Tour boat captains come to rescue

| 25/07/2017 | 14 Comments
Cayman News Service

Vessel ‘Trouble’ assists in the boat rescue, taken from the police helicopter

(CNS): Five adults and one child were all returned safely to shore at the weekend following a coordinated rescue of a sinking boat in the North Sound by local tour boat captains and the police. When an 18ft Striper that was heading to Safe Haven from the Sandbar hit engine trouble in the middle of the Sound and began taking on water Saturday evening, one of the people on board called 911 and raised the alarm.

Officers from the RCIPS Joint Marine Unit were mobilized from the marine base at around 7pm, but the helicopter was first on the scene, and with the help of the Port Authority, which sent VHF hails to vessels in the area near the sinking boat, they were able to make contact with some captains who came to the rescue.

A Pontoon boat responded first and it diverted toward the troubled vessel, followed by a second tour boat captain, who took his boat to the location and helped tow the troubled vessel toward the West Bay Yacht Club. When the police boat, the Typhoon, came alongside the boats, they were just outside the Yacht Club channel, and marine officers confirmed that all on board the boat that had been in distress were safe and did not require medical attention.

“We would like to acknowledge the quick response of boat captain Mike Nelson of Blue Horizon and boat captain Justin Rankine of Trouble to the area and thank them for the assistance they rendered,” said Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks, Head of Specialist Support Operations. “Both of these vessels are commercial tourist vessels that were engaged in charters at the time with paying patrons, but their captains did not hesitate to help others in need, even though this put them off schedule. They demonstrated that the safety of life at sea is paramount and is a shared responsibility.”

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Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How does engine trouble and taking on water relate? Two separate issues for an 18 ft. Striper.

  2. Mokes-for-all says:

    Congrats to the captains involved (well done Mike)! Just goes to show that some people do know what it means to be part of a community. You can feel justly proud of yourselves.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great job by everyone involved. Thank you.

    – Who

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well done to all of the rescue team in what could have easily been a tragedy, if not for their brave efforts these people would have perished. Thank God we have some wonderful people here in Cayman. It’s times like this the good outweigh the bad. Learn all you criminals out there! Take a leaf out of these good mens books and do some good in the world instead of making peoples lives a misery with your violence. You are not on this earth long enough to waste your young lives.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Where were the Fire Service? Oh yea, they have to get their new boat from WB fire station to the water, launch and then hope they know where they are going.
    By which time people, the victim is 12′ below the NS.
    You couldn’t make this up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Trigger…go easy. The fire service & marine unit cant be expected to anticipate with a crystal ball every marine incident & be everywhere on Caymans coastline in 5 minutes , given the expected response time, each agency would have responded as quickly as they could be expected, plus with the helicopter which is armed with FLIR night vision having been given the opportunity to again show its worth. Great effort by Mike & Justin’s crews .

      • says:

        The fire service and marine unit cannot be expected to anticipate? But the police helicopter can apparently? Good job they have civilian boats to call when they get there then.

        • Anonymous says:

          It would be good to read before you comment. They did deploy, they were on their way but civilian boats nearby assisted. If you want police marine boats everywhere to help out people who don’t know what they’re doing on the water, then tell CIG to dig deep for millions in new boats. Otherwise, pull your fingers back from the keys.

        • Anonymous says:

          The helicopter can cover ground far more quickly than can the Marine Unit. It’s just the nature of the capabilities of the equipment involved. It would be sheer luck if the Marine Unit would be so close as to be able to arrive on scene before the helicopter. The Marine Unit could be on patrol near Rum Point and the helicopter over East End but the helicopter would still be on scene for this incident first.

          The helicopter is great for locating a missing vessel, but they need a vessel on the water to effect the rescue. If that vessel in distress is sinking you call for assistance from the nearest vessel capable of rendering assistance. It does not matter if it is a privately owned vessel or publicly owned. It’s a team effort and a social responsibility to render aid.

          Our Caymanian ancestors who were seafarers understood the responsibility to provide mutual aid for vessels at sea in distress. Offer help this time because it could be your vessel the next time.

      • Anonymous says:

        Really, and you’re an expert on SAR are you? Well bobo, if the ‘rescue’ boat was utilised as a proper life boat instead of a excuse to justify the numbers of full time fighters and the hours of unproductive duty time, then the damn boat would be on or near the water ready to respond as soon as a distress call was received.
        You know, like every other professional rescue service in the world manages to do.

