For the spectators on the beach, it seemed as though there was an accident in progress, but in fact, it was a simulation exercise for NEMO participants. Having trained for search, rescue and evacuation, participants of the exercise put what they learned into action. According to Mr. Frank Panton, the scenario was as such: “Two boats collided between the reef and Central Park. Belize Port Authority (BPA), Coast Guard, NEMO and SP Team came into action and tried to rescue and help those on board. There was one (hypothetical) death and one injury during the simulation, and participants had to apply what they had learned in the classroom.” He added that the exercise was completed successfully.
NEMO hopes that boat owners, managers, operators, participants and the public at large, will now ensure that passengers using the water taxis are documented (and not just by head count), plus that life jackets are won or made readily accessible to all who travel via water taxis. It is important for all to work together in a collaborative manner and be able to communicate with each other in such incidents. Safety and accountability for passengers was the top priority demonstrated.