*File photo
*File photo

Statement by  Inspector Robert Cardwell, on behalf of the Marine Police Unit

As we are now into the summer months, activities in and around the waters in Bermuda will increase.  The Bermuda Police Service is committed to its mission of ‘making Bermuda safer’ and ensuring public safety and we will continue to work with our Service partners in the Bermuda Reserve Constabulary and Bermuda Regiment in concert with the Bermuda Water Safety Council through the summer season. 

The BPS Marine Unit will be enforcing laws that govern the safe operation of all marine vessels on the waters.  This includes the enforcement of the 5 knot/no wake zone designated 100 meters from coastal shore lines.  Boat operators must obey this law at all times to avoid accidents with swimmers and damage to property. 

Jet ski operators are reminded that all laws on the water apply to you also.  We are already receiving reports about the dangerous operation of Jet Ski personal watercraft within the 100 meter no wake / 5 knot areas.  The power and speed of some of the more modern Jet Skis require that they be operated responsibly and safely or it is likely serious injury will be suffered by the operator as well as other water users.  

There are requirements for vessels to carry safety equipment when operating inshore and additional safety equipment required when operating offshore.   Members of the public can obtain a pamphlet with this information by visiting the Bermuda Police Service Marine Unit office, or alternatively   by visiting the Water Safety Council web site at www.wsc.bm and clicking on ‘resources’.   Any vessel operator upon inspection by the Marine Police found not to be carrying the appropriate safety equipment can expect to be reported for the offence committed and Police will exercise their authority to order an operator to return the vessel to its dock or moorings.  Failing to comply with this order is also a reportable offence. 

Operators of marine vessels are reminded that there are laws against operating vessels whilst under the influence of alcohol or drug.  The legal limit is under 100mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. 

A reminder to the boating community that public docks are for loading and unloading only.  Vessels should not be left tied to a public dock and unattended.  Public docks are for use by all for the purpose of loading and unloading.   A reportable offence is committed by any person who fails to obey this law. 

The majority of marine accidents happen at night-time.  Operating a marine vessel at night time should only be undertaken by experienced boat operators.  There are various water hazards to be considered including reefs, fixed buoys, islands and floating debris.  Running lights (green-starboard / red-port and white stern) are required.  It is critically important that marine vessels are not run at speed at night-time and that anyone who is operating a marine vessel at night-time has the skill and the local navigational awareness to do so.     

The Bermuda Police Service once again reminds the public that the Marine Police Unit is no longer located at the Barr’s Bay Office.  The Unit is now temporarily located at the Police Comops Building in Prospect, Devonshire before they make their permanent move to new offices in Dockyard expected soon.  Marine Police launches will continue to operate from Barr’s Bay.  There will be no disruption to calls for services or general police patrols of the waterways in and around Bermuda as a result of the office move.  Any Marine Unit inquiries can continue to be made on 247-1770.   

The Bermuda Police Service wishes all a safe and enjoyable summer on the waters.       



Statement by Ralph Richardson, Chairman Bermuda Water Safety Council

The Summer Season is about to begin, and once again, the Bermuda Water Safety Council would like to remind the public of the need to take special precautions to ensure a safe and pleasant season.

The Council’s mission, to promote and encourage water safety, is broad and includes any potential threat that may result  when one is close to the water, whether near the ocean or land based water sources such as swimming pools and open water tanks etc.

Last year there were numerous near drownings, and once again we would like to remind parents and guardians how quickly children can get into trouble when near the ocean or swimming pool.  Most child accidents around the water are caused by inattention. 

Remember to ensure that someone responsible is watching young children at all times when near the water.

This year, the Council is emphasizing safe boat handling and the marine rules of the road.  We would like to encourage boaters to become more aware of the basic rules when approaching other vessels, to become knowledgeable of the safety equipment aboard, and proper mooring and docking techniques. 

In April of this year, nearly 60 people participated in a Water Safety Council boating safety seminar at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.  Participants were rotated through 5 areas of safe boat handling.  The seminar was mostly hands-on as most of the rotations were on boats out on the water.

The feedback from participants was that more of such sessions should be held. Therefore the Council is already planning another safety seminar in the fall of this year.  These sessions may once again include the use of rockets and flares.

Please visit our website or our Facebook site to find out how you can become a safer boater.  We would especially encourage new boaters to enroll in one of several boating and piloting courses such as those at the Bermuda College, the Warwick Community School and the Royal Yachting Association power boat course at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Some local insurers offer discounts to those who have taken boat safety courses.

Finally we would like to acknowledge the role of the Marine Police as they work diligently to encourage and enforce safe boating in Bermuda.  We appreciate their support and look forward to working with them throughout this year’s boating and swimming season. We wish everyone a safe summer.