Marine activist dodges charge in boat crash

| 18/09/2019 | 52 Comments
Cayman News Service
Dive Tech boat after the crash

(CNS): Charges against renowned underwater photographer and environmentalist Cathy Church (74) in connection with a boat collision in January have been dropped, the police have confirmed. Church was facing charges of navigating a vessel so as to cause damage or risk of damage and a reckless and negligent act after her boat collided with another at the Kittiwake site, off Seven Mile Beach, while no one was at the helm.

Although snorkellers were in the water nearby at the time, no one was injured in the boat smash. However, the Attitude, a bright pink Dive Tech vessel, and Church’s boat were both damaged.

The charges have now been dropped and police have instead issued a formal caution to Church.

An RCIPS spokesperson told CNS that, having reviewed the matter, the RCIPS, in consultation with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions “deemed that the circumstances met the criteria for an adult caution in law, and that a caution would be a suitable outcome in this case. As such, the charges were withdrawn and a caution issued.”

Church reportedly admitted her mistake, and with no criminal record, she was eligible to take the formal ‘telling off’ without further consequence.

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Category: Local News

Comments (52)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So, our legal system is essentially Catholicism?

  2. Anonymous says:

    is she still driving on the road?????

  3. Anonymous says:

    A real “happy” bunch of commenters on here! Geez!

    • Anonymous says:

      Should we be “happy” there are two systems of justice depending on who you know or don’t know?

    • Anonymous says:

      The crew and passengers of the dive tech boat weren’t happy at all either.

  4. Anonymous says:

    In examining the thread of responses to this story I wonder if Cathy didn’t see the other boat? Perhaps the Dive Tech boat should be pained in a strong contrasting color to make it more visible.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cathy has taken responsibility for the impact and isn’t in need of any affirmation from anyone who doubts her impact on Cayman society.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cathy hasn’t paid for the damages she is responsible for causing thus she has not taken responsibility.

    • Anonymous says:

      So no consequences as long as you acknowledge obvious responsibility….that’s going to make our judicial system simpler.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The less you know the more you say. No trust in your courts means no trust in yourselves. For good reason.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pay a fine . Pay for damages. Never. Drive. A boat. Again.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if there will be a civil case too. If not lodged by divetech, maybe by their insurance company.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cathy has contributed more to Cayman then the any or all of the usual ugly lot spewing their usual rubbish on CNS.

    Keep it up, keep using your race card, your marriage card, your employment title card, your “but I have kids” card, your “society owes me” card, your “I go to church” card.

    You are all about maxed out on human capital credit with your colleagues and so you seek to plunder the highest contributing members of our cayman society when they make one mistake in a lifetime and own up to it, yet you make many multiples more per day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow that was really meandering and ultimately meaningless rambling.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, your comment is however shallow and tactfully distractful, almost begging for attention. Low hanging spelling or grammatically erroneous fruit anyone?

        Oh yeah, let me play the “intelligent” card without commenting on the content.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t want her to go to prison but I also didn’t want her to get off without any consequences at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Prison would have been appropriate, it’s for people who break the law.

    • SSM345 says:

      Would hefty bills to fix damage to 2 vessels be a consequence in your book?

      • Anonymous says:

        According to DiveTech, she’s not paid a penny towards Attatude. Also no. That wouldn’t be a sufficient consequence.

      • Anonymous says:

        What about hefty bills to spay your dog and putting up a fence to keep it in your yard?

      • Anonymous says:

        So according to that if she had hurt someone and but paid hospital bills all would be fine? Or killed some through reckless negligence but compensated family…all good?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Come on people Cathy Church is a woman in her golden years and it wouldn’t look good for her a well known underwater photographer to go to jail for dangerous boating, after all no one was killed. No, community service would not have been appropriate as Cathy has a business to run and no, there is isn’t a double standard in law enforcement.
    Move on there is nothing to see here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Disagree regarding community service – restitution to the community is an important step in accountability to one’s actions. In this instance, the strain of having to make time to serve the community for her transgression would have been a worthwhile reminder as to the consequences of her actions without being overly onerous. Her having a business should be immaterial to that decision, as presumably there should be people also working there who could moderately cover her absence associated with the service hours. If not, it’s a very poorly run business.

