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Cayman Islands News

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Practice boat safety during the holidays

The RCIPS Joint Marine Unit would like to remind the public to be safe over the holidays when engaging in water activities especially boating and diving. This time of the year, from November through April we can experience strong winds; weather that will affect person’s ability to go out on their boat. These changes in the weather sometimes occur suddenly and as a result were are asking that persons who intend to participate in water sporting activities to always exercise caution.

Below are some tips that persons should remember to practice when planning a boating trip:

1. Boaters should always check the weather to ensure that it is safe to operate your boats and other water vehicles. Not only check the weather for that day, but in the days following, especially if you are going beyond the confines of the reef.

2. Boaters should ensure that they have a float plan. Notify the Port Authority or your relatives when you are departing, how many persons you have on board, your intended destination or area of activity and your estimated time of return to shore. Should your destination change, give notice of that change. Should you experience difficulties, notify Port Authority immediately of those difficulties, whether you are in a life threatening situation, whether you require an immediate rescue response, or if you require assistance from a third party and the contact for the third party. Finally, notify the Port Authority or your relatives upon your return.

3. Captains should ensure that their radios and other communication devices (cell phones) are in good working order and on the proper channels when going out on the water.

4. Boaters should ensure that their boats are properly equipped with lights, flares and other safety gear, especially when going out at night.

5. Captains should ensure that they have at least one life vest on board for each person on board, and it is recommended that everyone is wearing them when the boat is travelling on the water.

When out on the waters, boaters should also ensure that they follow the below rules:

1. Boaters should ensure that they do not operate a vessel whilst under the influence of alcohol. Drinking alcohol impairs your judgement and your kinetics and therefore affects your operations of the vessel, thus endangering your life, the lives of your passenger and maybe even others.

2. Boaters and wave runner operators should ensure that they pay close attention for swimmers and snorkelers when they are close to shore and in populated areas to avoid injury and loss of life. Even in a designated water sports area, you are still responsible to operate your vessel in a safe manner that does not endanger others.

3. Swimmers and snorkelers are asked to pay special attention to the water sport areas on the media and to avoid those areas if you plan on swimming and snorkelling, as there could be lots of vessel activity close to shore.

4. Boat owners must be a responsible adult, and are reminded that children under the age of 15 years are not allowed to operate the vessel, unless under the supervision of a person over that age. Below is a video that has some additional tips for boating and water safety.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKJ1TIK3QOU

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