Culture clash at Shelly Bay: a question of etiquette
I will relay to you what occurred today (Sunday, October 3, 2021) at Shelly Bay Beach.
A group of men on the northern end of the beach decided that they would use that area from which to enjoy driving their miniature speedboats in the bay. They ignored that there were people swimming in the bay at the time.
I decided to take action after watching them for a while and realising that any loss of control of their boats or movement by a swimmer farther north could have caused serious injury to the swimmer. I crossed the beach to ask them politely to please not drive their boats there while people are enjoying the beach and water. I politely explained that it was dangerous for swimmers and that snorkellers used the area, and they might not even be able to see them.
One gentleman politely listened, then called me an impolite name and continued operating his boat. Their pleasure obviously meant more to them than the safety of the swimmers.
A few minutes later, the boat flipped and only after unsuccessfully trying to fix it did they leave. ( It could have flipped and bounced on to a swimmer.)
Two hours later, I returned to collect my guests, who were planning to snorkel. There was now another gentleman along with the men who were there earlier, operating a larger, remote-controlled boat. By this time the sun was out, it was a beautiful day and there were many more swimmers in the water and others on the beach.
These gentlemen, however, did not notice or did not care that they were hindering the freedom of the swimmers and putting them in danger of being hit by their large, heavy, fast-moving, remote-controlled “missile”.
I once again approached them, pleading to please not operate that machinery when people are using the beach and water; I was horrified at what could possibly go wrong.They selfishly wanted to play with their toy, and in the words of one ... “if I hit somebody, I’ll just face the consequences".
We had words and this time they were not polite. I was met with anger: that they “paid taxes" and I had the audacity to ”tell them what not to do“. There was resentment that I was ”trying to ruin their Sunday“, and very foul language.
Several persons thanked me for approaching the men and pleading with them to take their hobby elsewhere, as they, too, saw the danger and had been afraid to go in the water with those boats whizzing around as they were.
I write this because I had written a similar letter a few years ago and nothing has been done about this very dangerous activity at Shelly Bay. It does not happen often, but should not happen at all. It will take only one mishap for us to regret that we didn’t stop it.
I also write hoping that the men involved read this and realise that it is a selfish and dangerous act to operate those fast, heavy, remote-controlled “missiles” in any frequented public swimming area.
I will be addressing the MPs of the area and the parks department to ensure, this time, that this very dangerous practice does not continue at any public swimming area.
Please, remote-control boat operators, no one is trying to ruin your fun, but do not operate your boats where people swim. It is too dangerous to the swimmers. Maybe you can share with each other safe areas to enjoy your hobby.
CHERYL ANN GRIFFIN