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Old 08-08-2007, 21:31   #1
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Leaving the Boat...Any advice

I'm planning some remote cruises in the Caribbean/Coast of C. America I'm working my way up to this, but i'm thinking. What are some rules when everyone gets off the boat.

If two people want to go surfing then no one's on the boat. And even if you did want to surf alone in the middle of nowhere, that's about as safe as...

So, what do you cruisers do when you have to leave the boat for a day or even overnight, Is their anyway to secure it against invasion or being stolen, On the 27ft Catalina, you can just pull the anchor up by hand and go, do larger boats have methods of staying at anchor, I'm just talking about keeping honest men honest, not repelling pirates.

Thanks for any thoughts that you have, or practices that have worked well for you.
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Old 08-08-2007, 22:10   #2
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Take steal-able down below like your grill, solar panels, and electronics below. Secure all your seacocks, and turn off all electronics except perhaps your bilge pump. Close the hatches tight, and lock them from the inside if at all possible.

Talk to local people and ask them if there's any places safer than any others, but in most parts of the world, theft is fairly rare and is culturally taboo.
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Old 08-08-2007, 22:19   #3
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Originally Posted by rebel heart
in most parts of the world, theft is fairly rare and is culturally taboo.
Stealing is not rare at all in many countries. It happens all the time in some of the most sailed areas. i.e. caribbean, most of the south american countries and select pacific islands. Hell, stealing even goes on in hawaii.

Lock it or lose it, if you are in a place where it is known to happen.

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Old 09-08-2007, 05:18   #4
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Secure your boat much as you would your car in an urban environment.
1. Park (anchor or dock) in more secure locations (ie: near known cruisers, etc).
2. Don’t tempt thieves with visible valuables & open doors.
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:24   #5
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Sounds like I just have to use my common sense and that it's a risk no matter how minimized
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Old 09-08-2007, 10:44   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart
. . . in most parts of the world, theft is fairly rare and is culturally taboo.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keegan
Stealing is not rare at all in many countries. It happens all the time in some of the most sailed areas. i.e. caribbean, most of the south american countries and select pacific islands. Hell, stealing even goes on in hawaii.
Reading the above exchange between two San Diego sailors made me think of Ali and Pat Schulte, and their four-year, round-the-world cruise aboard Bumfuzzle. The following is from their logs for July 5, 2006 - Gocek, Turkey:

"Around 7 o'clock we noticed some friends of ours had come into the anchorage. Ali locked up the door and we went over to say hi. Around 11 o'clock we came back to the boat and I went downstairs to check e-mail. While I was doing that Ali came down next to me and noticed water on the floor. We turned on the lights and couldn't figure out where the leak was coming from. It seemed strange but we finally assumed that when I had run back to the boat a couple of hours earlier to turn on the anchor light and grab a couple of things that I must have had wet feet. A couple of minutes later I remembered that there was a part I wanted to work on the next day that was in the locker in the port engine room. I flicked on the light and was about to grab the part when I noticed a pair of my shorts balled up in the corner.

"I yelled to Ali to ask her what they were doing there and then it suddenly dawned on us that somebody had been on the boat. Ali grabbed her bag and found her wallet but when she opened it up she found the money gone, 400 Lira (about $250 US). All except twenty lira which I guess was left as a joke. Then she noticed that the camera was gone too. We then started scouring the boat to see what else had been taken. We found that the thief had gone through all of our lockers but hadn't taken anything, and had tried to straighten things up so that it wouldn't look like anybody had been there. He had gone through the nav station which had two laptop computers and an iPod sitting in plain view but they were left alone. He had obviously been looking for cash and probably knew that every boat has a hidden stash somewhere on it. He had been just inches away from our US cash stash, but didn't find it, and would have been disappointed anyway since we spent it all in Africa.

"Everything had been touched and then apparently wiped down with my shorts. We found that he had come in through an open hatch in the port engine room because the bed was wet. I always give Ali a hard time because she insists on always locking up the house. If we had gone into town every window would have been shut and the door locked. But since we had only gone over to a friends boat 100 meters away we didn't think anything of it, yet she still locked the door. The only other thing we found missing were our Bumfuzzle boat cards, which are in Ali's wallet and just have our e-mail and website address on them. So I suppose now the thief will be sitting in an internet café reading about this. Our credit cards and drivers licenses were left alone and he never found the key to the safe which has all of our boat papers and passports in it. The worst thing for us is losing our camera. That makes three lost cameras on this trip and this one had cost us over $800 in New Zealand. And to top it all off, the camera is completely worthless to him because he doesn't have the cords to charge it or to transfer pictures from it so that already today it is probably sitting in some garbage can.

