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Old 06-10-2013, 08:31   #91
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

From the incident description posted above, it doesn't seem any kind of weapon or spray would have worked here. Christina stuck her head out of the companionway to see what was up and got slashed with a machete. Mark jumped out (unarmed?) to face an armed attacker and triumphed in the scuffle.

Ultimately, life is beyond our ability to predict or control. That's a lesson I keep learning on boats. You do your best to be prepared, minimize risk, be prudent. Sometimes that's just not enough.

Sometimes the tractor-trailer jumps the median and kills the family driving on vacation in their minivan.

Going cruising seems to be a conscious (or semi-conscious) decision to significantly increase risk vis-a-vis our normal existence. I think, ultimately, it's a sedate form of thrill-seeking- usually nowhere near as dangerous as bullfighting or Formula One racing- but in some way related.

A lot of our ground-based friends think we're nuts to go sailing around in strange places in a small boat. In a way, they're right. There are real risks involved, and they can't all be eliminated.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:57   #92
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

Terrible the couple had to suffer as they did. I was there a month ago. Felt no particular danger.

I feel pretty frustrated by this very real safety issue. There is no good solution. We have a right to be free of fear. Fear of scum boarding. Fear of the authorities and the hassle if you carry a legal weapon. I have no interest in the pros and cons of the gun debate, but I would like to own a real means of defence that protects effectively and for the owning and use of it to be without problem in cases like this. I can't see a way through.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:57   #93
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Originally Posted by svtadpole View Post
I find it hard to understand how anyone would be able to board an anchored vessel totally undetected WHILST THE CREW IS AWAKE ... ??? ... had they been sleeping then perhaps they could easily get aboard without waking anyone .... a key points to note is that preventing anyone boarding your boat is easier to deal with than those already aboard .... any small boat-sized dog ( although no use as an attack or protection dog ) would have raised the alarm long before anyone even got near the vessel .... ?
Not so hard, for me. It's nighttime. They're below decks having supper, maybe music in the background, chatting about the day's activities or plans for tomorrow. We've had locals jump up on our boat from theirs, and their bare feet did not make much noise at all. With an extremely beamy boat or a heavy one, the boat might not yield enough to the new weight. Besides, something did catch Christina's attention. Remember, it's dark outside, and it's only a portion of a second from sneaking up to a hull to boarding.

Actually, an inexpensive motion detector that looks at the cockpit [secure the flag at night] and alarms when it "sees" motion is quite effective, and also warns the perp that he/she has been discovered, and should buzz off.

FWIW
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:15   #94
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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We are just about to start our worldwide cruising and events such as this do raise concerns and justify having a plan, just as having a weather contingency. Ours is a multi-faceted boat alarm (strobe, siren, sensors) and a Tazer C2?

Steve
And you plan to turn that on every time you go below to have dinner??
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:24   #95
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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And you plan to turn that on every time you go below to have dinner??

This is why a dog is such an awesome deterrent/alarm. People get complacent, dogs don't. A good dog never stops watching for trouble. Nothing to forget to turn on or off. Mine hangs out on deck in daytime, sleeps in the pilothouse at night, where he can see the whole deck from inside. Another good thing is to pick a boat that's not easily boardable. A sugar scoop is not your friend when it comes to security. All I have to do is fold up the boarding ladders and our boat becomes very difficult to board from a smaller vessel. 5' minimum freeboard plus a couple of feet of lifeline netting is hard to climb over quietly. Also we can see the entire deck from inside the pilothouse without going outside. A good security feature.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:57   #96
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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If concealing and not declaring possession of a firearm is a crime, then this makes a criminal of the perpetrator does it not? Hiding a firearm when illegal is certainly not honest.

