Belize Tourism Board Recognizes Frontline Hero: Dwayne Garcia

Belize City, Belize, 18th  December 2023: The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is proud to announce and celebrate Dwayne Garcia as the most recent recipient of the Frontline Hero Award. Dwayne’s unwavering dedication and remarkable journey in his role as Coxswain and Captain at the Conservation Compliance Unit (CCU) of the Belize Fisheries Department have made him a shining example of heroism in Belize.

Dwayne Garcia’s passion for the sea and fishing began at an early age, shaped by his father’s profession as a fisherman. His journey to becoming a distinguished figure in Belize’s marine conservation and fisheries enforcement is nothing short of extraordinary.

Dwayne was born on November 5, 1974, in Placencia Village, Belize. His journey to becoming a Coxswain and Captain began when he left his hometown at the age of 16 with a dream to work for the Fisheries Department and experience life out at sea. Though he did not meet the minimum age requirement of 18 for employment, his unwavering determination led him to offer voluntary service to the department, earning only a stipend.

Dwayne’s dedication to serving on the seas was evident when he applied for a Captain’s position at the young age of 18.  Although he was offered a Messenger role at the time, undeterred, he accepted the position, marking the official start of his remarkable journey at the Fisheries Department.

Throughout his career, Dwayne consistently displayed exceptional navigation skills and in-depth knowledge of Belizean waters. In August 1993, he was appointed as Assistant Coxswain at the Belize Fisheries Department. Over the years, he honed his skills, learning to captain the seas from north to south.

In the year 2000, Dwayne’s dedication and passion for his job culminated in a well-deserved promotion, solidifying his reputation as one of Belize’s finest captains. His expertise and boat handling skills have made him a sought-after figure by the tourism sector, various government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

Dwayne’s commitment to professional development is evident through his participation in various training programs including law enforcement, safety, environmental knowledge, and diving certifications. He is a certified PADI Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, and Advanced Open Water Diver.

In 2020, during the challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dwayne’s heroism came to the forefront. Sea piracy became a significant threat in Belize, with fishermen frequently falling victim to violent attacks and robberies at sea. One night, while leading a team of fisheries enforcement officers on a five-day patrol, Dwayne received a distress call about 18 fishermen who had been robbed at sea. In a daring rescue mission, he and his team successfully navigated treacherous waters and brought the stranded fishermen to safety.

Dwayne Garcia is not only known for his exceptional skills but also for his humility and commitment to mentoring the next generation. He ensures the safety of his crew and passengers, regardless of the challenges posed by the time of day or state of the seas, often putting his own safety at risk.

After 30 years of dedicated service, Dwayne Garcia has proven himself to be an asset to marine conservation and fisheries efforts. The BTB proudly recognizes his outstanding contributions and selfless dedication to his role as a Coxswain and Captain.

The BTB congratulates Dwayne Garcia for his dedicated service to Belize. As part of his award, he received a $1,500 cash prize, courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board, and a two-night stay for two at Sirenian Bay Resort & Villas. 

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