Boating tragedies narrowly averted

The
tragic loss of five Caymanians at sea earlier this month has apparently not
dissuaded others around the Islands from
putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations on the water.

A
number of boating incidents in the past week required the Royal Cayman Islands
Police Service to rescue stranded boaters, or respond to injuries on the water.

The
incidents included two people who were found in distress when fishing from a
small kayak last Wednesday, and four people who had to be rescued from a
sinking boat at Barkers reef early Saturday morning.

Also,
one man participating in the East End Surf Challenge was slightly injured when
he was thrown from a wave runner on Sunday afternoon.

These
rescues and accidents occurred just more than two weeks after five people – including
a 13-year-old girl – went out in a 26-foot canoe into Grand
Cayman’s North Sound.

The
26-foot craft ventured into what were believed to be 15-17 foot swells near the
Rum Point Channel on 10 January. The craft was discovered overturned just
outside the sound’s barrier reef. None of the five boaters have ever been
found.

“There
has (recently) been a change in the weather and as such I would urge users of
small water craft to take extra care over the next few days,” RCIPS Chief Inspector
Courtney Myles said. “In light of recent events on the Islands,
I cannot emphasise enough the need to make sure that you follow some simple
rules about boat safety.”

Mr.
Myles advises boaters to file a float plan with port security before heading
out, and to always ensure that their craft is in good working order.

Police
advise boaters to always tell a friend or relative where they are going and why
– providing a departure and return time. Essential safety equipment such as life
jackets, and a radio should be on board.

“We
are in the process of sending examples of float plans out to marine stores in
the area,” Mr. Myles said.

Anyone
with questions about what they should do before they go to sea can contact the
RCIPS marine unit for advice.

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