I have lived in Belize City for 5 years and moved to the Island about 7 months ago. I have been on weekend trips to the island in the past several times.
Despite my name I do not hold a Captains licence. I was unaware of any boating lanes or where they begin or end etc. As an average person I can see the confusion. The whole beach area is dotted with dive and snorkel shops and San Pedro is touted as a divers paradise, so walking along the beach you get the impression that snokeling is everywhere.
Nowhere are there any indications of danger swimming past the docks.
I have worked at Club Med and Decameron Resorts for several years and we always had an orientation session for new guests. This is usually a half hour session where guests could ask questions and we would go over safety rules, facilities and is where you could sell a tour or two.
The Majority of our guests attended these sessions because they want information.
Obviously, you would think common sense would prevail, but I have found working at large all inclusive resorts that most people are in a different "frame of mind" when vacationing. They are a lot more carefree and sometimes like a babe in the woods.
We as business owners and residents need to remind visitors of the beauty as well as the dangers of the Island. Don't go swimming in the lagoons, there are Crocs. Don't go past the piers, boat traffic etc.
Signs on the docks would help, as long as they are informative.
No swimming past dock, will mostly be ignored,
"No swimming past dock, serious injury or death from boat traffic & propellers may occur"is far more effective and is not detrimental or will scare off tourists
Talking to people and explaining one on one is, in my lengthly experience is definately the best. Most people know that there are risks , and understand why there are rules and that they are for THIER safety.
A few years back some US students came to one of our resorts in Santa Marta Colombia. Despite several strong warnings from the Hotel and locals the students took a trip into the bush and were kidnapped by Guerilla forces. (You may remember this story back in the nineties.)
NO, not everyone will listen, but forewarned is forearmed and those that choose to break the rules do so at thier own risk,
I think that every hotel registered with the BTB should be reqiured to inform guests of the danger of swimming in the lagoons or past the docks and why, and where the boat lanes are.
It is not a perfect solution, but we have done our due dilligence and it's a step in the right direction.