Police and experts unite on water safety
There is a 50-metre security zone around every ship docked in Bermuda ports.
It is an offence to navigate a boat within 100 metres of the shoreline at a speed in excess of five knots or in a manner which creates a wake (there are a few exceptions).
It is advised to tell a friend or file a float plan with the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre before heading out on a boat especially if you are going off shore.
To send a distress call, use marine VHF channel 16.
Be prepared to give vessel name and call sign, to state the position of the vessel and to describe the nature of the emergency.
Having a 406MHz Epirb on board is highly recommended when operating in offshore areas outside of the reef line.
The Department of Marine and Ports: 295-6575 / www.marineandports.bm
Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre 297-1010 / www.marops.bm
The Bermuda Water Safety Council: www.wsc.bm
Source: Department of Marine and Ports
Safety campaigners have launched a joint effort to help people avoid trouble on the water.
Police constable Linnell Williams of the Marine Police and the Bermuda Water Safety Council said that the roads and the waterways shared problems.
She said: “At the Bermuda Water Safety Council we are trying to bring more awareness to the public and also get them to engage in safer behaviour.
“Some of the issues that the Bermuda Road Safety Council faces on the road, we face on the water — you have unattended children, you have the alcohol mixing with the boating which can cause collisions.”
Ms Williams said that drinking on the water was “quite rampant”.
But she added: “I believe people are becoming more aware so they will have someone on board that can operate — kind of like a designated driver.”
She was speaking as the Marine Police, the Bermuda Water Safety Council, the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre and the Royal Yachting Association joined forces to man a stall at Harbour Night in Hamilton on Wednesday.
The safety drive was organised by the Bermuda Road Safety Council as part of Road Safety Week.
The stall featured life jacket demonstrations, distress flares, knot tying and safety literature.
A mascot called Rico was also on display, dressed in summer gear with hat, sunglasses and sunblock to highlight summer sun safety.
Steven Pegg, the acting chief maritime operations controller for the Department of Marine and Ports, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to get out and interact with the public and get this message of water safety out as we go into the summer season.
“We want to ensure people know that when they go out on their boat they should operate it correctly, safely and to have the right safety equipment on board.
He told boat owners: “When you take your boat out, you are responsible for the passengers that you take out, adults and children.
“You have your marine VHF which is part of the literature we are handing out to remind people of how they contact us in an emergency.
“You can call 911, but there is also channel 16 to contact us.”
Mr Pegg said: “Alcohol is a concern, it is safest not to drink and drive your boat. If you have children, keep your eye on them, and ensure general safety awareness.”