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#438383 - 05/19/12 02:58 PM No wake regulation to be enforced around San Pedro
Marty Offline


No wake
The situation of observing No Wake zones around San Pedro town is being addressed by municipal authorities. Love TVís Maria Novelo reports.

LOVETV


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#438384 - 05/19/12 03:10 PM Re: No wake regulation to be enforced around San Pedro [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

SPTC, SPTGA and Belize Port Authority works to make San Pedroís Beaches safer

San Pedro has seen various incidents in the past months where boating accidents have left individuals limbless or injured. Sadly, these accidents could have been avoided if the cause for them had not been speeding. In response, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), San Pedro Tourist Guide Association (SPTGA) and the Belize Port Authority are working hand in hand, to prevent these incidents from occurring again.

The entire coast line of Ambergris Caye is deemed a No Wake Zone, meaning that boaters by law are required to slow down to the point of ďidleĒ speed while in that zone. This is, of course a law to maintain safety and prevent accidents.

In a meeting earlier this week, all entities gathered to discus a main area of concern, the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge and the Boca Del Rio swimming area, which we are now being informed is a ďNOĒ swimming area.

San Pedro Town Mayor, Danny NuŮez informed, ďThe river I had mentioned before that we are asking all boat operators and tour guides to go at a slow, idle speed so that we can protect the bridge and for the safety of the kids swimming in that same area. The Port Authority will be putting signs up as well, two in the back area, two in the front, and two on the sea wall concerning the safety of swimming in that area. This area is very dangerous; however the kids as well as the general public have been using it as a popular swimming area, due of the white sand that has over-flown from the improperly placed geo-tubes. Our objective is to divert swimming from the river area to the front where it would be safer to swim.Ē

Billy Leslie, president of the San Pedro Tourist Guide Association added, ďOne of the most important factors of whatís coming out of this is that if we do not alert and notify the general public then thatís when problems happen. It is more of an education program where we place these signs out there so that the public themselves can be aware that swimming in this location is dangerous so we prevent having a problem and not having to deal with somebody being hit. So the signs are an important part of informing the public that certain areas should not be used for swimming; we are ensuring that guides and boat operators know that they have to travel slowly in this area. Itís education to prevent problems from happening. Then we donít even need of policing.Ē

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun


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#438440 - 05/20/12 06:57 PM Re: No wake regulation to be enforced around San Pedro [Re: Marty]
The Chosen One Offline
This will certainly help the marine life around Ambergris Caye.
Also, tourists will be less disturbed while their relaxing on the beach.

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#438446 - 05/20/12 07:53 PM Re: No wake regulation to be enforced around San Pedro [Re: The Chosen One]
Bear Offline
Originally Posted By: The Chosen One
This will certainly help the marine life around Ambergris Caye.
Also, tourists will be less disturbed while their relaxing on the beach.


Actually, the thread heading here on ac.com might lead one to believe that that these are new regulations however the NoWake Zone in the Cut has always been in place, just not particularly well enforced. The more specific new issue here is that the SPTC seems to be moving to prohibit swimming in the San Pedro River inlet area (an already established No Wake Zone) and requiring that swimmers move out of the channel and Bridge area to the beach areas adjacent to the Cut. Idle speeds are required in the Cut area as they always have been.

Lower speeds have always been required along the coast but that distance is well inside the reaches of most docks on the island. The signs being placed along the immediate coast north and south of town by the SPTGA & SPTC are warning signs intended to inform visitors of the dangers of swimming into the higher speed areas offshore. No new regulations seem to be mentioned so I assume those entities are referring to the historical distances for idle speeds along the coast. If I'm off the mark I'm sure someone will pipe up.

Quote:
"San Pedro has seen various incidents in the past months where boating accidents have left individuals limbless or injured. Sadly, these accidents could have been avoided if the cause for them had not been speeding..."


The article implies that it was the operating speed of a water taxi for the tragic incident last summer involving a newlywed couple. The husband lost a leg and the wife was seriously hurt as a result of being offshore far enough to be in commercial traffic areas. They were both struck by an inbound water taxi. A no fault finding was issued by authorities after an extensive investigation. The captain of the water taxi was reinstated after his suspension pending investigation. Shortly thereafter the concept of posting signs to warn swimmers and the unitiated visitors of the dangers of swimming offshore was conceived. More recently a collision between two boats occurred (on the backside of the island?) resulting in some serious injuries to passengers but I never heard the findings of the investigations as to underlying fault.

I am a bit concerned that effective enforcement may fall short if posting signs are all that's to be done:
Quote:
...So the signs are an important part of informing the public that certain areas should not be used for swimming; we are ensuring that guides and boat operators know that they have to travel slowly in this area. Itís education to prevent problems from happening. Then we donít even need of policing....Ē


I'd like to see a few SP officers checking the Cut/Bridge areas to ask swimmers to move out of the area and issue a few warnings/citations so boat operators know the authorities are serious. A citizen reporting program to take the names of boats speeding close into shore along the coast would elevate operator consciousness as well. As to the swimmers along the coast, its going to take more efforts on the part of vacation home owners and resort operators to heighten their attention. We currently have our own dock signage and issue a Water Safety sheet to each set of guests. Our co-operative owners have also made it a point of warning rental guests that have the obvious intent of swimming far offshore. This has met with mixed results and even an odd middle digit or two. The latter basically being a stetment of "FU we're on vacation..." That atttitude in the face of the dangers involved has to be overcome and that may take considerably more effort.

As Diane said in another thread
Quote:
"...when you think about how careless people tend to be on vacation perhaps there is some logic in the overkill.
Frankly I'm still at a loss for what is overkill when it comes to this.


PS The signs are great but I wonder whatever happened to the BPA plans to put offshore route bouys up?

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