August 11, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Seventh water related death

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It was with much astonishment and sadness to learn of another water related death in our waters today.

Only last Thursday, , 64, who was visiting the Cayman Islands from Minnesota in the United States, was snorkelling off South Church Street, and encountered difficulties.

The elderly lady was swimming with others in a snorkel tour.

Today, an 83 man, another US visitor was snorkelling at . According to the police report he had gone missing.

Missing at Stingray City?

He was found unconscious by a nearby boat and brought onboard. CPR was administered to the man as the boat returned to shore, and, once on shore, the man was immediately transported to the Cayman Islands Hospital by emergency services. He was later pronounced dead.

The clamouring call for lifeguards on our shores would not have saved either person.

Do we shrug our shoulders and forget about it or do we try and find answers?

We are only in May and SEVEN persons have died.

In 2016 a total of 17 people have died, or are presumed to have died, in water-related incidents in the Cayman Islands. This figure, however, included the five individuals who went missing and presumed dead after having last been seen March 6 2016 on a boat near 12 Mile Bank, west of .

In 2015 the figure stood at 14.

In 2017 the figure dropped to 8.

The majority of all the water related deaths are persons snorkelling.

On the website Trip Advisor, back in February they published a warning:

“Water Safety – don’t be caught out!
Feb. 14, 2018, 9:07 a.m.
There have now been 3 tourist deaths on Grand Cayman this year (90 days in) related to being in the water. The details have not been released on any of them, and I don’t encourage hearsay.
Spotts Beach – 65 year-old American tourist, drowned
Rum Point: 60 year-old American tourist, snorkelling, caught in a current
Public Beach (Seven Mile Beach): 72 year-old American tourist
People need to respect that this is open water they are in, and take the necessary safety precautions – wear a snorkel vest, wear fins, make sure that someone knows where you are at all times, use the buddy system (although that didn’t help one of the unfortunate victims, apparently). Please don’t assume that the water is always going to be safe.”

As I said, we don’t know the exact circumstances of any of these, but commonsense precautions are definitely sensible to reduce the risk of incidents.

There are no statistics given as to any existing issues but as some motor insurance companies here are demanding anyone now over the age of 70 has to provide a certificate from a doctor, including an additional eyesight test. No certificate proving you are fit to drive, even if you have a perfect driving history, no insurance.

We have far less deaths on our roads each year and the most recorded involve the young not the elderly.

Ironic, isn’t it?

The only other question I have is about the equipment? Have there been any deaths recorded due to the equipment failures.

On the same website a contributor writes that, “Hawaii is starting to track the equipment being used. That stems largely from concerns that the increasingly popular full face masks may result in CO2 buildup in the mask, and therefore in the body. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any reports indicating that they’re looking at anything besides the type of mask/snorkel being used.”

With the seventh water related death now recorded here this year, surely the authorities must start taking all this very seriously?

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  1. […] Source: Cayman Eye News It was with much astonishment and sadness to learn of another water related death in our waters today. Only last Thursday, Doris Ann Sarauer, 64, who was visiting the Cayman Islands from Minnesota in the United States, was snorkelling off South Church Street, and encountered difficulties. The elderly lady was… Link: The Editor Speaks: Seventh water related death […]

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