The Cayman Islands could have been the topic of major international news Friday if things hadn’t turned out as well as they did.
A snorkel boat carrying 54 people capsized at the sandbar. Luckily, everyone escaped the unfortunate event safely, although one person had to be taken to hospital
The passengers and crew aboard the Sun Runner were lucky.
And so were we.
If just one of those tourists had met death during that incident, the Cayman Islands and its diving industry would have been placed under a pretty ugly international microscope.
As it is, enough damage will be done when the folks involved in the incident return home and recount their tales of terror.
On the plus side, many of the visitors we talked to after the capsize said they thought the authorities in Cayman had handled the incident as best they could.
And we’re sure they did.
Unfortunately many of our guests lost personal items that are now littering the bottom of the sea.
That’s surely got to leave a long-lasting bad taste.
But this is certainly a rare incident.
Fortunately for our cruise ship guests, the crew aboard the Kirk Sea Tour scuba boats are all CPR trained and certified, as are most of the scuba crews in the Cayman Islands.
Kirk’s also equips all of its boats with life-saving equipment, as do most scuba boats.
The dive industry here does a pretty good job of self-regulation.
Because of this Friday incident, an investigation is under way.
Tourism Minister Charles Clifford has promised that authorities will find out the cause of the accident and that corrective measures will be identified and rigorously pursued.
There are many hands investigating the near-fatal incident – the Royal Cayman Islands Police maritime unit, the Port Authority and the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands.
If any of those agencies find areas of improvement that could prevent such an accident on any boat used to transport guests and residents, it is hoped that those findings will be made public and measures put in place to correct the problem
We repeat: the dive industry does a good job of regulating itself. But as more cruise ships sail into George Town and more people crowd onto the sandbar and accompanying reefs, it may be time to look at some form of government regulation.
Tourism is part of the bread and butter of the Cayman Islands.
We need to do all we can to make sure our visitors have a happy and safe experience while here.
We look forward to the findings of the investigating agencies and coming up with solutions to any problems that are uncovered.