I do not think pepper falls into this category. In some countries (Venezuela) weapons are permitted as long as they are declared and registered with authorities. In others this could land you in jail. In most countries the weapon will be taken and (sometimes) returned when you leave.
No one so far, definitely not me, has said or implied anything remotely close to concealing weapons on the boat. In all countrys the weapons have to be declared, inspected, amunition counted and counted again when you exit the country. They have to be locked away while on board. A locking situation that you can deactivate,(unlock) quickly. As far as honesty goes, there is plainly, as illustrated by such dishonest comments as in the example above. The moral position and specious argument taken by some against those who would see it their way and choose to defend themselves, within the boundries of the law, is tiresome. If you decide to go off into the woods with a spoon and a bottle of pop, be my guest. Your likely to be the same one who will cause other people to risk life and limb extracting you from some situation that perhaps you should not have been in in the first place. I agree fully that de-escalating any encounter is the first course of action, but ultimately equal force dictates the situation. At 65 I don't see me boxing with a teenager wielding a machete. A few keystrokes and I have a fair fight in the palm of my hand. And my kids and grand kids will be able to drink that bottle of unopened pop they found in the woods. Next to a spoon.
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Old 06-10-2013, 19:34   #97
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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"customs officers theres one thing they can pretty quickly spot: an honest cruiser! so they won't worry about an honest person with a non lethal thing that's kept on board." Is the inference here that people who carry weapons are in someway dishonest? I'm sure that's not what you mean. .
I think he was referring to more serious criminals, such as drug runners or people actively committing real crimes. I read it a, "The official can sense an honest cruiser, so would be less inclined to go looking for self defense items..."
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Old 06-10-2013, 21:04   #98
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

I feel very badly for this couple... but we can't lose sight of the fact that most violence between "cruisers" is between partners after over consumption of alcohol and not between locals and cruisers.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:55   #99
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

There is another option that practically insures freedom from assault or theft and that is to cruise to areas where these problems do not exist. Many people who live in undeveloped countries cannot see the connection between tourist dollars and the health of their local economies and see "rich" tourists as the reason for their miseries. We are also seen as "rich" uncaring souls who only seek to exploit them and their country's natural resources. We are also seen as easy targets since many cruisers are elderly, civilized, and by their standards very wealthy. Where is it written that in order to be considered a "cruiser" you must visit A, B or C? Why would these areas be more desirable than others where crime against the person and theft is practically non-existent? We must ,as a group, vote with our dollars and boycott those areas that have become probable areas of crime and support those areas that welcome our presence and our tourist dollars. Being a seasoned cruiser does not mean that you collect countries like badges for an Eagle Scout's vest to determine your worth. It is the love of the sea, of near and distant places in a well found boat with people you care for and with whom you want to experience these joys in peace and harmony with your surroundings. It won't happen to you? O.K. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:19   #100
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

FYI, thieves can board real quiet when they want to. We were boarded in Port Livingston at the mouth of the Rio Dulce. They stole a bunch of stuff on deck, pot and pans that were in a bucket and some safety equipment. I was sleeping in the cockpit at the time.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:19   #101
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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There is another option that practically insures freedom from assault or theft and that is to cruise to areas where these problems do not exist.
I think there are fewer and fewer of these places. I know in certain caribbean nations, the ability of the court system to lock up and/or treat violent offenders is limited to do lack of funding for prisons and mental health care facilities. The sentences are usually pretty lame unless the felon is particularly mean to the judge that day or not connected to a "local family".

I speak from familial experience... one of my close relatives was beaten and raped down on what is supposed to be a safe place. Luckly, another local came along that recognized her and knew the perpetrator and my relative survived. She did eventually have to fly back to the islands to face her rapist at the trail, upon which the rapist got only two years and was let go after 6 months.

The reason is that there are simply no money for facilities for criminals to serve their sentences. Often, they will ship these prisoners out to a large facility in another location to serve out their sentences but that costs money and is only a temporary fix. The reality is that the growth of criminality is simply outpacing the investment in suitable prisons and mental healthcare in most island nations which are already poor and strapped for cash.

