In defence of tourists, the fact is that in most places where tourists likely have been before the popular beaches are reserved for swimming and boats are not typically a threat to swimmers or snorkelers.
Take for instance the beaches of Florida or most of the U.S. East Coast or Gulf Coast, or even most beaches in Yucatán and the Caribbean islands -- boats (except maybe jet skis) don't usually come into popular beaches.
The barrier reef and the water depth and conditions in Belize, and the fact that there really aren't areas designated specifically for swimming beaches, especially off Ambergris and Caulker, make the situation different. Tourists just aren't aware of the differences, nor should they be expected to be aware.
Perhaps it's time the BTB or local governments came up with warning posters and signs that hotels in beach resort areas would post in the hotels and on beaches and docks?
The guidebooks I do and most other guidebooks to Belize warn readers about swimming or snorkeling in boating lanes, but many people don't use guidebooks or if they do don't remember all the details.
Fact is, conditions off San Pedro and boating customs, while not unique in the world, are quite unusual and first-time visitors to the island may not be aware of that.
Last edited by Lan Sluder/Belize First; 09/18/11 10:27 AM.