The first time I took a speedboat in Thailand was from Khao Lak to the island of Surin. This was in January, when temperatures are hot and seas are calm.
We sat at the back and hardly felt anything, other than hearing the loud noise from the engines. This was a three-engine speedboat carrying 30-40 people.
The next day we went to Koh Ta Chai. Like a fool I raced onto the boat and wanted to sit right at the front. This was a big mistake.
The boat was smaller and lighter than the day before, and had just 20 – 30 people onboard. There were just two engines.
The nature of speedboats is that the front rises up and each time it hits a ripple in the sea, it bounces up and slams down. When you sit at the front of the boat you feel the force of this. It’s worse in lighter boats.
Passengers sitting at the front get thrown up in the air the slam hard back down on the seating. It isn’t pleasant, and if you didn’t have a bad back before, you will have afterwards.
It was so bad I had to move inside the boat towards the back.
Remember, this was in January when seas are calm and the swell is low. The two tourists killed after a boat capsized off Koh Samui were travelling in May, the start of the rainy season when storms roll in and the sea is rough.
It’s easy to imagine how much this boat would have been bouncing around. Plus, the area where the accident happened is said to experience strong winds.
Now, any captain in charge of a speedboat should know about this and take precautions – namely going slower in this region.
There have been no accounts published yet from survivors, but it will be interesting to see what they say about the spatain and how fast the boat was going.