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Feb 17, 2023

Coast Guard Captain Addresses Boats and Swimming Safety in Tourism High Season

Earlier this week, a seventeen-year-old American tourist lost her life while swimming off the coast of Ambergris Caye. A Belize Dive Pro Center Limited boat reportedly collided into seventeen–year–old Logan Pratt while she was swimming north of the island. This incident has brought into sharp focus the need for the implementation of better safety measures to guide both tour operators and swimmers. To get a better understanding of what could have gone wrong in this incident and the course of action that could have prevented this incident, we spoke with Captain Gregory Soberanis, the Vice-Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard.


Captain Gregory Soberanis, Vice-Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

“One if you as an operator with a boat has passengers, don’t overload your vessel to begin with. You don’t want to overload your vessel. Ensure that there are sufficient life jacket onboard, fire extinguisher is on board, always have a float plan so that people know where you are going and the route you are taking to and from your destination. Another key component is a lookout, someone who is at the bow of that vessel being able to identify if there are any person in the water ahead of you, or any obstacles, cause you might have drift wood that type of thing. So, you must have lookout out so that can say to the captain of the vessel, there are people ahead, two hundred meters, whatever it may be and you need to go to your port side or starboard side. So, it is all about having those measures in place for safe navigation and safety of passengers and of people who come to Belize to use your waters.”


Paul Lopez

“A lookout how well can they see a person in the water swimming and at what distance is visibility unclear?”


Captain Gregory Soberanis

Captain Gregory Soberanis

“Again, it is determined by the conditions at the time, the seas state, how bright the sun is, what the cloud cover is at the time of the days. Hence the reason why, once the conditions are not favorable, you go even slower. So, operating at a safe speed is a key factor when operating at sea.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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