I recently read a post on LinkedIn, wherein a gentleman from Canada shared a story about his extended family's Christmas vacation. In this post, he mentioned that his family and the family of his wife's sister all traveled to Costa Rica for the Holidays. For one of their excursions, they decided to take a ride on a tour boat. At some point on the excursion, they slowed the boat near the shore to watch some turtles mating.
As they were idling near the shore, his wife noticed some smoke coming from the front of the boat. She promptly alerted the crew of 3 and was told there were no worries. A short time later, one of the children on the boat noticed smoke and flames coming up form the aft section of the boat. The crew quickly took things seriously and gathered and threw life jackets to the two families. All of the family members and crew jumped ship and safely swam to shore, with only some minor abrasions collected on members from the coral along the beach.
Some time soon after everyone reached the shore the boat became engulfed in flames and subsequently exploded. The boat was completely destroyed and sank to the bottom of the ocean along with the wallets of both fathers. The crew members began to walk back towards the town of the boat launch to secure some vehicles to safety transport the families back to town. Nearby neighbors were coming to the beach to investigate the explosion and the crew sent those folks to assist the Canadian families.
In recounting these events the Canadian father indicated that Costa Ricans were more than kind and helpful after this devastating event. The owner of the boat went so far as to provide them with some money to help them recover from the incident and the local hotel was more than accommodating to them.
The owners of the boat conducted a salvage scuba dive and not surprisingly, the boat was declared a total loss and in Costa Rica there is no insurance to cover the loss of the boat. However, they did find and return the wallet of the other father.
He concluded his post, to share that the event was scary, at the time, however he felt so taken care of by the crew, boat owner and the people of Costa Rica.
After reading his post, I had several questions. So, I reached out to him to ask if I could query his experience further. He made me promise that in no way would I seek to exploit the information or harm the boat operators. I promised that the purpose of my questions would lead to generating some travel tips for my subscription list.
I asked three specific questions:
Q) I asked if there was any boating safety training provided to them upon or prior to boarding the vessel. Including a demonstration of how to don a life jacket?
A) He stated that there was no safety training shared at all.
Q) I asked how they were able to make do afterwards without his wallet?
A) He indicated it was not to bad other than having to replace everything, because his wife had left her wallet behind. I also asked if he would do something differently in the future, of which he stated "Yes". I waited in hopes that he would say, "I would ask for some basic safety information prior to boarding another vessel", instead he responded with "I would purchase one of those water proof baggies to put your wallet and cell phone inside." Not to say that the waterproof bag is a bad idea, I just really hoped that he would have had a bigger takeaway of ensuring the safety of his family with basic boating safety messages.
Although, I really shouldn't be surprised, how many times am I on a plane about to depart and the flight attendants are giving their "safety talk" wherein most of the passengers are engaged in some other activity. Rarely do I see others paying attention to the flight crew and almost never do I see folks look around to identify their nearest exit door.
Why is this? I think it is much like why many people don't prepare. They simply think it won't happen to me. Yet, inherently it will happen to someone and that someone could be you. So, the next time you are on a flight or decide to take a local or vacation excursion be the one who asks for the safety talk and listen.