I always thought that a sharpened gaff which can be slid inside the sleeve portion would make a suitable standoff weapon and is easily concealed and handled by even the smallest crewmember.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:33   #102
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

The Caribbean Security Index (CSI) is a a tool to assist cruisers in assessing the probability of crime at ports and anchorages throughout the Caribbean.
Free Cruising Guides » CSI Registration
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:49   #103
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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There is another option that practically insures freedom from assault or theft and that is to cruise to areas where these problems do not exist.
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I think there are fewer and fewer of these places.
The Greek islands in the Aegean are one such place. Apart from the magnificent cruising and endless exploring opportunities ashore, the safety is a huge reason why I am keen to linger here. I do most of my exploring on my own and I have no qualms about doing this, even when it necessitates returning on foot at night or even hitchhiking (neither of which I would dream of doing back in Australia). This gives me an endless sense of freedom. I know when we cross the Atlantic I will lose this .
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:11   #104
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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I think there are fewer and fewer of these places. I know in certain caribbean nations, the ability of the court system to lock up and/or treat violent offenders is limited to do lack of funding for prisons and mental health care facilities. The sentences are usually pretty lame unless the felon is particularly mean to the judge that day or not connected to a "local family".

I speak from familial experience... one of my close relatives was beaten and raped down on what is supposed to be a safe place. Luckly, another local came along that recognized her and knew the perpetrator and my relative survived. She did eventually have to fly back to the islands to face her rapist at the trail, upon which the rapist got only two years and was let go after 6 months.

The reason is that there are simply no money for facilities for criminals to serve their sentences. Often, they will ship these prisoners out to a large facility in another location to serve out their sentences but that costs money and is only a temporary fix. The reality is that the growth of criminality is simply outpacing the investment in suitable prisons and mental healthcare in most island nations which are already poor and strapped for cash.

I always thought that a sharpened gaff which can be slid inside the sleeve portion would make a suitable standoff weapon and is easily concealed and handled by even the smallest crewmember.
Zboss,
I think you are absolutely correct in regards to much of the Caribbean in re: crime. And, your sad story of a close relative is, indeed, very much the case in many of these countries when one encounters their legal systems. When I mentioned visiting areas where crime is virtually non-existent and still have remarkable natural beauty, I meant areas like the unvisited, isolated keys of the Gulf side of Florida, the Marquesas Keys off Key West, Ft. Jefferson archipelago, the entire Bahamian chain, The Ragged Key Chain SW of the Exumas,and the isolated keys of the Cay Sal Bank. And, for those with the blood of the Norse in their bones, why not Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland, Alaska and the Maritimes and Chile? The point being that there are places both warm and cold that can offer the serious cruiser everything he/she wants without the prospect of crime. Anyone else with some places? Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:14   #105
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Zboss,
I think you are absolutely correct in regards to much of the Caribbean in re: crime. And, your sad story of a close relative is, indeed, very much the case in many of these countries when one encounters their legal systems. When I mentioned visiting areas where crime is virtually non-existent and still have remarkable natural beauty, I meant areas like the unvisited, isolated keys of the Gulf side of Florida, the Marquesas Keys off Key West, Ft. Jefferson archipelago, the entire Bahamian chain, The Ragged Key Chain SW of the Exumas,and the isolated keys of the Cay Sal Bank. And, for those with the blood of the Norse in their bones, why not Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland, Alaska and the Maritimes and Chile? The point being that there are places both warm and cold that can offer the serious cruiser everything he/she wants without the prospect of crime. Anyone else with some places? Good luck and good sailing.
I think you have really high expectations of safety to rule out the Caribbean. I want to go where I want to go and I like the Caribbean. Most places there are pretty safe with minimal measures, others require more. Minimizing the probability of incident as you suggest is key and I think that can be reduced to minimal levels or even near zero if appropriate effort is made with security and if defense measures are taken. This is the choice I make.

I'd really rather keep my companion way open at all times, but I don't and I'd rather not have any weapons on-board also. Even in the relatively super safe UK no-one leaves their door unlocked anymore - wherever you are precautions have to be taken. I probably won go to Venezuela though, unfortunately some places are just too risky.
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