    • Anonymous says:

      Has a business to run – which includes driving dive boats.

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone very well could have been killed due to her reckless disregard for other people.

      • Anonymous says:

        A man gets thrown in jail for his boat hitting another… I guess judgment is based on a matter of feet. Cathy Church very well could have been a murderer, not only the tourists on the Dive Tech boat, but the 50 some that were in the water snorkeling on the Kittiwake. She should receive a harsher punishment.

    • Anonymous says:

      The only reason no one was killed is because she struck the Divetech boat. There were about 50 snorkelers in the water just on the other side of Divetech. Had she missed the boat, she would have killed some of these snorkelers and injured many others. Age is not an excuse for neglegent behavior that could have caused a fatality. If she had left the seat of her van whist driving in a school zone, what would you say then?

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am glad that Ms. Cathy’s charges were reversed. I don’t know what happened out there, probably one slight mistake but this I know Ms. Cathy loves Cayman and is one of many who works very hard to protect our environment and beauty. Thank you all for your tireless efforts and may God bless you always.

    • Anonymous says:

      One slight mistake can get someone killed. What she did was totally irresponsible. There should have been consequences. Maybe not jail time, but certainly more than a caution.

    • Anonymous says:

      That boat was under power with NOBODY at the helm. Snorkelers could have been killed. People on the other boat gravely injured. There is NO excuse for this and she definitely SHOULD be under penalty! I am sure that the 3 people killed by the other recent incident loved Cayman too!!
      She’s extremely fortunate that no one was injured but she should have her captain’s license and ability to drive a boat revoked at the minimum.

      • Anonymous says:

        Having her license revoked and paying restitution/donation to a local charity would have been suitable. At the very least just to show some accountability. But her reputation took a hit and i’m sure she feels absolutely terrible about it, which might have been taken into consideration. Either way, don’t ghostride your boats people.

        • Anonymous says:

          Her boat license? Wait…

          • wd515 says:

            It’s pretty insane you don’t need a license here when you consider it from an enforcement perspective. If you need one to drive a car why wouldn’t you need one for a big boat? What leverage do officers have? What about drunk driving? I’m assuming if you don’t need a license, don’t need insurance either? Liability? Maybe I just see it differently, or not at Cathy did. (sorry had to)

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately you don’t need a license to drive a boat in Cayman….

        • Anonymous says:

          I didn’t know that. So the conversation would go like, “Who taught you how to drive??” “No one!” “Yes, same here.” – crash –

    • Piers says:

      Wow! I drive a ship and if i hit another ship we have a court of inquiry and most likely i lose my licence. If i kill someone on a mooring deck, by hitting another ship, in a confined space or any myriad of other ways i lose my licence and go to prison.
      When at the helm of a ship, a boat, a paddleboard and any other ‘vessel’ we all have the same responsibilities and penalties in the event that something goes wrong.
      Rule 2 part A of the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea, aka Colregs says “(a). Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.”
      while Part B says “In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.”
      The rules applied to both vessels as they were on the high seas or waters connected therewith.
      This is a travesty and a complete lack of justice.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This is bull shit! I’m sure her age, race and gender had nothing to do with that decision! She would have had the book thrown at her if she was young black male! Facts!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not so sure about that – if she was a drunk caymanian on a sunday in North Sound, I’m pretty sure she would have received even less punishment.

    • Anon says:

      6.55am Are you basing your opinion on the make up of prisoners in Northward?. They have certainly never contributed to society as this lady has. Prison is not the answer,but perhaps community service should have been given as I agree there should be consequences for what she was responsible for.

  14. Anonymous says:


  15. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely disgusting – wonder who’s pulled those strings to ensure this is swept under the carpet?

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