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Old 27-07-2013, 03:49   #1
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Security

I am thinking of cruising to the Caribbean this fall from Marathon in the Fl Keys. We have done the Bahamas for years as far as Rum Cay. My concern is security. I have read on many websites where crime is up throughout the Caribbean especially the farther south one travels. The state department says to categorically stay away from Venezuela. It has also been reported that boats have been boarded while traveling from St. Vincent to Trinidad. These pirates usually travel in pirogues and carry guns and machetes. They have even killed some captains and maimed crew. Many boats have been vandalized while at anchor throughout the Caribbean even having dinghies stolen while chained to the deck. The state dept says to avoid isolated anchorages, avoid the west side of St. Vincent, etc.. Boats anchored while crew are ashore or asleep have been boarded and ransacked. Seems like the further south you go the worst it is. Venezuela is reported to be lawless and many of the of the boats traveling that area and to the north as far as St. Vincent have been targeted.

Since I have no experience in this cruising area I am wondering if these reports are accurate and if crime against boaters is on the rise in the Caribbean. Is it safe to cruise and anchor throughout the Caribbean especially the further south one goes?

We have had no issues in the Bahamas except Nassau which has gotten progressively worse over the years. The out islands have been great.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated so I can plan my trip accordingly.
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Old 27-07-2013, 04:10   #2
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Re: Security

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jrs1958.
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Old 27-07-2013, 05:15   #3
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Re: Security

Yes, you are right Venezuela is lawless and you shouldn't go there.
St Vincent is difficult.

Any place you can be randomly attacked if you have no security (i dont mean guns, you dont need them).
Every security incident at anchor comes from cruisers who have NOT locked up at night. Or in one incident opened their locked door at 3am when someone came knocking.

Would you sleep at home with your front door unlocked and swinging OPEN? No? Nor would I. It amazes me that nearly all cruisers on mono-hulls leave their companionway door open at night.
Injuries at anchor I have heard of occur when the sleeping owner is woken by an intruder when the intruder gets inside the cabin... then the sleepy retiree owner tries to fight back against the young, strong, drug fuelled criminal.



Have a air-flow door like this made and lock yourself in every night.

Its armoured so it cant be kicked in.
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Old 27-07-2013, 07:52   #4
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Re: Security

For self-defense, pepper spray canisters should be on your boat!

Mauritz
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Old 27-07-2013, 07:58   #5
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Re: Security

One author of a Caribbean guide suggests it's senseless to lock all hatches as they will use a crowbar to come in and that just causes more damage. Locking the companionway is one thing but many have broken in through hatches. Closing all hatches defeats the purpose of anchoring out and I can't sleep without airflow. Besides, if you have to take all these precautions and your always worried about getting robbed why not just avoid the area. Cruising is about relaxing not worrying about hoodlums robbing you. Looks like northern Caribbean is better and I know the Bahamas is ok so I'll avoid the southern Caribbean. Carrying a gun isn't an option because many countries hassle you or won't let them in.
All the data I've read suggests the crime is getting worse throughout the Caribbean not better which is unfortunate.
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Old 27-07-2013, 08:01   #6
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Re: Security

I am going to get pepper spray and a stun gun which should help. I hate the idea of being defenseless!
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Old 27-07-2013, 08:09   #7
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Re: Security

Its unlikely for someone to use the hatches when you are aboard as they would be putting their feet fisrt into darkenss. A scary proposition.

If the companionway is secure and the only hatches open are above you/your bed etc then you will be fine.
I have tear gas in a gel that can be squirted against the wind for a hatch invasion.





Its not that bad so dont let security concerns get over stated.
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Old 27-07-2013, 08:20   #8
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Hit the local bar with the worst rep.... get drunk.. buy a few rounds and work your way up from there...
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Old 27-07-2013, 08:37   #9
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Re: Security

We never (?) locked our boat at night. We did not go to the bad places (as much as we could avoid them). Why sail to places and then live in your own floating prison? Skip the bad spot, spend your freedom tokens where people respect your freedom.

Yes, where we are from, you can sleep with the door open. You can also leave the boat open when you go to explore the shore.

Look up here:
List of countries by intentional homicide rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You will find other sources, where distribution of other types of crime is discussed.

Then make wise choices.

b.
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Old 27-07-2013, 10:32   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
We never (?) locked our boat at night. We did not go to the bad places (as much as we could avoid them). Why sail to places and then live in your own floating prison? Skip the bad spot, spend your freedom tokens where people respect your freedom.

Yes, where we are from, you can sleep with the door open. You can also leave the boat open when you go to explore the shore.

