caribbean destinations, cayman
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Different districts, different traditions, one people

Maritime Heritage

Completely surrounded by some of the deepest waters in the world, the sea was an intrinsic part of life for early Caymanians. From the sea turtles and its vitality to the Caymanian diet, to its location being a favorite of pirates, the Cayman Islands were largely founded on a rich maritime heritage. Caymanians looked to the sea for their livelihood. Fishermen, coat captains, skippers, deck hands, and rope makers were a vital part to the Cayman economy and to everyday life. This rich maritime heritage is one that continues even to this day.

maritime heritage of cayman

For about two hundred years, the bulk of Caymanians survived on the fruits of the sea. Bordered by gorgeous reefs teeming with marine life, Caymanians made catboats to go fish at these nearby reefs. Their efforts were tireless; eventually Caymanians were recognized as master shipbuilders. Over the years there have been literally hundreds of schooners, catboats, skiffs and, in later years, even motor vessels built on Cayman shores.

Men also foraged far and wide across the Western Caribbean aboard turtle schooners to bring back meat for turtle stew. Further proving themselves in the Maritime world, Caymanians became known as first class mariners, sought after by the largest shipping companies as captains, navigators and crew for their vessels.

Among the plethora of Grand Cayman attractions is The National Museum in Grand Cayman, keeping Caymanian history alive. The National Museum tells the fascinating story of the Cayman Islands with traditional catboats and other natural history specimens on view. 

Experience the rich history of the Cayman Islands, one of the top Caribbean destinations. Many attractive modern-day career opportunities exist in the Maritime sector, including naval architecture, marine engineering, maritime administration, nautical studies, and more.

Hints & Tips

  • While driving around each island notice the blue and white signs that tell the maritime story about that location. 
  • The Elmslie Memorial Church on Harbour Drive in George Town is made from the wood of a shipwreck.