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Two Separate Boating Accidents in Bocas Area, Including Three Dead

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Three dead in Bocas boating accident

Sinaproc rescuers
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THREE people  died, two women and a child when a boat overturned in Bahía Azul, district of Kusapín in the Ngäbe-Buglé district, of Bocas del Toro  on Sunday afternoon, January 14

Sebastián Castillo director of the Civil Protection System  (Sinaproc) in Bocas del Toro, said that the tragedy occurred when the boat Doña Roda carrying  17 people overturned in rough water in the area.

Sinaproc personnel rescued 14 passengers, in Punta Toroquí some with minor injuries and a child with a fractured shoulder.

The boat was heading for Isla Colon, scene of an earlier overturning, where seven passengers were rescued



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Boating Accident Leaves Three Dead in Bocas Area
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7 rescued  from overturned boat with impaired captain

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FIVE  ADULTS and two children   who were aboard a  tourist boat that overturned in Bocas Del Toro  were rescued  by The Joint Task Force (FTC) on  Saturday afternoon, January 13,

The captain of the boat which was traveling from Playa Estrella to Isla Colón tested positive when given a blood alcohol test.

After their rescue, the passengers were taken to a health center for a medical review.

In a recent Bocas capsizing incident two boatloads of tourists spent 30 minutes in the water trying to swim to a small island and spent a night there while an air and sea search mission was underway.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Two Separate Boating Accidents in Bocas Area, Including Three Dead
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Captain Of  Boat With Three Deaths, Impaired

Jose Donderis
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THE CAPTAIN  of the  Bocas Del Toro boat that sailed in an overcrowded boat in bad weather leading to the deaths of three passengers on Sunday,  Jan. 14 was the second captain on the weekend to register impaired after a blood alcohol test.

The captain of the boat decided to set sail on Bahia Azul in Kusapín, in the Ngäbe-Buglé comarca despite the warning of rain, wind gusts and lightning, putting at risk the life of the occupants. Not satisfied with this, he scored positive. on a breathalyzer test says Civil Protection System  (Sinaproc) Director, Jose Donderis

On Saturday tJan.13 seven people (5 adults and 2 children) were rescued off Playa Estrella when the boat carrying them overturned. They had to be rescued and taken to the nearest hospital center for evaluation. The captain of the boat was breathalyzed and found to be over the limit.

The  Sinaproc director is analyzing new rigorous measures for boatmen and captains although he did not specify what kind of sanctions will be applied

Weather outlook

The unseasonable cold front is continuing, creating adverse conditions with winds, rains and high waves. Over  45% of the beaches and spas in the country were displaying red flags over the weekend



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These are the requirements for getting a boat Captains license in Panama: ( I wonder how many actually go through this and how strongly it is enforced?)

Note No mention of insurance or inspection of boats.


1.      Certificate of course completion of “Basic Course for Mariners in National Waters  *

2.      Certificate of Good Health from a doctor or clinic

3.      License fee paid to Banco Nacional

4.      Form completion at AMP, finger prints, photo, signature

*    If you hold a current USCG license, this course certificate will be issued to you without taking the course.  Of course, a fee still must be paid.


Edited by TwoSailors
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 Top 10 Boating accident causes:

  • 1. Operator Inattention (#2 cause for fatalities) – Staying attentive at all times while boating is critical as a boat operator. Being the main cause of accidents proves the ease of distraction while boating. 
  • 2. Improper Lookout (#7 cause for fatalities) – Similar to operator inattention, not properly having your surrounding visible is the second highest cause of boating accidents. A boat operator needs to have unobstructed views around the vessel to ensure a clear path.
  • 3. Operator Inexperience (#5 cause for fatalities) – Boating does not require much education, by law, therefore many operators are not experienced or educated properly. Not only is it a good idea to take a boating education class but building up experience operating a boat is absolutely necessary. 
  • 4. Excessive Speed (#6 cause for fatalities) – Maintaining a safe speed, depending on many factors, is imperative for turning and avoiding other vessels. 
  • 5. Machinery Failure (#9 cause for fatalities) – Maintaining a boat is a large part of ownership responsibility. Being the 5th cause of boating accidents proves the importance of keeping a well maintained vessel.
  • 6. Alcohol Use (#1 cause for fatalities) – – Even though alcohol related accidents comes in as the 6th leading cause it remains the #1 cause of fatal boating accidents.
  • 7. Navigation Rules Violation (#8 cause for fatalities) – Believe it or not, boating has proper navigation rules. Knowing these rules can save your life from a head on collision. 
  • 8. Force of Wave or Wake (#10 cause for fatalities) – Weather related waves or artificially caused wakes from other vessels can be tragic if not navigated properly. Understanding how to proceed over these will prevent anything from passenger ejections to full role overs.
  • 9. Hazardous Waters (#3 cause for fatalities) – Many types of hazardous waters can be the culprit of a boat accident. If boating on a holiday weekend thousands of boats can cause congestion to the point of highly dangerous waters. Strong currents, shallow water, rocks, and many other hazards can cause a major accident.
  • 10. Weather (#4 cause for fatalities) – Knowing the forecast and closely monitoring the skies while boating is a must for boaters. The dangers that can arise from a severe storm, especially on a large bodies of water can be disastrous. Some weather storms are powerful enough to capsize smaller vessels leaving passengers in extremely dangerous situations.
Edited by TwoSailors
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On 1/15/2018 at 9:05 AM, Moderator_02 said:


On 1/16/2018 at 7:31 AM, Moderator_02 said:



Homicide charges for impaired boat operator

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THE OPERATOR   of a boat that overturned in Bocas  Del Toro leading to the deaths of. three passengers is facing a culpable homicide investigation.

Two women and an eight-year-old girl died in the incident  The tragedy occurred in the community of Torqui, district of Kusapín on Sunday, January 14.  A breathalyser test showed the boat captain was impaired.

The 34-year-old man has to report to authorities twice a month and is forbidden to leave the province for a period of six months while the investigation continues. His outboard motor commercial operating license has been suspended.

The court, on Friday, January  19,  ordered psychological treatment was for the accused and the survivors.



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