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Old 05-10-2011, 15:33   #1
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Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

We've been reading the accounts of various robbery incidents, some armed in and around the Windward Islands. It seems that the epicentre is St Vincent but there are reports as far south as Grenada & Tobago. We were thinking about a PIR securtiy light for the boat and possibly a boat alarm. Does anyone have any experience / ideas of where to buy such devices. We are going cruising with 2 children and want to make sure we have done all we can to avoid a nasty incident. Any advice on where not to go as well will be much appreciated
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Old 05-10-2011, 15:57   #2
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Re: yacht security/piracy in the Windwards

Google < 12V PIR Security Light > - they're ubiquitous.

In order for a PIR sensor to work well (most of the time), they are designed with certain limitations. A PIR sensor cannot detect a stationary or very slowly moving body. If the sensor was set to the required sensitivity, it would be activated by the cooling of a nearby wall in the evening, or by very small animals. Similarly, if someone walks straight towards a PIR sensor, it will not detect them until they are very close by.

PIR sensors are also temperature sensitive. They work optimally at ambient air temperatures of around 15-20 degrees C. If the temperature is over 30 degrees, the field of view narrows and the sensor will be less sensitive. Alternatively, if the temperature is below 15 degrees, the field of view widens and smaller or more distant objects will activate the sensor.
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Old 05-10-2011, 15:58   #3
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Re: yacht security/piracy in the Windwards

Your best bet is to avoid the west coast of St. Vincent . Other than that the Windwards aren't that bad. I was last in St. Vincent in the eighties (long time ago, swore never to return) and there were problems there then.
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Old 05-10-2011, 18:49   #4
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Re: yacht security/piracy in the Windwards

I currently keep my boat in Blue Lagoon on the south shore of SGV and sail the area down to Southern Grenada.

Unfortunately SVG earned itself a bad reputation quite a while back which endures to this day. Last year, in Salt Whistle Bay my friends boat was broken into while they were having drinks with us, two days later I left the Tobago Cays the day before the armed assault.

Even so, I don't believe that SVG deserves as much flack as it gets. There are creeps everywhere and SVG certainly has its share, but no more so than everywhere else and, in fact, a lot less than some very popular islands up North.

The armed assault was a very unusual event and the culprits have been caught, so the main issue is the usual B & E and dingy theft. Most of the B & E are youth looking for cash, cameras, phones, etc.. stuff that will be flipped and off-island before you even know it's gone. Once they've been detected on board they vamoose PDQ. Carnival seems to bring out the worst in them.

Your plans for security are smart no matter where you go. You'll sleep better and worry less when away from the boat.

Personally, I have several of these. They are sold at Airports for hotel room doors for about $20.00. Highly portable and versatile, you stick it into the jamb of a closed door. They make a high pitched squeal when the door is opened. I am also able to find places to stick them in an open hatch or raised dingy so that any unusual movement makes it go off.

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:56   #5
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

We installed a packaged alarm system sold by Marine Guard. We have no affiliation with this company; just extremely satisfied customers.

MarineGuard Product Catalog - Packaged Boat Alarms

We have pressure sensors epoxied underneath all areas that an intruder might step upon on our deck and cockpit. The alarm kit includes a very loud siren similar to those used in home alarms. The only thing we added to the kit is a bright light. The controller has a wiring terminal to connect such a light. The alarm can be activated by a switch when we are down inside the boat; or by an alarm decoder which we keep on the key chain with the companionway key when leave the boat. The original decoders were not waterproof. We purchased waterproof decoders from another source.

When we return to the boat at night, we depress the decoder when we step back onto the boat. The light is mounted over the cockpit and remains lit for 2 minutes after deactivating the alarm. This provides good lighting as we unlock and enter the boat. If an intruder steps onto the boat when the alarm is activated, then the light flashes and the siren wails until we turn off the alarm OR until the intruder steps off the boat.

The alarm system also has what I call an "announcer" -- just like most home security alarm systems when someone opens an exterior door. The alarm bongs as long as someone is standing or walking on the deck when the "announcer" is activated. I particularly like this feature because sometimes my husband leaves the boat while we are at anchor; if I am down below then I know instantly if anyone has stepped onto our boat.

This is not an inexpensive alarm system but I believe it is well worth the cost. We have used this system for over 5 years and have never had a false alarm. Except once, when tied stern to a dock when a night-time storm passed through Cartagena, Colombia, and the boat was moving wildly. (We always set the alarm at night, even when docked in marinas. We have known people who have had their boats boarded and robbed while docked in marinas.) The pressure of the tight dock lines as the boat bounced around caused the alarm to activate. We jumped out of bed, checked the deck, deactivated the alarm, and then experimented until discovering the problem. That is the only instance of a false alarm.

The pressure sensors were extremely easy to install. Only caveat is that each sensor requires a wiring home run. That was very easy on our boat but might be more difficult on another model boat.

I highly recommend this alarm system. It provides great safety peace of mind when cruising in certain areas.

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Old 06-10-2011, 03:47   #6
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

Judy, how many pressure sensors do you have installed?
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:51   #7
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

Quote:
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Judy, how many pressure sensors do you have installed?
Will respond PM.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:44   #8
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

You should be fine if you simply lock up at night, and secure your dinghy and outboard. The PIR light and alarm are vastly more than most cruisers do down there, and would certainly scare off the rare cat burglar "tief". We always avoided St. Vincent because of it's reputation. There are plenty of other wonderful places to go in the Grenadines.

Treat the boat vendors with respect and friendliness. No need to be suspicious of them--they're there to help you and make a buck or two if they can.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:49   #9
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

Steve Jobs
'Remembering That You Are Going To Die Is The Best Way I Know To Avoid The Trap Of Thinking You Have Something To Lose'
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:11   #10
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

I also like his line:

"Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:44   #11
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
Steve Jobs
'Remembering That You Are Going To Die Is The Best Way I Know To Avoid The Trap Of Thinking You Have Something To Lose'
Ironically & sadly, Steve Jobs passed away last night.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:20   #12
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

Depending on the amount of exposure to the elements you are going to have, it makes sense to buy a purpose-built system for the marine environment than use products designed for land/indoors.

You can PM me if you'd like more information.

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Old 06-10-2011, 09:16   #13
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

We have used something like Portable Motion Detector Alarm/Chime : Motion Alerts | RadioShack.com

It has gone off twice on Saturday nights about 12-2 am, and probably scared off intruders. It also goes off if the sun hits it in the morning. We use the chime setting because there is no delay.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:40   #14
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

We bought a Ryobi Tek4 4-Volt Motion Sensing Alarm RP4300. It's inexpensive battery operated motion detector. It has a remote and an alarm that will wake the dead.
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Old 09-10-2011, 13:59   #15
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Re: Yacht Security / Piracy in the Windwards

In the B & E that I'm aware of, the culprits climbed over the side onto the foredeck (Catamaran), staying in the dark. They pried open a locked hatch and ransacked the stateroom/head taking local currency, cameras, phones, and non-local jewelery. They were particular in what they chose. Sorting through and leaving behind ID, computers, and even US cash. They made their escape the way they gained entry, never setting foot in the saloon nor the helm areas.

Just as an example to keep in mind when positioning sensors.

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