Several boaters from Ambergris Caye have expressed concerns about nonfunctional navigational lights along the route between Ambergris Caye and Belize City. Because some of the lights, especially those along the channels are not properly working, boaters believe that it can mislead boat captains thus causing them to run aground. The upkeep of the navigational lights is the responsibility of the Belize Port Authority.
According to boat captains, the lights help to guide boaters through very narrow channels near shallow areas. These highly trafficable areas include the San Pedro Marina Channel around Ambergris Caye, Porto Stock between Belize City and Caye Caulker, and the channels along Swallow Caye. These areas, which are used by vessels on a daily basis, including the public water ferries, require experience and knowledge of the waters. The lights are of great help, especially for those who are not well-versed with the area and during times when visibility is low.
According to the Belize Port Commissioner Merlene Bailey-Martinez, the Belize Port Authority has indeed been made aware of situation. Bailey-Martinez explained that they have been making major upgrades to navigational aids, but it is being done in turns starting with the areas of most importance. “The Belize Port Authority has been working to upgrade aids to navigation over the past year, and in fact, we have been reinstalling lights along various channels. Between March and July we spend over $110,000 replacing buoys and lights, especially along English Caye Channel. It was fairly urgent that we dealt with that before moving to other areas,” said Martinez.
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