best of luck with the business. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder if he will have the same problems I had of Caymanians not showing up on time and not showing up 5 days a week. Bet you he ends up with Filipinos. I have a couple of Caymanians-great workers – and four Jamaicans – also great.Had to give up on the 4 Caymanians I had as they were totally useless and unreliable and nasty and aggressive with it too when spoken to.

      And by the way, I am Caymanian born and bred. Best of luck Bernie.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Bernie, I’m sure this would be a big success with locals and visitors. All the protesters, eat crow.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Bernie this sames to been a good idea, can’t wait to join you out there

  21. Anonymous says:

    First of all let me start by saying cograts Mr. Bernie Hopefully you will give Caymanians some work. But my question to you is who are you link up with becasue everyone knows you didnt do this alone. 

    • Anonymous says:

      And is that anybodys businesses but Bernies. Do you or any of us know the shareholders/partners of all successful businesses in the Cayman Islands – I dont think so – Just be proud of the man and wish him success in his business and stop fassing in what dont concern you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I dont really think its anyones damn business who he is linked up with. 

  22. Durrrr says:

    I hope all of the prostesters feel as stupid as they look!

  23. Twyla Vargas says:

    Knowing Bernie, I am sure he will do all the right things to make this work.I am happy, good luck.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Bernie – do some sunset dinner cruises too, or nice evening runs out into the sound with appetizers and a cash bar. The project was bound to be criticised when it was put into a box by everyone saying it would be a floating bar at Stingray City but I see great potential for this investment to provide new entertainment in many different areas. I would certainly recommend an evening boat ride through the sound with local "tapas" and drinks to visitors!

  25. Anonymous says:

     I think this is a wonderful idea Mr B’ . I wish you all the best. To all those haters out there stop hating and go and find something to do with your time. I feel that as a Caymanian we need to support our own , if we don’t who will.

  26. GR says:

     The statement "it is jet driven so it won’t damage the sea bed" is misleading.  While the propellers are encased and they won’t damage the sea bed, the jets still produce a wash which will disturb seabed if the boat is in shallow water.  Remember that the seabed around Stingray City is sand so any disturbance will cause a sand plume.  Skippers of jet-driven boats also have a tendency to take the boat into shallower water as there isn’t the risk of the propellers hitting or being damaged by the seabed.

    • anonymous says:

      The boat’s mechanical functions are the same as any other boat, and will or will not do damage to our ecology the same as all other boats and ships coming to the Cayman Islands.

      Leave Bernie alone