New floating bar for Stingray City

A long-rumoured floating bar that will service swim-up customers at Stingray City has been given the green light.

The Sandar in the North Sound

The Sandbar in Grand Cayman’s North Sound. Photo: File

The Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman met 10 December and granted a retail liquor license and music and dancing license to Bernie Bush for the new operation. Mr. Bush explained that the idea had been well-received by the tourism industry in general.

‘In talking to the tourism department and various members within the tourism establishment, a lot of people felt that this would be a product that would enhance Stingray City operations.’

He said that it was not a charter boat intended to compete with existing businesses such as daytime charters, but an anchored bar that patrons could swim up to.

Laws state that the bar must be enclosed and no member of the public can have access to the area behind the bar. Two waitresses will therefore be on hand to serve the public at the front.

‘It has seats on its sides that will flop down into the water so that people can sit down. We have a bar on the boat that’s closed off where we have bartenders and waitresses.’

Drinks would be served in suitable receptacles including a branded ‘keepsake’ cup, which would add a two or three dollar premium to the first drink. The customer would then refill the cup, which would subsequently serve as a souvenir.

Mr. Bush explained that he had a small, 10-horsepower South Seas boat tied up behind the bar boat. This would facilitate any necessary debris clean-up operation.

Concerns about loud noises and invasive music that are often a feature of some of the ‘party ships’ were noted by Mr. Bush. He explained that the floating bar’s speakers were very small and as such were only capable of sufficient volume for patrons in the immediate vicinity.

A bathroom and sink have been installed in line with advice received from the Department of the Environment.


Mr. Bush said that some Stingray City tour providers and other private companies had already expressed an interest in working with the new bar.

‘They’ve said that at certain times they’ll take out people and they want me to go up there, anchor off and they’ll pull up and link up with me.’

Board members reminded Mr. Bush that the laws state that any bar could not be moored within half a mile of land at any time. He gave assurances that he was aware of the required distances and that the crew would work closely with enforcement agencies to verify where such limits were.

Photographs of the boat were passed around as Mr. Bush explained that he had been taking advice from Port Authority of the Cayman Islands in setting up the boat to their specifications and that he had in fact ‘gone beyond’ what had been asked for in terms of safety features, including the number of life-vests on board.

There will also be a lifeboat attached to the bar boat for use in case anyone in the vicinity encounter difficulty.