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Old 25-04-2007, 10:21   #1
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best defense against boat boys

? What is the best defense against boat boys around the world ?

Some say give them candy/dollars, send'em on there way.

Some say to buy one of whatever they sell.

Some say yell at them to go away. (show of force)

Some say you have to pay for a boat guard every time (while away on land)


I'm a charterer, not a cruiser, so i know i am more likely to be targeted for simple theft than a cruiser, but i'd like to hear everyones thoughts.

If you say, 'pepper spray' where do you get it, online? bring it with you from the US/Germany/wherever you're from? buy it local? what kind?

specifics....
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Old 25-04-2007, 12:10   #2
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Got any makeup or red berries on board? Good, squash 'em around your exposed flesh and holler in the native language "Pox! Quarantine! Stay back!"

Hit the right words and they'll run away fast enough.
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Old 25-04-2007, 12:23   #3
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Boat Boys . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by danedee
? What is the best defense against boat boys around the world ?
I cannot offer any reccomendations based on direct experience, but I would respectfully suggest that, as in just about all human contact anywhere, you can pretty much expect to get back what you put out. So, if you come into contact with those you call "Boat Boys," I would think that your attitude will dictate what you come away from that experience with.

In the meantime, I will attach a link below to a website put together by a Canadian sailor who keeps his boat in charter in SVG. The link is to a page on his site that gives a lot of information from his point of view on dealing with "Boat Vendors," as he calls them.

The Usual Suspects - Boat Boys of The Grenadines

Although that page only deals with the SVG area, and other nearby islands, I hope that it contains some information that is valuable to you. And, unless you are absolutely certain that someone approaching your vessel means to do you harm, forget all that pepper spray nonsense.

TaoJones
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Old 25-04-2007, 12:24   #4
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My advice is based on a few years in the Eastern Caribbean.

The boat boys are working hard to obtain something difficult to come by on many islands, cash. Don't use a "show of force" or be insulting. Respect Mon!

Don't give them money and send them on their way. It will be hard for the others to resist coming by if they see that happen.

If they have some fruit or other item that you can use then part with a few EC$. Get the name of the guy and tell any others that come by that you are dealing with that one seller.

If you don't want anything they have tell them so but be friendly about it. Don't be afraid to just talk to them.

I never considered paying for a boat guard anywhere. Theft does occur. Be sure to lock your boat when you leave it and don't leave a lot of stuff laying around in the cockpit when your out.

In most harbors that are worked by boat boys they have a vested interest in not having thefts occur.

I can't imagine what good pepper spray will do you other than perhaps giving you an opportunity to meet local officials if you spray one of merchants in the harbor.

Bob Stewart
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Old 25-04-2007, 12:31   #5
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Given you are a stranger in town I'm not seeing how pepper spray is going to do you much good at making people like you. We are talking about children. Pepper spray a local child and you might end up with more trouble than you can imagine. Pepper spray is considered a weapon in many countries and possession could be considered criminal. Actually using it would be far worse. People in small towns know everyone except you no matter where you go!

It's not hard to be nice without giving away large sums of money. Having a friendly conversation costs you nothing and shows the type of person you are. Paying for something of value or hiring a service is not a bad thing if you is something you want. Introducing yourself and being friendly generally gets a similar response. Local people everywhere generally are very helpful when you act in kind.

You can do a lot to avoid being a target of crime but being nice would be at the top of the list. Kids hitting up the tourists for a quick buck are not the same people bent on criminal activities. Not leaving valuables on deck and staying in contact with other boats as well as watching out for each other all are free and very effective.

Quote:
I'm a charterer, not a cruiser, so i know i am more likely to be targeted for simple theft than a cruiser,
I can't see how that would be true.
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Old 25-04-2007, 13:18   #6
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I used to ask them to bring grape fruits and bannas. I never had trouble with them and even took a tour up the river with the boat boys. I think they are trying to make some money... find something to pay them for and interact with some local kids... Isn't that part of cruising?

After all it is THEIR country ain't it?
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Old 25-04-2007, 13:32   #7
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Yeah, you don't have to "defend" against those kids. If you're chartering (meaning you are renting out your boat? or are you renting a bareboat?), you are going to want to be friendly to everyone.

These kids are doing what they know how to survive and help their families.

There is absolutely NO reason to even think about pepper spraying a child. I'm not even sure how that thought has even crossed your mind, but we'll let that slide.

Don't go to the islands expecting to have an "American" experience. Go there with an open mind, talk to the kids and see what they're about. Mostly, they just want to sell you stuff like Def Jef mentions above. Sometimes they peddle crafts as well. They don't steal anything and are certainly not going to board your boat.... they're scared of you also, remember.... they're just kids.
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Old 25-04-2007, 14:29   #8
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WOW,

I just re-read my original post up top, and it seems that i gave the impression that i think boat boys are a threat, which i don't....

As everywhere i've traveled, from Qatar to Ireland, you get more with honey than with vinegar is the rule rather than the exception.

And i certainly hope noone thinks i would pepperspray a child unless myself or family was in grave danger and i had no other means of defense! lol

The Usual suspects webpage was the type of response i was looking for...
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Old 25-04-2007, 14:35   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danedee
WOW,

I just re-read my original post up top, and it seems that i gave the impression that i think boat boys are a threat, which i don't....

