Survey boat charting new waters

The Cayman Islands will soon have new and updated maps of the seabed that surrounds these islands now that the Lands and Survey Department has its own boat for the first time.

Aliceann Kirchman

Aliceann Kirchman unveils the survey boat named in her honour. Photo: Submitted

On Thursday at the South Sound dock, the department launched the 28-foot hydrographic survey boat that will be used to conduct the survey.

This initiative, commissioned by the government through Lands and Survey, will be one of only a few in the whole Caribbean, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said at the launch ceremony.

The boat, christened Aliceann by Lands and Survey staff, was named after long serving employee Aliceann Kirchman who has been with the department for the past 34 years.

The first-of-its-kind project funded by the Portfolio of Internal and External affairs will provide generated data to be used to develop several products including a hazard-loss model for hurricanes and new nautical charts for boaters.

‘In some ways, the provision of new charts is a side benefit of this project, which is the first hydrographic survey of Cayman’s waters in 30 years,’ said Mr. Tibbetts.

‘The main purpose of this exercise is to collect data for inclusion in a new storm-modeling exercise commissioned by the Government.

‘Under the direction of the Deputy Chief Secretary and Chairman of the National Hurricane Committee Mr. Donnie Ebanks, it is intended to have this model completed by the summer of 2006.

‘This model will be a real time hazard prediction model and will enable us to monitor the likely effects on these islands as a hurricane approaches.’

The whole exercise came under the Cayman Islands Strategy for Risk Management, being undertaken by the National Hurricane Committee in conjunction with the U.N.D.P.

‘Hazard prediction is an absolutely vital tool in protecting the people and property of this country,’ said Mr. Tibbetts. ‘But this tool will only be available after all the relevant data has been collected, analyzed and processed.

‘That is why the hydro survey project and the launching of this vessel are so important.

Aliceann was lowered into the water and, ‘captained’ by Mr. Tibbetts, she took to the high seas with Registrar of Land, Aliceann Kirchaman, and the survey team on its maiden voyage.

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