Look up here:
List of countries by intentional homicide rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You will find other sources, where distribution of other types of crime is discussed.

Then make wise choices.

b.
Not sure where you are from, but my guess is that you have more crime in the state you are from than they have in the Eastern Caribbean not including Venezuela. There is a safety and security SSB radio net for the Caribbean that you can check out online. The Caribbean is hundreds of miles long, if you compare that to the crime hundreds of miles north and south of where you live in the US the Caribbean seems pretty safe. St. Louis has a higher murder rate than Bagdad.

Bottom line, be smart and enjoy your cruising. You are safer than driving I-95 in Florida. Rich
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Old 27-07-2013, 10:44   #11
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Originally Posted by bahamarich View Post

Not sure where you are from, but my guess is that you have more crime in the state you are from than they have in the Eastern Caribbean not including Venezuela. There is a safety and security SSB radio net for the Caribbean that you can check out online. The Caribbean is hundreds of miles long, if you compare that to the crime hundreds of miles north and south of where you live in the US the Caribbean seems pretty safe. St. Louis has a higher murder rate than Bagdad.

Bottom line, be smart and enjoy your cruising. You are safer than driving I-95 in Florida. Rich
Note: reply to 'Jrs' not to 'barnakiel'
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Old 27-07-2013, 13:26   #12
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Re: Security

Quote:
Originally Posted by bahamarich View Post
Not sure where you are from, but my guess is that you have more crime in the state you are from than they have in the Eastern Caribbean not including Venezuela. There is a safety and security SSB radio net for the Caribbean that you can check out online. The Caribbean is hundreds of miles long, if you compare that to the crime hundreds of miles north and south of where you live in the US the Caribbean seems pretty safe. St. Louis has a higher murder rate than Bagdad.

Bottom line, be smart and enjoy your cruising. You are safer than driving I-95 in Florida. Rich
Some countries in the Caribbean are amongst the most violent places on earth. (Some others there are nice places though!)

You do not mean Baghdad today, it is not the same place anymore after the invasion.

Re your "...Not sure where you are from, but my guess is that you have more crime in the state you are from than they have in the Eastern Caribbean not including Venezuela. - Do yourself a favour and visit Sweden. You will find your your guess was wildly wrong.

Bottom line: as you said, be smart and enjoy the ride.

+1!

Cheers,
b.
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Old 27-07-2013, 14:52   #13
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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post

Some countries in the Caribbean are amongst the most violent places on earth. (Some others there are nice places though!)

You do not mean Baghdad today, it is not the same place anymore after the invasion.

Re your "...Not sure where you are from, but my guess is that you have more crime in the state you are from than they have in the Eastern Caribbean not including Venezuela. - Do yourself a favour and visit Sweden. You will find your your guess was wildly wrong.

Bottom line: as you said, be smart and enjoy the ride.

+1!

Cheers,
b.
Yep you are right, and I did not realize that you were from Sweden, my family comes from Norway and in the states we lived in the woods of Ely, Minnesota w/ no crime; no one locks homes or cars. My wife's family is from Finland and we enjoy passing through Sweden. Also you are right that some areas of the Caribbean can be high crime areas; Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico along w/ Venezuela can be real dangerous. Having said that, the Virgins to Grenada are pretty safe and many US cities have high rates of violent crime.

I guess we can agree that if you are cool and think, you can enjoy this great cruising area. Our time in the Caribbean was crime free. Returned to the US, left the boat in Fort Pierce, Florida behind a chain link fence with razor wire on top and suffered 1000's of dollars of damage from a break in. That was our welcome home! Rich

Post Script: We are docked for the summer in Florida. Rich
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Old 27-07-2013, 15:20   #14
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Re-read Mark's post. It is the only first line of defense that is proven to be 100% effective. If you want an open hatch, you can put bars in that too but make sure not to sleep directly underneath or you may get a nasty wake-up call.

I think anything can be kicked in or broken apart with a crowbar. The thing is that long before they manage that, they hear Mr Mossberg ram a shell into the chamber and thus know what comes next. They sense danger and when you have a (any) violent plan ready for when they start kicking in the entrance, they will probably adjust their attitude and go away. Just make sure your plan is effective in case they come anyway.

My Conan-like body scares any scumbag away when we enter an anchorage but we keep safety procedures in place regardless
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Old 27-07-2013, 15:30   #15
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Re: Security

The islands in the Caribbean that have very low crime rate are: Statia, St. Barts, Martinique, Guadeloupe, BVI, Anguilla, Barbuda and Antigua. Statia and St. Barts are almost crime free. St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis have the highest.

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