An unfortunate boating accident took the lives of four tourists crossing the narrow straight between Cancun and Isla Mujeres last Monday.
The other mix of 13 passengers and two crew members had to be rescued from the waters by the Mexican Navy, municipal police and some very helpful volunteers in nearby private boats.
The exact reason for the incident is not known at the present time.
However, there were a number of questions about the conditions, including whether or not the boat was overcrowded if the boat was swamped by waves from a passing larger boat, or if the passengers were wearing lifejackets required by local regulations.
There were also reportedly high waves in the area on Monday night.
According to reports, the captain of the boat survived the accident and was taken into custody after the accident.
The incident is a reminder for Mexican Caribbean travelers to take preventative steps to protect themselves when taking a boat trip or tour while enjoying a vacation getaway.
Wear A Life Jacket
The first reminder is one of the most important. Tourists should wear a life jacket when aboard a transport boat, especially in open waters between Cancun and Isla Mujeres.
The narrow strait is not only busy with significant tourist and other traffic but is also known for often having rough wave conditions.
Having adequate safety equipment on board before leaving would help save lives in the event of incidents.
Beware of Overcrowded Boats
Unconfirmed media reports from the incident were reporting that the 26-foot boat with 19 passengers and crew was over the capacity limit of six total passengers at the time of the trip.
If a boat looks crowded or seems like there are many people on the ship, travelers should ask the captain or crew how many people are actually safely allowed on the boat.
Overcrowded boats and ferries are a common issue in tourist beach destinations around the world. There have been several incidents of tourists being put at risk on overcrowded ships.
Tour providers are trying to maximize income at the lowest cost and may not consider the potential safety risks of their actions.
Check Sea Conditions
While tourists aren’t expected to study weather maps before taking a boat trip, they can ask the crew about the sea conditions before boarding. Alternatively, travelers can even take a look out at the waters and see if they look rough or smooth before getting on the boat.
If the conditions are rough and it appears to be a small boat, travelers may want to reschedule the trip not only for their safety but also for the general comfort level of the trip.
Understandably, this is not always possible. However, it might be worth at least asking if it is possible. It’s better to delay a trip if possible to ensure safety and the comfort of the traveler is put first.
What Travelers Need to Know
It was an unfortunate tragedy that took place in the strait between Cancun and Isla Mujeres last Monday, and it probably could have been avoided. More information about the incident will be coming out as the investigation is completed over the next couple of days.
Travelers to Cancun and other places that use boats for transportation in the Mexican Caribbean should take proactive steps before boarding any boat to make sure they are safe and secure on their voyage.
A couple of questions could lead visitors to ensure that extra steps have been taken to provide their protection. Hopefully, this will be the last tragic boating incident in the Mexican Caribbean that could have been avoided in advance.
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