Tourists are risking their lives in some unsafe boats

Despite three recent tragedies in the Gulf of Nicoya boat captains still are taking chances with the lives of tourists, according to the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas.

There is an economic motive because fishing for food species still is prohibited in the gulf as an environmental restriction.

The coast guard said it checked out eight boats this week and found two that were in violation. The agency said that many of these crafts are supposed to be for fishing and not to transport tourists.

One boat was overtaken in the bay off Tambor on the Nicoya peninsula.

Another boat was at anchor off Isla Tortuga when a patrol boat arrived. The coast guard said the only person on board, the captain,
threw himself into the sea to escape questioning. He fled onto the island. That stoppedboat082615boat, too, went to Caldera.

Some violations are technical, and some are life-threatening. Some boats travel distances much further than they are permitted. And there are life jackets either missing or in bad repair as well as inadequate radio communication devices, said the coast guard. Inspections for certificates of navigability are supposed to include looking over the equipment.

The coast guard reported that some boat captains remained in port over the weekend because they knew that patrol boats were seeking out violations.

Two small boats overturned in accidents that resulted in deaths near Golfito this year.

In addition, there was the sinking of a 90-foot tourist catamaran Jan. 8 in which three persons died and 106 were dumped into the sea. There were scrambles for life jackets when the catamaran began to sink, and there were insufficient life jackets in the two later mishaps.

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