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BVI Boating Safety Week

Chief Marine Surveyor with the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry Captain Pat Nawaratne reported that Boating Safety Week activities however will be extended beyond this week as other related activities will be incorporated throughout the year and into 2011. – An Open House at the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) concluded this week’s activities in observance of Boating Safety Week 2010 under the theme, ‘Make Safety Your First Step, Not Your Last.’

Speaking to students at the official opening ceremony, the Chief Marine Surveyor said, “The observance of safety practices is extremely important to save lives. The most prudent way to avoid accidents and damages is to comply with the safety rules and regulations which have been introduced by the Government.”

He also advised the students about careers available at sea and ashore in the maritime field and encouraged them to consider such options when the time comes to decide on a career.

He added, “Ships and boats which are inspected and certificated by the relevant authorities must maintain the safety standards by regular inspections. We at the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry encourage the policy of compliance rather than enforcement and we are there to help the industry at any time.”

His Excellency the Governor Mr. Boyd McCleary, CMG, CVO in his remarks said, “Tourism is the second pillar of the VI’s economy, and this pillar is substantially supported by the local yachting and boating industry.”

He added, “As a quality tourist destination, it is important that the VI maintains a visible and tangible safety ambiance to encourage our local community and foreign visitors to use our waters with confidence. The development and maintenance of a high standard of ‘safety of life at sea’ is vital for creating a high quality ‘safety culture’ that fosters good safety habits.”

Financial Secretary Mr. Neil Smith chaired the opening ceremony and gave students some research assignments to learn of the Virgin Islands Boating history including the tragedy of the ‘Fancy Me’. He said the Virgin Islands once had a strong tradition of boat building and Captains throughout the Caribbean and were known for the Tortola sloop. He added that as an island archipelago, Boating Safety Week should be every week.

The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Michael Riley the Regional Maritime Training Coordinator for United Kingdom Overseas Territories while Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Social Development, Honourable Dancia Penn, QC. declared the week open.


As part of Boating Safety Week, the VISR and its partners in the marine industry hosted a Safety Fair and Demonstration on Tuesday, which included representatives from the Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR), BVI Ports Authority, H. Lavity Stout Community College, the Department of Disaster Management, the Conservation and Fisheries Department, the Marine Unit of Her Majesty’s Customs and the Lifeguards.

Boating Safety Week is held annually to increase public awareness on the importance of safety of life at sea and to demonstrate relevant survival techniques and safety equipment. The event also allows the public to meet with organisations that provide search and rescue services, safety and survival equipment, sail training and maritime education.

The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry derives its authority for its regulatory functions as the Maritime Administration through the Merchant Shipping Act, 2001. As the Maritime Administration of the Territory they hold the remit for marine safety, prevention of marine pollution, maritime security and the registration of ships.

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