EDITOR, The Tribune.
I am an avid swimmer, as are many Bahamians and visitors who utilise Goodman’s Bay. For many years, I have used Goodman’s Bay for my form of exercise, swimming the equivalent length of the beach from the eastern parking lot to the western parking lot. Afterward doing water exercises that require not touching the sea bottom. The total exercise routine may take up to two hours.
The area becomes a potential killing zone when frequent storms destroy the buoy line that is supposed to protect swimmers from the apparently maniacal, mindless, careless, insolent, etc... profit-driven operators of jet skis and some other watersport equipment, including large inflatable watercraft. Jet ski operators routinely outrageously speed up and down the shoreline, performing tricks on the machines that may include standing on one foot, holding on with one hand, standing backwards, etc. I can only surmise to show-off. These all in the swimming zone so as to be seen.
The now non-existent buoy line effectively separated swimmers from watercraft. Swimming along or within the buoy line is effortless once it is in place. Without the line, a swimmer has to constantly stop and pick your head up out of the water to see where approaching engine noises are located, and if necessary swim for your life.
Just In the past few weeks, I have had jet ski operators come so close to me as to spray me with their wake, as they hurl insults to me as to why I am in their way while speeding up and down at breakneck speed very close in along the shoreline, shouting out to prospective tourists walking the beach in an attempt to secure business. Frequently, the jet ski operators will speed all the way onto the beach sand, while first weaving in between persons in the water, as they either proposition business on the beach, or pick up friends for joy rides. This should never happen in the swim zone!
I recently witnessed and overheard one jet ski operator tell a tourist long-distance swimmer to get out of the way and go into the shore or else risk being run over — this while the swimmer would clearly have been within the buoy line had it been there. This poor swimmer was harassed several times as she swam all the way to the Goldwynn Resort and back up the beach. Beachgoers, including tourists, and Bahamians with children and babies just wading in the water also complain about the carelessness and indifference which characterise the behaviour of these jet ski operators.
Goldwynn Resort has a fabulous buoy line which they obviously maintain through weather conditions as it’s always intact, with guests operating various non-motorised watercraft within the area. This line extends well into the ocean so that guests have freedom to operate. As a beachgoer, I should be able to operate a non-motorised watercraft with a protected buoy line as well. The buoy line should extend from the jet ski ramp to the west of the beach all the way to Goldwynn Resort.
I am begging the relevant authorities... whether that’s the Port Department or the police marine division - to restore and maintain the Goodman’s Bay buoy line so that it is always in place. Additionally, a police marine patrol should be stationed to patrol up and down the beach to ensure compliance by the watercraft operators.
Swimming for your life during a recreational activity is no fun.
May 25, 2023