Today’s Editorial January 29: More water related deaths

On the surface it would appear that we’re having about as many tourists die in our waters as we do young Caymanians who perish on our roadways.

Just last week two more visiting foreigners gave up the ghost in the Cayman Islands.

A 54-year-old American died while on a dive just off the shore line in George Town near Sunset House Resort.

The second victim was a 71-year-old man from Korea who died while swimming near the Sandbar in the North Sound.

And once again there was not immediate CPR assistance to possibly save these two gentlemen.

We think it may appear the number of water deaths is up because we have thousands more cruise visitors today than in the recent past.

But whatever the cause, the numbers are up and it’s incumbent on the watersports and tourism industries to come up with some solutions.

For starters, find a way to weed out the healthy visitors from those who are more likely to experience distress in the water.

This falls on the shoulders of the cruise industry and the boat operators.

Will this winnowing make some of our visitors angry? Yes, but better angry and alive, than out of hard earned cash, happy and dead.

Legislation should be passed that mandates every crew member on every commercial recreational boat know life saving skills.

Manual defibrillators, once relegated only to ambulances and hospitals, are now common in airplanes, shopping malls and other public gathering places.

They work by giving the heart a controlled electric shock, forcing all the heart muscles to contract at once, and, hopefully jolting it back into a regular rhythm.

If the machines can be put in malls, they can certainly be put on recreational vessels.

The Cayman Islands Red Cross has a crackerjack staff that can teach anyone life saving methods. Use their resources.

Stats reported in the Caymanian Compass recently showed there were 10 deaths in the Cayman Islands involving snorkellers and divers.

All but one of the dead was older than 48.

We’re not saying there aren’t healthy folks older than 45 out there. We know there are many.

But many people on cruise vacations aren’t exactly the picture of health, especially those coming from the United States where obesity is becoming a national problem.

Too, most cruises offer a wealth of fatty food free for the eating.

If cruise visitors won’t use common sense when taking part in our watersports, then we have to come up with some way to help them stay alive.

Our reputation depends on it.