Meeting held to discuss boating safety measures off the shore of San Pedro and Caye Caulker

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Pursuant to the accident which occurred on the waters off San Pedro Town on September 14th in which one tourist lost a leg and a second was injured, a meeting on boat safety was held on Friday, October 14th.

Director for Destination Planning at the Belize Tourism Board, Kevin Gonzalez, spoke to The San Pedro Sun about the meeting. According to Mr. Gonzalez, “It was a boat safety meeting and had some bearing on the recent incident that occurred where a visitor’s leg was severed. However it wasn’t completely focused on that, it was looking at all boat safety issues in San Pedro and the country of Belize for that matter.”

At the meeting were key tourism stakeholders from San Pedro and Caye Caulker, as well as members of the BTIA, North Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch, South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch, the San Pedro Town Council and the Belize Port Authority.

During the meeting, immediate as well as long term measures that will assure the security of visitors and residents that use the waters were discussed. Among the short term measures discussed were:

* Placing of safety notices on piers
* Placing cautionary notices at hotels in their lobbies, reception area or even rooms

According to Mr. Gonzalez these will be effective methods of getting information to visitors as it pertains to their safety as they enjoy the beauty of Belize. “We looked at what key steps could be taken in the short term to advertise and let the public know. And this is for locals and foreigners as well. One of the main focuses was swimming outside the piers and docks. Shortly we will be placing signs on the docks informing all that it is unsafe to swim out there and they should practice much caution if they insist in doing so”.

Mr. Gonzalez further stated that they will be placing a public message to alert the public that there are safety rules for boaters that they need to be aware of. He feels that by alerting the general public of the safety laws, they will be able to assist, informing of any malpractices.
As for Port Authority, they have a long term initiative which will assist with daytime as well as night time travel. Mr. Gonzalez stated that the Port Authority will be creating what they call a “lighted travel expressway.” This will consist of buoys for water traffic, which are visible during the day and light-up at night, spanning from Belize City all the way to San Pedro. It will create a lane that boaters would have to travel. This project is estimated to cost an approximate $200,000. and is expected to occur within the next year-and-a- half as funds need to be allocated.

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