Today’s Editorial November 09: Watercraft regulations are needed

An accident in Cayman’s waters is just waiting to happen and stronger regulations need to be put in place.

That’s the message from the Complaint Commissioners’ report on Safety of Small Commercial Waterborne Vessels tabled in the Legislative Assembly Monday.

The report is filled with major concerns.

The report found that there are myriad reasons why an accident is highly probable involving these watercrafts.

Some of the scarier reasons for potential accidents include consumption of alcohol by crew and operators and overloading of vessels.

When you stop and think of the thousands of tourists who travel to the Cayman Islands and avail themselves of the services of these commercial operators, it’s amazing we haven’t had a major accident yet.

And let that accident happen when our visitors lean on the litigious side and you have the makings of disaster not only on the water, but in the courts.

It is estimated that 2.6 million passengers take round trips annually on SCVs.

We already have minimum safety standards, but it’s not enough to set an age limit of a boat operator or insist on anchors, rope and flares.

Those are good measures, but more needs to be done to ensure that the operators of these vessels are well versed in safety practices and rescue operations.

They also need to ensure lifesaving equipment is within reach and in good working order.

And the vessels themselves need to always be in good repair.

Once stiffer regulations are adopted, measures have to be put in place to give the proper authorities the way forward to enforce those regulations.

The public should get a look at proposed regulations for small commercial vessels and private pleasure craft next month.

We’re anxious to see what they say and even more anxious to see safety on our waterways more highly regulated.

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