        Their job isn’t necessarily to anticipate, although with the numbers of vessels out on the water on a weekend, it is hard to justify why there isn’t a constant patrol out in the NS anyway. Remember, this wasn’t around the coastline, it was within the reef protected waters of the NS. If it had been outside of the reef, how much longer would the response time have been?
        Also, what time was the 911 call originally received, (it fails to clarify that important fact above, it only gives a mobilisation time) and why was it left to the PA to call for assistance, why couldn’t the Marine Unit get from its base in Newlands to the middle of the NS before the helicopter was launched, a PA distress call put out and a commercial boat rerouted to its location?
        And don’t forget that last light is still after 7:15pm so why was the rescue still going on in the dark without apparent MU assistance, who eventually caught up just outside the yacht club channel?
        So, mobilised at 7:00 and still not on scene until the boat was almost home in the dark, that my friend is one thing only……….. unacceptable as a marine search and rescue service.
        And what’s the excuse for the Fire Service lack of input, as the boat in distress was heading towards WB after all?

        The fact is, the Police and the Fire Service boats should be out doing their damn jobs instead of sitting on their asses in their cosy bases. It is only a matter of time before there is a major incident involving lunatics on wave runners or drunken Rum Point boaters and revellers at Star Fish Point or paralytic private and charter skippers coming out of Kaibo.

        It’s about time the CIG got serious about marine and public safety and started patrolling with boats and crews that are fit for purpose, especially at weekends and public holidays.
        10:23 has a point, we fund this so called service, so where are they?

        One last point. Why didn’t the Striper have its own vhf to call for immediate assistance from passing vessels, instead of waiting for the 911 service allocate resources which inevitably take up vital minutes, especially in an emergency? Lesson learnt, I doubt it.

        Well done ‘Trouble’ and the pontoon boat skippers.

        • Anonymous says:

          again, if CIG wants to fund the kind of equipment that would be needed to fulfill this level of patrol and rescue response, then get ready to spend tens of millions of dollars. Tell your elected official that, because no one in CIG is willing to take on that cost. And no on is sitting on their ass in a cozy base, you are very misinformed or intentionally so. Being a marine officer is a hard and exhausting job, so get your facts straight. There is no way to patrol the shoreline in the way you seem to expect with the resources they have. Stop pretending you are not hearing what is the truth, and bashing hardworking marine offices just for the sake of police-bashing. It is time for people to take responsibilities for themselves and their passengers on the water, and yes, for civilian vessels to help out when asked, just like they did here. The level of handholding by the police expected by people like you comes with a hefty price tag, so either pay up or shut up.

          • Anonymous says:

            Having a boat on the water within the North Sound isn’t the same as providing 24 hour, around coast cover. You are deliberately confusing the two so that you can excuse the fact that police are not out on Sunday’s and public holidays controlling the huge numbers that are out on the water. There is no excuse for not having a presence during these periods, it is after all what the marine unit is mandated to do.
            So if the boats weren’t out patrolling the chaos that is Rum Point, Kaibo, Star Fish Point, Sandbar or any other water access to bars and restaurants, where were they?
            No my friend, there are no excuses that allow for this obvious lack of cover during the busiest days of the week. If being a marine officer is so tough that they can’t provide adequate cover on the busiest boating periods, then pass the job over to someone who can and stop whining. Perhaps the Fire Service?

            And I would suggest that the handholding of which you speak is for inconsiderate and dangerous boaters who go to sea without an adequate VHF, solely relying on a cell phone.
            Perhaps if more boats were stopped and checked for safety equipment, sea worthiness and skipper alcohol consumption then less would need their hands held in the first place.
            But I suppose that’s not the marine officers job either as very few offenders seem to be subject to police attention even though on their occasional visits to Rum Point they can witness appalling examples of drinking and driving and dangerous behaviour on the water.
            So unless you have a vested interest in my point, how do you know where the Typhoon was on Saturday evening or if the officers were even within the base?
            One things for sure, they certainly weren’t out on the water when the madness is at its worst.

            I can assure you I’m not police bashing, I’m bashing the system that allows such dangerous delays in response and the failure to patrol and deter on the busiest days of the week.
            But if you want to take it personally, that’s your problem, but don’t try and blow smoke up our asses by getting defensive about the indefensible.

        • Anonymous says:

          12.47, you look like an idiot, when everyone is doing their best how to educate you in things you clearly don’t understand. Give up guys, there is always one who knows everything when he has probably only ever seen a boat from at least 300 yards distance…he thinks they can fly the boat over land and sea to get to trouble..probably also thinks the helicopter can only do 15 knots and that has to be over sea…

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m a former Royal Marine and RNLI lifeboatman. Anything else to add because it would appear that you are the one in need of education?
            The point being, just objecting to my point isn’t the same as answering the questions posed, which you have failed to do.
            Typical head in the bucket mentality which results in so many unnecessary deaths.

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