Editorial for 28 July: Respect the sea

Once upon a time, men from the Cayman Islands were known the world over for
their prowess on the seas.

Of course, back in the days before the commerce brought on by the financial and
tourism industries, there were few ways for Caymanian men to make a living
other than going to sea.  Now days, most men from the Cayman Islands have
many other career options, and even those with no viable working skills, don’t
want an arduous, tedious and dangerous life at sea.

 In addition, many of Cayman’s residents and ‘new’ Caymanians come from
elsewhere in the world, places that don’t have the same kinds of seafaring
traditions, further diluting the sea skills here.

 As a result of this transition, a lot of the master seamanship that defined men
from Cayman has been lost and, seemingly, along with it a lot of the common
sense people have when it comes to the ocean.
More and more these days, people are ill-advisedly taking to the seas in
conditions or vessels that aren’t safe.

 Luckily with the most recent incident of an overloaded boat heading for
Honduras that sank at sea, all the men on board were rescued. Others in the
past couple of years – and as recently as last month – haven’t been as
fortunate, and deaths have occurred.

 In some cases, boaters have gone out in small vessels despite small-craft
warnings in effect. Even if these people didn’t take the time to check with the
National Weather Service about local conditions, we would hope that the visual
conditions of the sea would be enough to either convince them not to go out, or
to turn around and come back to shore soon after they set out.

 The open ocean is a dangerous place that requires healthy respect from everyone
who travels on it. Many people die all over the world every year in boating
incidents, most of which could have been avoided by taking simple precautions.

We urge everyone to learn about safe boating practices before they head out to
a potential accident that would require rescue – or worse.