December 6, 2021

Cayman Islands: Boat in distress towed to safety

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Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 12.49.02 PMBoat in distress near Big Channel towed to safety by RCIPS Joint Marine Unit

Around 4PM Tuesday (15), the 9-1-1 Communications Centre received a distress call from a person on board a 24ft. boat exiting Big Channel. The boat was rapidly taking on water due to a large wave that had crashed over the vessel, after which it lost power and the ability to maneuver. It was determined through the Port Authority that no other boat was nearby. Six people were on board the boat.

Joint Marine Officers on board the Niven D responded to the call for service, reaching the vessel outside the reef to the west of the channel within twenty minutes. Given the fact that the situation presented the requisite circumstances, The Niven D then towed the boat to safety, where all six persons disembarked unharmed.

“We were able to respond fairly quickly in this instance,” observed Sergeant Antonio Hanna of the Joint Marine Unit, “but depending on a vessel’s location that is not always possible. Thanks to the 9-1-1 Communications Centre, the emergency dispatch and communications with Port Authority went smoothly. Luckily a passenger on the boat had an operational mobile phone. We recommend keeping mobile phones in plastic Ziploc bags on board precisely for instances like these, but even more importantly, that boat captains have and use their VHF radio to contact the Port Authority and nearby boats directly, saving precious time.”

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) will be discussing water and boating safety in media appearances over the next week, as one of the areas of focus under its Holiday Safety Initiative.

EDITOR: Big Channel is a marine channel in Cayman Islands, situated between Botabano and Vidal Cay, and nearby to Head of Barkers. Big Channel is located between Vulgunners Pond and Flat Rocks, and close to Sanders Rock


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