Camping season gets underway
The Aruban Police Department recommends some guidelines for a pleasant and safe camping season.
Prevention is better than a pound of cure and in this spirit the police offers some tips for the avid campers.
There are several spots on Aruba where it is possible to go camping, however one must have the necessary permit and adhere to the camping rules.
Campers are also expected to set rules for their members so that the camping experience takes place in a safe and festive environment. Camping without accidents is to the benefit of all concerned, hence the guidelines.
You must first have a permit to go camping along the beaches, in the ' cunucu ' (woods) or in the Parke Arikok. Not having a permit may result in a fine by the police and other consequences such as cleaning up the material you left behind. The favorite place to camp is along the beaches and this brings with it an agglomeration of people with various consequences.
Some recommended guidelines are:
- Never let small children in the sea without the supervision of an adult who can swim. In the case of a big group of children the supervising adult should stay on shore to watch them and frequently do a head count.
- Bring no valuables with you when camping. Mind you, there may be sociopathic individuals who will take advantage of the opportunity, especially if you are too busy or if you go to sleep. The thieves know all the tricks. Keep all valuables at a bank in a safe deposit box.
- Taking along a first aid kit with creams for sunburn, wound disinfectant, bandages, plasters for smaller wounds etc. is a must.
- Mobile phones must always be fully charged in case of an emergency. Use the car battery to do that.
- Fire fighting equipment is necessary when you are going to cook.
- Make very clear agreements as to who will keep watch through the night ‘till the morning.
- Do not use glass ware. They can break and shards may lie in the sand and injure someone.
- Use paper/plastic cups, plates and dishes. Should you find bottles or other glass ware on the beach be a good citizen and properly dispose of them (in the trash can).
- Do not take animals such as horses, dogs or cats along to your campsite. It is forbidden and it brings discomfort and risks.
- If you are using a boat, be responsible. There are rules you must adhere to just as in traffic. For example swimmers take precedence over boats, jet ski etc. If you should hit a swimmer 99.9% of the time you are wrong! Sailing boats have right of way. Traffic from the right has right of way. Within a distance of fifty feet you may not ride unto the sea shore in your boat at high speed nor ride from the sea shore into the water at high speed. You may not operate a vessel if you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. You must also be licensed to operate a vessel. Stick to the rules to avoid accidents. The boat’s rope which is used to keep the boat attached to land should not swing loosely. In compliance with the law it must be straight and sturdy to avoid people from stumbling over the rope especially in the dark.
There are people who choose to be camp in the ' mondi '. This also has its dangers and the Police would like to bring a number of concerns to your attention.
- Be sure to have a first aid kit with you and watch the little children. They can injure themselves with cacti or other wild shrub.
- If someone falls from a high rock and you suspect that he/she has a broken limb do not move him/her if you do not know how bad the injury is. Call 911 and the police and keep the person calm until the help arrives.
- Watch for rattlesnakes especially in the area around Parke Arikok where the population has grown tremendously. Because they are difficult to see you can easily step on them and consequently be bitten by one. When they find themselves on "red soil" they change color. They turn white or grey appearing like dry leaves and are therefore difficult to see. If you see one do not kill it. Bear in mind that the rattlesnakes are part of our fauna and you are the invader. Call the police at number 100 and they will notify the Park Rangers. They will catch the snakes and bring them to a safer place.
- Do not touch any boa! They are not poisonous and neither are they large enough to devour a human being, however, their bite is horrible. Call the police who in turn will call the Park Rangers. They know how to deal with it.
- Do not start any fire in the ' mondi '.When cooking use a stove suitable for camping or a bbq pit and use these responsibly. Be sure to have a fire extinguisher with you. If a ' cunucu'-fire occurs, use sand to put it out and call the authorities.
- When using quad racers, jeeps etc. off-road, be sure to wear a helmet and appropriate clothing for in case you fall. Drive responsibly and go with an experienced guide.
- Always take enough cold water with you and stay in the shade to avoid dehydration or suffering a heat stroke.
- If you are going camping in a remote area, inform the nearest police station and the Park Rangers as to where you are located via 582-8001. Invite the police to visit the camp site to familiarize themselves with the environment should there be an emergency.
Do not leave your own home unattended. Go home regularly to take a look around and arrange with family members to keep an eye out for you. Turn the lights on in the evening and draw the curtains. During the day turn the lights off and open the curtains. Ask the neighbors to pick up your newspaper. You can also have a security company install an alarm system with a verifiable monitoring system or one that automatically connects to your mobile. Do not leave any valuables at home if there is no one there. Ask family members to keep your stuff for a few days.
For more information you can always call the Department of Prevention and Education of the Aruba Police Department via phone number 527-2900 ext 975 or 976.
The Aruban Police Department wishes you a happy and safe camping season.