Couple found safe after woman falls overboard

| 30/01/2011

(CNS): A man and woman who went missing off a pleasure boat earlier this evening have turned up safe and well in Snug Harbour and the search and rescue operation launched to look for them has been called off. The vessel had been travelling from Kaibo to Safe Haven but along the way it was discovered that the two people were missing. The police were called about 7:55pm tonight and the RCIPS Air Operations Unit and Joint Marine Unit vessel Typhoon (left) were immediately deployed to commence a search of the North Sound. Around 9.50 pm tonight police received a report that a man and a woman had called at a residence in the Snug Harbour area asking for assistance.

Tired and wet, they said that the woman had fallen overboard from the boat and her husband had jumped into the water to help her. When they realised that the boat was not turning around they both swam to shore.

Police and ambulance attended the location and confirmed that the couple were safe and well. They did not require any medical attention. The boat, and the remaining passengers, are on their way back to Safe Haven.

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  1. noname says:

    What would we do without all the armchair experts? I shudder to think.

  2. islandblues says:

    He acted on instinct, but it would have been better to at least notify the person sitting next to him that he was about to jump over and save his wife (or yell to the captain)….I wonder if everyone on that boat was simply half out of their minds plastered!

  3. Dale says:

     Could have and should have are irrelevant. Its so easy to comment when its not your loved one falling into the sea. If she had been knocked unconscious (which is quite possible from the height she fell) then she would have died no doubt. 


    Yes, i know its important to have a set of rules to follow but when the difference between life or death comes down to a split second decision you cant criticize him for his instinctive reaction. 

  4. Anon says:

    It may not be humanly possible for a boat captain to be aware of each passenger’s whereabouts each second they are on a boat. However the boat should really have a mate and responsible passengers should keep a watch for people that may fall over board. Accidents do happen at sea and this is a fairly common one. One person falling overboard un noticed is understandable, but two going over unseen,,, well we should really hear the story from the Captain and mates before we come to any more wrong conclusions.

    • Michel Lemay says:

      20:03 well put. before passing jugment we need more facts. Pleasure boat or water taxi. Mate( or 2nd person) in charge of passengers should always be made available if the latest. it’s dark out there at night. More info needed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    People are wrongly presuming there was not a safety talk. We are human beings not robots and all the safety talks in the world cannot change some things. I think until the people giving the opinions watch their wife fall off a boat into the dark (not knowing whether she had been knocked unconscious) they should hold a bit of a more open mind. As for the Captain- is he superhuman too, able to see every inch of his boat and each person at the same time? Or is he a perfectly capable captain who gave a safety talk, had life vests available and did regular head counts, acting quickly and informing the authorities. People want to apply their own opinions and scapegoats to this situation when they do not even know the whole story. Stop trying to put blame onto individuals, unfortunate accidents can happen.

    • MOB says:

      Agreed, agreed, agreed.  No reason to point blame without facts.  Accidents happen at the best of times, that is why we call them accidents.  

      This highlights a reminder for boat safety and I hope people will continue to respect the sea.  No more comments from me – happy and safe boating everyone.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think this is very easy to say when you are not yourself in the situation and are sat on the sofa on the internet. In realty, seeing your wife fall overboard and worrying she may have hit her head on the way down, instincts kick in and unfortunately common sense can go to pot. Anyone who has been in a similar scenario with a loved one would understand. I also think negative comments about the captain are unfair, it is humanly impossible to be completely aware of every passenger at every single second, if he was the one who noiticed that they were missing he was obvioulsy carrying out regular methodical checks as he was supposed too. As for people not noticing instantly, it is unlucky but not the hardest thing to imagine in the dark and with the noise of the engine, people only have to happen to be looking the other way for two seconds, and with a lot of people on a pleasure boat that is easily done. I don’ t understand why everyone has to try and blame individuals, the captain and the emergency services responded well and no one is hurt- that is all that matters.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I know of person who have gone out to sea, and end up in some sort of difficulty and the authorities, even after being called do not bother to come out to look for them. Why, I do not know. But in this instance, I am glad that they did not take 24 hours to get out there. Still can’t imagine how someone falls overboard and know one else on the boat knows?!

    • two people went overboard says:

       No, TWO people went over the side without someone noticing!

      As for the poster above who thinks alls well that ends well, I still think we need to promote caution and a basic 2 minute talk from the captain for every outing and knowing boat safety is the responsibility of passengers too.

       I’m sure the captain did not plan this (of course!) but every single time we go out on our 22ft power boat we insist children wear life jackets and we quickly go over man over board procedures with our friends.  (we also make it a light conversation by saying "hat" overboard procedures too.) We have successfully recovered quite a few overboard hats and our practice ends up being a fun team effort that would actually save a life if needed.


  8. Anonymous says:

    It’s hard to see a person in the water even in daylight once you’re more than a few meters away. If they’ve been knocked unconscious and can’t wave to the boat, and it’s dark, it would be even harder. I’d say jumping in or telling the captain would be a difficult split second choice. Since they were obviously close enough to shore to swim I’d say he did the right thing. All’s well that ends well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed, a very valid point that others do not seem to be considering.

