Boat owners in the north of the island erred on the side of caution today, choosing to be safe rather than sorry, as Barbados was spared the direct impact of the first tropical system to threaten the island this hurricane season.
Although the Department of Emergency Management discontinued its tropical storm watch as of 8 a.m. today, the boat owners were busy getting their vessels out of the water and onto higher ground.
Stanton Thomas, who docks his boat at the Millie Ifill fish market in Weston, St James told Barbados TODAY while the system no longer posed a direct threat, they were still taking it seriously.
“We can’t afford to lose our investments just like that. So we won’t be working on the boats today. We are just trying to help the guys get their boats to safety. I have one boat but due to the fact that I have a truck, I’m helping out my friends,” Thomas said.
Several years ago, they ignored a similar advisory, which almost proved costly, he told Barbados TODAY.
Therefore, Thomas said, they had learned their lesson and no longer risk their livelihood.
“Years ago we had an incident where we didn’t take the advisory serious and then we end up in trouble. We had to swim out then take the boats to the complex. So as soon as the guys hear about any weather coming we just take it serious and get to work,’ he said.
Fisherman Everton Hinds was even more emphatic, telling Barbados TODAY as echoed Thomas’ sentiments, that it would be utter stupidity to ignore the warnings.
“Anytime we hear about bad weather we prepare as best as we can. We have learnt well from any eventualities in the past, especially around the marine coast. One thing we do here is early preparation. Anything that we believe is an obstacle we get out the way so in the event that something does happen, we won’t have as big an impact and won’t have much to do in the after effects.
“Even if nothing happens we still want to make sure. I mean that’s common sense. Stupidity is waiting on something to happen when you could have done something from the beginning” Hinds said, while appealing to the Barbadian fishing community to prepare for the hurricane season and take nothing for granted.
Other boat owners such as Leo Greaves were out early securing their boats or assisting their friends, some of whom were preparing to transport the fishing vessels to Port St Charles marina where Chief of Security Kathy Ann Herbert was waiting to provide shelter.
“Every year around this time we would store the majority of the boats and the fishing vessels. Whatever boats we can fit in we store down here . . . . So far we have a couple boats that came in and we are waiting on some catamarans to come down from town. The swells in town would be high; down here is a safe harbour for them so they usually come down. The fishing boats would usually come in about 3 p.m. or depending on the situation,” Herbert said.
When Barbados TODAY arrived at Six Men’s, St Peter just after 9 a.m., it was mainly quiet, with the majority of the boats and their owners already gone.