After the tragic accident involving a local water taxi vessel and a tourist losing a leg in the accident the Belize Port Authority, along with the Belize Tourism Board, conducted a meeting on Friday, October 7, 2011, with local officials to plan ways in improving safety and discuss measures aimed at preventing future accidents.
Providing and improving safety for both swimmers and mariners was one of the most important issues that need immediate attention, for which a plan to place notices on piers for swimmers was first and foremost formulated. The signs will be placed at docks and front desks of hotels for swimmers (both locals and tourists). The signs will have ‘welcoming words’ and include some rules and regulations about designated swimming areas off the piers for the safety of all.
A “no wake zone” is an area designated by the Harbor Master for vessels to navigate with extreme caution at slow speed and not to create wakes (waves) that is likely to cause damage to lives or property. Currently here in San Pedro this is an imaginary line drawn 100 feet east of residential area including the river and 100 feet west of the entrance of the San Pedro Lagoon.
The extension of the “no wake zone” was another great concern as it was suggested that instead of having it just 100 feet off the coast line it should be increased to about 300 feet or more. Talks also addressed the issues to establish a proper vessel traffic route and implement a proper buoy system for proper navigation of vessels.
This and more topics such as the designation of areas for water-sport activities, swimming areas and speed limits were discussed and a follow up meeting in the near future will establish more concrete ideas and regulation. For the meantime public notices on ‘No Wake Zones’ and swimming safety will commence for the safety of all.