The United States government has a stern warning for anyone — including cruise passengers — visiting Nassau in The Bahamas: Avoid jet ski rides near the popular tourist spots. This warning includes offers of jet ski rides at the popular Cabbage Beach and Cable Beach near the Atlantis Resort.
The reason? Sexual assaults among jet skis operators happen, often to American tourists.
Each year millions of cruise passengers call on the port of Nassau. As the closest beaches to the cruise pier, Cabbage and Cable Beach can be packed, with literally thousands of beach-goers hitting the sand.
It’s not hard to see why it’s such a hotspot. With soft, white-sand beaches and crystal blue water, the beach itself looks straight from a postcard.
Of course, anywhere that there are tourists there are going to be vendors. These beaches are no different. It’s common for people to walk by selling everything from Coca-Cola to trinkets to parasailing rides and yes, jet ski rides.
These rides can be dangerous for far more reasons than just the speed and excitement that comes along with riding the watercraft.
According to the Nassau Guardian, “In August 2015, the British, Canadian, and American governments warned their citizens traveling to The Bahamas to be wary of jet ski operators.
“The Canadians said that water sports rental operators have reportedly sexually assaulted Foreigners.
“The British lamented the ‘poorly regulated’ water sports industry in The Bahamas and said that every year people are ‘killed or seriously injured using jet skis and other watercraft carelessly’.
“In 2014, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau said that at least three Americans, including a minor were allegedly assaulted by jet ski operators on Paradise Island.”
In fact, there are many stories of jet ski operators taking their passengers to secluded spots nearby and making sexual advances.
One tourist recently recounted her experience, as described by Tribune242.com, a Bahamanian news website:
“I went on the jet ski with my friends and they took me alone to an island with eight other employees of the jet skis and tried putting their privates in my mouth.
“Thankfully I got away and it wasn’t a repeat of the Natalee Holloway situation,” the user wrote, referring to the American teen who went missing on holiday in Aruba in 2005 and was declared dead in 2012.”
In fact, the issue is so bad that the U.S. Embassy has barred its employees from renting jet skis at the beach, urging American citizens to avoid them as well.
A recent warning to Spring Breakers headed to The Bahamas put the message in no uncertain terms:
“Jet ski operators continue to commit sexual assaults and other crimes against tourists, including U.S. citizens. U.S. Embassy personnel are instructed not to use jet ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands, including Cabbage Beach and Cable Beach. We strongly recommend you also avoid patronizing jet ski rental operations.”
It should be noted that literally millions of cruise passengers call on Nassau each year, and a tiny percentage of them are the victim of sexual assaults or other crimes. Still, if it happens to you, it doesn’t matter how small the odds are. That’s why cruise passengers should know of the dangers associated with jet ski rentals, and follow the advice of the U.S. government to avoid them.