Local ship captain’s campaign for formal licensing of recreational boaters gaining momentum

A Bermuda ship captain is calling for the formal licensing of recreational boaters and believes his efforts are gaining momentum and will happen very soon.

Anthoni Lightbourne, a ship captain for the Department of Marine and Ports, who received his licensed through the Maritime Coastguard Agency in the UK, is trying to educate Bahamian boaters basic boating safety through a series of seminars.

“In light of recent activities and some unfortunate deaths on the water, I am trying to educate people on water safety,” Lightbourne told the Royal Gazette.

“There is no mandatory license for the recreational boats right now in Bermuda; there is only a license for charter boats and people who are carrying paid passengers,” he said. ““I have seen people cut across the ship’s bow when the ship is doing a good speed and they have misjudged the speed of the ship — common sense things that people should be aware of.”

According to the Department of Marine and Ports, there are approximately 7,000 private boats registered on the island.

“There are a lot of incidents on the water, some go reported, some do not. I have been a captain for 11 years and have seen near misses and crashes,” Lightbourne said, adding “There should be a mandatory recreational license and I believe that will happen soon.”