Safety before pleasure
Jet ski, speed boat and pleasure craft operators are being reminded to stay outside of buoyed areas to avoid accidents with sea bathers, swimmers and snorkelers.
They are also urged to follow all regulations, and instruct their passengers or those who rent their equipment about the necessary safety precautions that should be exercised at all times.
This advice has come from Shipping Superintendent in the Ministry of International Business and International Transport, Walter Best, who stressed that the actions by some persons who use jet skis and speed boats indicate that they were not properly briefed, or that they ignored those briefings.
He said there were still reports of jet skis and other pleasure craft going into the Bridgetown Port and buoyed areas, or venturing too close to sea bathers. He explained that swim areas along West Coast and South Coast beaches were usually protected by buoys placed at least 60 metres into the water, or further back depending on the popularity of the beach.
“The buoyed areas are set aside to protect sea bathers, swimmers and snorkelers. If vessels go inside these areas, or approach too close, they could injure, maim or kill one of those persons. So, we are appealing to operators to desist from entering or approaching buoyed areas,” Best advised.
He warned that it was an offence to take any speedboat, surfboard, or any other watercraft into swim areas that were provided for the public and are to be used exclusively for sea bathing, diving, and snorkeling.
The superintendent also cautioned beach goers against bathing outside the buoyed areas which were instituted for their protection. Divers were also urged to use dive flags for their own safety.
Visitors, too, should observe all briefings given to them by the operators, said Best, especially since they were in a new environment. He noted that the age limit for operating jet skis and speed boats was 16, and anyone under that age should be accompanied by an adult.
He added that water operators should operate only from within areas designated for watersports activities. Those areas are: Maxwell Beach, Dover Beach, Carlisle Bay, Pile Bay, Fresh Water Beach, commonly referred to as Paradise Beach; Coconut Creek, Tamarind Cove, Sandy Lane, Holetown, Colony Club, Heron Bay, Glitter Bay, Mount Standfast, St. Alban’s Beach, Mullins Beach, Kings Beach, Cholera Bay and Heywoods Beach.