Boat struck reef, 7 on board

| 05/12/2010

(CNS): Update 12:18pm – Four adults and three children are safe, the RCIPS has reported, following a search and rescue operation Saturday night, 4 December. The adults, aged 59, 42, 39 and 25, a 12-year old child and two children aged 10 were on board a 28-foot boat that struck the South Sound reef. Police received a report of the incident at around 7:25pm after one person on board the distressed vessel called 911 to alert emergency services and a joint operation involving the RCIPS Air Operations Unit and the Joint Marine Unit was launched. All seven occupants were taken on board the Marine Unit vessel Typhoon and transported to the South Sound dock where they were met by family members and medics.

Police said that they all appeared to be in good health but were checked by paramedics as a precautionary measure.

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  1. Rodger the Cabin Boy says:

    The sea is at its most dangerous where it meets the land.

    If it is true that the outer channel markers were out then the fault for this accident lays squarely on the Port Authority whose duty it is to maintain the channel markers.

    A mariner leaving in daylight ought to be able to rely on the returning markers being operational.

    The South Sound channel is particularly tricky, even in daylight. It’s narrow, short and doesn’t run perpendicular to the reef line, so a Mariner would be guided directly on to the reef if only the inner markers were lit and he thought they were the outers.

    Whilst licensing of Mariners is a good idea I would shiver to think that it might be conducted by the current Port Authority regime.

    BTW. the Morgan’s Harbour outer green is out too. Get a grip PA!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Channel Marker Lights not always maintained. I have been outside the reef at night coming through Rum Point channel and no lights working marking the channel at all. Same with other channels. Most marine park bouys have been run over rounding duck point heading towards the channel. Markers and bouy system do not appear to be well maintained on a regular basis. Of course it doesn’t help when people run over the bouys

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have to say that I think some of the responsibilty should also been on whoever is responsible for marking and lighting up some of these channels. I have seen some channels with markers that don’t light up, have drifted away from their original spot or are not even there, so before you all jump the gun and blame the drivers of the boat with what limited information we are given, why not just be glad that the passengers are safe.

    Well done to those who rescued these people and I am glad that they have all made it safely back to land.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank God for the Helicopter!  Hopefully the naysayers who complained so much about it can now see the advantages.  Sometimes people just criticize for the sake of it without thinking things through.

  5. Adam Smith says:

    Mandatory licensing and insurance to cover the costs of these types of call outs would reduce the costs to the public of this type of behaviour.

    • Frank says:

      The public shouldn’t have to pay licencing and insurance to cover these costs all at. I do agree however that people should have to pass some kind of test to operate watercraft. This was a clear accident. In saying that we cover some of this in duty im sure. Also even though i must commend the marine unit for rescuing these people (Good job) I also see these boats do spend alot of wasted time on the water most of which probably cost more that this one small trip to South Sound.  

      • KNOWLEDGE says:

        Frank, why the public should not have topay licence on insurance on their boats?   Why do you pay on Cars, bus and trucks?  So that if you get in an accident and kills someone, right off your car or their car Insurance pays.

        If you  kills someone on the water, hits their boat and destroy it.  Who pays? 

        Hit someone on the water or mash up their boat and see what really  happens if you do not have money in your pocket to pay Lawyers for a law suit .

        • Anonymous says:

          Insurance may well cover the cost if you were to kill somebody or hit somebodies boat while out on the water (which has nothing to do with the this story anyway) however government charging for the use of their services is not something insurance companies or the public for that matter should be paying for. 

        • Frank says:

          My statement actually read "Licensing and insurance for these costs" I don’t remember reading anywhere that they hit somebodies boat and killed them  in the above text. I was referring to the Marine Unit call out. Why would we pay to use a government resource that we are already paying for in the first place?

      • Anonymous says:

        You obviously do not recognize the real cause of the problem, the road way on the sea (a very narrow channel) was missing its guiding lights, the channel lights. 

        The real problem was caused because the Port Authority failed to maintain the channel lights ….again.

        Many, many boating acting occur in channels at night all because of channel lights being out.

        Police boats have also many times run up on the reef at channels because the channel lights were not working.

        Stop blaming the boaters, the accidents are caused by a Port Authority not fixing the channel lights.

        We hope that you now understand where the real blame lies.