The Usual suspects webpage was the type of response i was looking for...
It's so good to read your clarification, danedee - I wouldn't for a minute think a member here would sanction violence.

And I'm happy, as well, that the link to The Usual Suspects page on boat boys proved useful.

TaoJones
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Old 25-04-2007, 14:41   #10
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Quote:
The Usual Suspects page on boat boys proved useful.
It's quite accurate. I met one in St Lucia and though the web page makes them sound the worst they are quite the same. This guy gets up before dawn and takes a 2 hour bus ride each way to get to his boat that he loads beyond capacity with fruit and vegetables and tours the island till the end of the day and takes the long bus trip home.

These really are folks that work for a living and are almost without exception quite the show and to be enjoyed. They enjoy doing what they do. You also find a lot of kids that hang around the anchorage and sometime people are fearful of them, but they are just kids like any place else.
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Old 30-04-2007, 23:09   #11
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Aloha, I think...

Whew. Stop and read your note brah. I don't know where you're from, but I don't want to visit. Pepper spray???

You find whatever you're looking for when you cruise, and by the sounds of it you're looking for trouble.

No one would suggest that you act foolishly, but as pointed out by others, these are people (mostly children) who are usually just trying to put food on the table. And your first thot of someone approaching your boat is to nuke them with pepper spray? How bad are you going to feel when you find out that the lagoon you're anchored in is considered by them as their front yard, and apart from your bad manners of not 'asking permission' from the local village, the people you sprayed were paddling out to give you a stalk of bananas or some guavas or jackfruit?

Please, wherever you're from, stay there. Don't come to my part of the world... we'll ask you to go home and learn some manners, learn some aloha, and then you can come back.

And finally, yes, the Coconut telegraph is alive and well. You'd be surprised how small the world is. Your 'name' will often preceed your travels throughout the Pacific; whether you have a kind, joyful, and gracious heart, or whether you're suspicious and quick to think the worst of everyone.

I pray you'll develop a true aloha spirit.

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Old 30-04-2007, 23:33   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuapa'a
Aloha, I think...
Whew. Stop and read your note brah. I don't know where you're from, but I don't want to visit. Pepper spray???
You find whatever you're looking for when you cruise, and by the sounds of it you're looking for trouble.
John Kuapa'a
Kuapa'a,

Don't forget to read through the whole thread before you respond broseph, this guy just made nice a few lines back so don't verbally destroy him just yet.

Also, It is really nice to read through all of these posts and see how conscientious everyone is about traveling and not representing themselves as the "fat Americans". It is easy to forget that if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford the cruising lifestyle then you are more fortunate than most. It is good to hear that this is not a fate that has befallen most members of this forum.

Cruisers are a bunch of smart dudes and dudets.
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Old 30-04-2007, 23:45   #13
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My very sincere apologies for any unkind words... my intent was never to verbally abuse, I suppose I just got carried away with something I feel very passionate about. We see far too many ugly tourists.

Mahalo,

John
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Old 01-05-2007, 13:34   #14
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no apology needed, as i read your post, i realized you probably hadn't read my 'retraction' of sorts....

most of the replies i got were in line with yours, (and with good reason the way i worded my first post).

Quote:
Please, wherever you're from, stay there. Don't come to my part of the world... we'll ask you to go home and learn some manners, learn some aloha, and then you can come back.
I'm from America by the way.... where're you from?
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Old 01-05-2007, 14:06   #15
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The following is a TRUE STORY.

Setting: St. Georges, Grenada. Boxing Day, Dec 26, some years ago.

Christmas winds had been howling for our entire passage from the BVI. Not gentle breezes, they. We had 40-45 knots forward of the beam for 3 days and nights during the 416nm passage. Eighteen to 20 foot seas. Not our idea of fun.

Made landfall about 2AM, but in those days the shoreline was completely unlit. We hove to on the offshore tack until first light. A bit battered but none the worse for our "ordeal", we pulled into a marina in St. Georges just before 11AM.

The boat boys of Grenada have a reputation, far and wide. Many folks have had trouble with them, ranging from petty theft to physical confrontations. These are not children. They are young adult males who are desperately poor and who are trying to earn a few EC from the obviously wealthy (by their standards) yachties.

As we pulled up to the dock, one of my prankster crew donned a Halloween mask....sort of a Silas Marner look, with a hooked nose and very pale flesh. He stood at the shrouds with a dockline in hand, ready to toss it to the waiting boat boys.

As we drew nearer to the dock, I watched their faces. Expectation. Then mild curiosity, then perplexed looks, outright disbelief and then........raucous laughter! They got it!

Ken regaled them with tales of our passage, and we asked them for directions and bought a couple of small items.

Two days later the boat boys went for a little sail themselves. They were watching a nice 35' sloop for an American lady who was in the States, and she'd given them permission to sail it whenever they liked. So they did. A nice Saturday afternoon outing.

We were ready for them when they returned to the dock. We stood there to take their lines, and badgered them with the same sorts of offers they usually extend to visiting yachties....cars, bananas, laundry, tour guides, etc.

They bent over with laughter, as we kept it up. Maybe a nice young girl? A boy, perhaps? How about a genuine Grenada tour?

As you might imagine from the foregoing, we never had a moment's worry or problem from these boat boys.

They were just like people everywhere....trying to get along in a tough world.

Bill
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