Guna Yala Congress Outlaws Sailboat Charters From Panama to Colombia

Saturday, February 09 2013 @ 10:36 am EST

Contributed by: Don Winner

By DON WINNER for -Received today via email: "Don, the Guna Council has banned foreign yachts from chartering in Guna Yala and all other money making efforts.

Lots of the yachties supplement their income by chartering and repairing other vessels. The fine for chartering is $10,000 payable in two days. They went through the anchorages and went to each boat advising. A&C".

Editor's Comment: I have to say that I'm not surprised at all. I first became aware of the deplorable condition of the chartering business while investigating the murders of Don North and Jean Pierre Bouhard. In fact the government of Panama has not been adequately regulating or supervising the charter business, and it's simply unsafe for the people who try to use it. I have received dozens of reports of very dangerous practices, things such as a skipper getting falling down drunk and passing out, and leaving an unskilled young backpacker at the helm, at night, in a storm. I suspect this effort to shut down the unauthorized charters is step one, and step to will be to issue permits to those who have been granted permits and who are authorized to proceed. Let's just hope that the overall safety improves over time. And of course, just because there are a few unsafe operators, I know there are others who are safe and capable and experiences sailors (so no need to blast me with scathing emails).

Copyright 2013 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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