    • Anonymous says:

      What do you mean by ‘this type of behaviour’?

      • The Original Anon says:

        The reef didn’t just come out of nowhere, idiot.  It wasn’t the reef’s fault.

        • Anonymous says:

          Do you need to be so rude?  You still answer my question.

        • Anonymous says:


          Original Anon, as a maritime island it is a national disgrace that our Port Authority fails to fulfill their responsibility for maintaining the lighted channels. As any one time no more than 20% of the lighted channel markers are working. Many vessels crash on the reef at night and lives have been lost because of channel lights not working – and this every police boat has been damaged all because of channel lights not working. Right now two of their boats are under repair because of rock damage in channel areas where light was not working.
          So Original Anon please examine the matter thoroughly and now demand that the Port Authority do what they are supposed to do – maintain the channel lights.
          Thank you
          • Anonymous says:

            Please talk facts and not speculation…the 2 Police vessels were not damaged in the manner you say because one is out for a referb and the other a factory defect with an engine so please get your facts right. The channels I agree should/must be properly maintained as it is a serious detriment to the safety of Mariners entering and exiting the reef.

          • The Original Anon says:

            Well stated.  And kudos to the captain for coming forward and confirming same.

        • Anonymous says:

          Any more idiotic comments to make now?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Reminder again that we are totally reliant on the RCIPS for marine safety, search and rescue – something that we should thank them for when at other times we are very quick to criticize.  I am sure the boat owners will have some thoughts over what went wrong and lessons to learn, but bet they were glad to see the boats and helicopter last night

  7. Michel Lemay says:

    It was a happy ending. Someone had a cell thank God. Power failure ? Engine failure ? One thing is for certain it’s a very different reef and coast line when it turns dark out there. I find it not such a good idea to take kids out at night. In the North Sound definetly better then on the South Side. yes I agree that a small boat handling course with a small registration fee for all boat with an engine should be encouraged. That would help defray the cost of search and rescue and a boat check by the owner everytime you go out. Owning a boat does not make you a captain. And many new comers to the island very often do not know the waters well enogh and an accident can happen to anyone.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to the Marine Police and Helicopter another mishap has a good ending.I have to agree with 9.47 that more training should be done for people who operate boats.I have seen so many boats going out either over loaded with people or w/out the proper safety equipment on board and in fact I make a point of asking the fishermen I see if they have at least got their cell phones.We that operate boats on a regular basis for a living have to meet the safety standards as laid out by the Port Authority and the same should hold true for other part time boat operators.The weather has a way of popping up very suddenly so one should always check as best you can the forecast.If any doubt DO NOT VENTURE OUT.Better to disappoint your kids than to have a serious accident

    • SEAMAN says:

      I must congradulate the Marine Officers for a job well done.  The Marine officers has always been doing an excellent job, and they waste no time to getting to the scene.  That is one area of the police that is sure working for their pay.  The government needs to keep them well equiped and well looked after.. Thanks Marine Officers for jobs well done.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is a clear example of why we need to have some sort of licensing system for boats and those who operate them and to operate them safely and for them to know the basic navigation rules on how enter a marked channel at night., This situation could have had a very tragic ending if it were not for our hero’s in the RCIPS Air&marine patrol unit who finally got to use their expensive boats.

    • Anonymous says:

      "…know the basic navigation rules on how enter a marked channel at night"

      Now you know the problem.  The channel was NOT marked,only the inner lights were working, none of the outer lights were working and that is what caused the accident.

      Now who is to blame, the Port Authority, they are responsible for marine navigation aids, including lights.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why is everything so anonymous here?

    Instead of an accident with a happy ending to keep the secrecy one wonders what is going on.

    Who are the people, do I know them, was it a private or charter boat?

    • Anonymous says:

      you could start by being not so anonymous yourself

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is it anyone’s business who they were, as long as they are safe. I am sure they are grateful to the RCIP for rescuing them. They didn’t commit a crime so there is no need for anyone  to know who they are unless they want them to know.

  11. Kmanite says:

    Are people passed on some of the cost for rescue services in Cayman? If not, they certainly should be. Not picking on these people in particular but the story got me wondering.

    As I recall, CUC passed on a cost for drivers who damage/ destroy poles in car accidents. However, search and rescue operations, ambulance and paramedic services – are these passed on also?