Jet skiers, boaters on notice

A jet ski rider got quite a surprise Sunday when he was first to be pulled over in Operation Safe Sound.

The operation was a joint effort between police and the marine units of the Department of Environment and Customs.

Operation Safe Sound

Members of the Drugs Task Force of the Royal Cayman Islands Police, right, make a turn during Operation Safe Sound to stop the speeding jet skier, at far left. Watching and waiting to assist is Department of Environments Marine Patrol Enforcement Officer Carl Edwards, foreground.

The media event Sunday morning at Kaibo Yacht Club was held to bring awareness to ski jet operators acting illegally by driving too fast in Environmental Zones and too close to beaches.

After a brief chat with members of the media, the enforcers took to their boats. Two others involved in the operation drove jet skis to simulate the bad practices of some jet skiers.

But as the operation was about to get under way, a jet skier not involved in the operation caused the drivers of the Typhoon Rib from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s Drugs Task Force to abandon the exercise, turn around and deal with him because he was speeding through Kaibo’s Environmental Zone.

The operation took place at Kaibo because it and Rum Point are where most offences have occurred; usually on Sundays.

‘We do have a particular problem on Sundays,’ said coordinator Andy Hope of the Department of Environment’s Marine Enforcement Unit. ‘We’ve noticed a numbers increase. There is a large volume of jet skis that are getting too close to the beaches. It’s either ignorance or disregard.’

There have been injuries related to jet skis in the water off Seven Mile Beach and enforcers are trying to prevent accidents at Kaibo and Rum Point.

‘No one has been injured up here, but there have been a few near misses,’ Mr. Hope said.

During the operation people breaking the law, causing danger or nuisance were stopped and the captains and crews dealt with appropriately, with some getting citations. North Side Beat Officer Richard Hannah remained on shore to deal with any offenders that escaped the three vessels in the operation.

He also handed out Marine Conservation flyers to those gathered at the public beach getting ready for Easter camping.

Those involved in the operation were also making sure that everyone on boats was properly using life vests.

‘We’re not trying to stop them from having fun. We just want everyone to have fun safely,’ Mr. Hope said.

The operation was held a week before Easter because of the long upcoming holiday.

Friday and Monday are public holidays, making it a long weekend.

Caymanian families typically camp along the seashore during Easter weekend, which is also a favoured time for boating and jet skiing activities.

It’s going to be a busy weekend and one that offers the perfect recipe for danger in the water.

‘It’s going to take a situation like Friday to get everyone’s attention,’ said DoE’s Carl Edwards. ‘Why should we wait for someone to get hurt or killed?’

A recreational boat capsized in the North Sound Friday dumping many of its 54 passengers. No one was severely injured.

Boaters and jet skiers have officially been put on notice through the joint operation that the police and marine units of Customs and DoE will be out in force this coming Easter weekend.

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