    • MOB says:

       You are nuts! This is exactly why we need education and regulation. This husband and wife could have lost their lives (and orphaned any children)

      Please stay on the land and off my boat.

  9. captain nemo says:

    Glad the two people are safe because they could easily have run into trouble during their long swim in the dark. They were lucky they fell off near enough to shore that they had the strength to make it back. They were also lucky not to be run over by other boats.

    I have been a boater for over 30 years and cannot fathom how this happened. There is simply no excuse if the captain was operating with any level of care. The news outlets should publish the name of the captain and out them for their terminal stupidity. They should then:

    Prosecute him/her.

    Charge him/her for the cost of the search.

    The problem with boating in Cayman is that there is very little regulation. To my knowledge there is no dui legislation covering boats; just a broader ‘operating without due care’ reg with much less teeth. As evidenced by this idiocy, pleasure boats and their operators are not required to be licensed in Cayman (or if they are there is no enforcement). There is also no requirement for boat owners to carry insurance so if they do hurt anybody on the water odds are that the victim, or the Govt will end up paying for it.

    Why should boating be treated any differently than operating a car? You are handling a large, heavy piece of equipment and are responsible for the safety of others.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Imagine if the Premier had his channel in there already. Probably would never have seen these two again.

  11. Anon says:

    How could 2 people go overdoard on a boat coming from Kaibo to Safe Haven without another passenger or crew of the boat noticing this? Strange case! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the one person who did see her fall overboard jumped in after her instead of shouting “man overboard” and throwing easily visable objects over the side. God bless him, but every one who goes out in a boat needs to know some basics.

  12. Responsible Boaters? says:

     The boaters "discovered along the way?!"  The role of a captain is to keep an eye on his passengers!  I am soooo tired of hearing about morons who buy a boat and have no idea about safe boating rules.  This is so easily fixed and could even bring in revenue for our Government.


     Man over board procedures:  As serious sailors, we take this seriously!

    The C.I. government needs to start education classes on this and licensing of all water craft $25 per year to insure boats have lifejackets and fire extinguishers and without a proper tag, a $500 fine.  This would educate and regulate.  How our Cayman marine government employees have not done this simple public training or updated the markers in the North Sound with lights for night time navigation is beyond me and I would call for their dismissal!  What do they actually do besides collect a paycheck?

     Rule #1: If possible, stop or slow the boat. Never jump in the water to save a person, they will pull you down in their panic. 

     Rule # 2: One person on board POINTS at the person in the water and never takes their eyes off the victim.  No turning your head to speak to the skipper.  A quick distraction can lose sight of a victim under the waves.

     Rule # 3: A flotation device or many are thrown overboard. The reason is two-fold, one the floatation device, like a lifejacket for the victim to grab and floating items will help to mark the spot where the person fell overboard.  If a GPS is on board, there is a MOB (man overboard button) and it should be pressed to mark the location.

     Rule # 4: The vessel makes a wide turn back to the person and only approach from the side with a boat hook (heading straight on will run over the victim).


    Come on C.I. Government….this is a quick fix and our waters should be safe!  Host some safety classes at the civic centers and make boat licensing mandatory….**might even catch some drug runners when doing routine stops to look for license tags. 

    It’s Sunday so I’ll see all you boaters at Rum Point (be safe).




    • Anonymous says:

      You are assuming this was a private vessel and not one the many party boats running around the island.  Some of these are nothing more than a dance floor and a shot bar with no one paying much attention at all to the guests.  It’s an amazement to me that there are not guests lost at sea every weekend the way they are being run.

      • captain nemo says:

        Two reasons to assume it was a private boat. 1) the article references the term "pleasure boat". In boating circles that is a pretty universal term for privately owned boat. If it was a water taxi or booze crooze then it would hopefully have been described as such. 2) there are no commercial boats that run between Kaibo and snug harbor at night. If cns had more information I am sure they would have provided it. The police or whoever notified the press should have been clearer in their description. XXXXX

    • Anonymouse. says:

      The vessel was coming from the Kaibo, probably after the occupants had a meal and some drinks. There are no facts available but one can assume that some alcohol may have been consumed prior to the return trip to Safehaven.

      The husband did what in this case was right. he jumped overboard after his wife had fallen off the boat. He was there to help her and luckily they made it ashore safely.

      The question is why were the other occupants not aware that the couple had fallen off until they reached Safehaven.

      If you want to point fingers and lay down rules for the Government to Legislate then maybe you could get the facts of what really happened and then take it from there. To tell the Government that they should penalize ever Boat Owner because of this unfortunate incident make you appear to have a bias against Boat Owners.

      In case you dont own a Boat, You should really try to own one. They are a great way to relieve the stress of daily life.

      • Anonymous says:

        No. The husband did what was wrong in this case.

        The right thing to do is to alert the captain so he can circle back around and quickly pick up the victim. Do not create more potential victims by jumping in after the first person who goes overboard.

      • Anonymous says:

        I disagree in the strongest terms, you NEVER jump overboard to rescue someone in the water from a boat. If they were off shore and he did such irresponsible behavior both would have drowned.

        Common sense would tell anyone that you NEVER jump out of a boat in open water leaving it running, to argue anything else is foolishness.


        • Anonymous says:

          I think this is very easy to say when you are not yourself in the situation and are sat on the sofa on the internet. In realty, seeing your wife fall overboard and worrying she may have hit her head on the way down, instincts kick in and unfortunately common sense can go to pot. Anyone who has been in a similar scenario with a loved one would understand. I also think negative comments about the captain are unfair, it is humanly impossible to be completely aware of every passenger at every single second, if he was the one who noiticed that they were missing he was obvioulsy carrying out regular methodical checks as he was supposed too.

      • Responsible boat owner says:

         Dear 19:24,

        I am not biased against boat owners.  I own a sailboat and a power boat and would happily pay twice for my annual government sticker if I knew the funds were going for safety classes, better navigation marks on the sound, and to make people like you (who have clearly never attended a formal boat safety class) better educated.

        Responsible Boat Owner

        To say that the husband did the right thing by jumping in the water is just 100% WRONG.  He only risked his life as well.  It was foolish and potentially fatal!  Alerting the crew and following MOB rules is the ONLY answer.  

        If you are a boater like me, well done on your hobby choice and I hope you enjoy the waters.  You should also want better safety training for the public and regulating boats like all other sophisticated countries.  

        Would you want the next boat coming at you (at full speed) after having dinner at Kaibo or Rum Point to also have this training?  Think about it.

        CNS….can we get follow up facts?  Was it a personal boat or a water taxi?  How big was the craft?  How many people were on board? Did they group know each other?


    • Anonymouse. says:

      Oh??????. Your wife falls off a speeding Boat at night and you are just going to sit on the Boat and do nothing to help her.

      What a great husband you would make. I trust if you are a man and have a wife that you would let her know that if she falls off the Boat you wont be jumping in to help her.

      I dont care how much Boating Training you claim to have. Leaving a woman overboard in the North Sound at night while the boat speeds away is not the kind of training I would wish to have and I am positive that I have seen much more of the world from the water than you have..

      • MOB says:

         You have not seen more of the world on water than I have I assure you.  I am a certified Yacht Master with over 6,000 offshore miles of experience. What certifications do you have?  I’d like to know.  

        No, the man should NOT have jumped in.  He risked both their lives by doing that, period.  He just did not know better.

        Yes, he should have yelled MAN OVERBOARD and thrown flotation devices ad kept an eye on the victim.  The boat would have stopped, done correct MOB procedures and found the woman.

        Also, there were a great number of speed boats leaving The Taste of Cayman at the exact time time the couple fell overboard and were swimming in the dark in the North Sound.  Those boats were going at high speeds after clearing the channel and would NOT have been looking for people swimming!

        It is truly a blessing that both of these people did not drown or were hit by other Saturday night boaters coming from Camana Bay, Kaibo, Rum Point, or out in the Sound watching the fireworks.

  13. Right ya so says:


    • Boat safety says:

       How many lives need to be lost before we get our act together?  I recall that four souls (or was it five?) during a holiday Monday weekend last year when a family went out in rough seas and drowned.

      For an island based on a seafaring history, our forefathers would be ashamed of how we disrespect the sea now.  The Govt. needs to take swift, simple, and sound action.  



      • Anonymous says:

        What would you want the government to do?

        • MOB safe boats says:

           Easy:  Take one or two of the already well paid marine civil servants employees and have them offer free classes in public places.  Post the 1/2 hour overview boat safety talk announcement and times in the weekly community newspaper and on public notice boards.  Cost= FREE since we already have a well paid govt. staff that SHOULD be doing this!!!

          Give all boat owners (and jet skis- they are a menace on the water) a deadline of six months to have watercraft inspected for safety and tagged.  Thus creating a revenue stream that will also promote responsibility.

          We need a politician who will not bend to his buddies on this one.  "Hey boys, we need to implement safe boating practices and laws, get behind me on this one in the name of Cayman seafarers.)  Maybe even the Seafarers could host the talks…a good community idea.

          I am sure if the large yachts that will use the Premier’s channel will want to know we actually have laws and regulations in place for THEIR safety.  It would be the first step in the plan!



        • Not rocket science says:

           All the training materials already exist and are implemented in the UK, USA, Canada….shall I go on?

          Just take a look at some web sites.  Please C.I. Govt. step up and take on this task for an easy win.


  14. Glad to hear, but.... says:

    Wishing that headline had been about Anna.  Please keep searching the dump, she’s got to be there somewhere otherwise I am certain there would have been some cellphone activity and her handbag would not have been left at her work station.  Is there anywhere she could’ve fell through, rotted old materials… just please keep looking and don’t call off the search.