"So that was really disappointing. We travel through all of these "uncivilized" third world countries, leaving the boat unattended for weeks at a time and never have a problem. Then we get to the "civilized" world of the Med and leave the boat for four hours and get robbed. The real bummer is that now for the rest of the trip we'll worry about the boat every time we leave it, where before we were really good at just locking up and forgetting about it."

TaoJones
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Old 09-08-2007, 19:47   #7
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Exactly. Bumfuzzle, which certainly would catch a thief's eye, managed to get around large parts of the world without incident, and they left their boat unattended constantly.

When a thief did break in, they bypassed plenty of things, and even straightened up when they left.

I'm not saying you give the guy a medal, but it's a very American thing to imagine that everyone else in the world is trying to take your money. The only theft we deal with in our marina in San Diego is from other Americans. When the Baja Ha-Ha crew rolls through, every year, there's a rash of thefts. No other incidents the rest of the year, and when the Ha-Ha crew leaves, everything goes back to normal.
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Old 09-08-2007, 20:09   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart
Exactly. Bumfuzzle, which certainly would catch a thief's eye, managed to get around large parts of the world without incident, and they left their boat unattended constantly.

The only theft we deal with in our marina in San Diego is from other Americans.
Bumfuzzle was one boat, certainly not a scientific study on crime rates to cruisers, albeit a comforting anecdotal report. Just comforting to get complacent in the wrong places in the world and then, woops, somebody cleaned me out....


Makes since that while in America, if you get robbed, it would likely be by Americans. I bet in China when you get robbed it is usually by Chinese people.

You dont need to imagine if there is crime in many countries where cruisers go. There are plenty of published reports that you can read regarding theft/violence to yachts.

These are a few websites or publications that report crime to boaters.

Noonsite
Caribbean Compass has numerous crime stories
Lattitudes and attitudes piracy reports
Several other cruisers websites
Many of the local island newpapers
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Old 09-08-2007, 20:28   #9
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Sounds like I just have to use my common sense and that it's a risk no matter how minimized
Most important things in life are like that.
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Old 09-08-2007, 20:38   #10
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A few years ago, I read the logs of a couple who had towed their small sailboat down to San Felipe, launched it and cruised the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) for three weeks. After they had transferred the items to the boat that they would need for the cruise, the husband moved the truck and trailer to an empty lot across the street from where they launched.

It was their first such adventure, and while they enjoyed the cruising, they couldn't help worrying about their vehicle, gathering dust back in the vacant lot in San Felipe. They hadn't needed to take all the stuff they had brought down with them aboard the boat, so there were still some things sitting in the truck cab. They decided to try to forget it, though, since there really wasn't anything they could do about it at that point.

At the end of their cruise, they were relieved to see their truck sitting across the street with no broken windows, but they couldn't find their keys. Finally, they walked over to the truck, and were aghast to see the keys inside the truck, still hanging from the ignition.

Calling AAA to get them into their truck was out of the question, obviously, but it wasn't a problem as it turned out. In addition to leaving the keys in the ignition, the captain had forgotten to lock his truck.

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Old 09-08-2007, 20:41   #11
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Makes since that while in America, if you get robbed, it would likely be by Americans. I bet in China when you get robbed it is usually by Chinese people.
That would seem to make sense but is probably not entirely true.

Sticking to Asia where I have lived for over 20 years I'd make the following "general" comments.

Crime is economically driven. There are no "pawn shops" or eBays to sell stolen boat gear. So the perps are after cash. If you lose dinks or boat gear it is probably <gasp> another cruiser who knows its value.

Asians are generally non-confrontational and "caste" or "class" sensitive. A poor guy in Asia would much rather sell you $10 coconuts than stick a gun in your face. The "law's" of commerce here dictate that anyone with an unimaginably expensive boat would gladly overpay for bananas and coconuts. Even those if us who know better play the game to redistribute wealth and help the local economies.

There are many, many nuances based on local cultures and religions but that would take an entire treatise on Asia. Suffice to say I feel more at ease in Asia than anywhere in the United States.

I'll also acknowledge that there are small hot spots where insurgency exists and it can be dangerous but limiting the discussion to boat thefts and break-ins it is an almost non-existent problem.

Having said that, there will be exceptions. In Asia, lock the boat and all the ports, hide your valuables or at least have a couple of lockable cabinets. And then just hope you aren't one of the very few that statistically will get robbed.
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Old 09-08-2007, 21:00   #12
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Old 09-08-2007, 21:14   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart
The only theft we deal with in our marina in San Diego is from other Americans. When the Baja Ha-Ha crew rolls through, every year, there's a rash of thefts. No other incidents the rest of the year, and when the Ha-Ha crew leaves, everything goes back to normal.
I'm with you on this thread, Eric, but could you please provide further explanation on the quoted passage. Am I to understand that the sailors and their crews aboard the southbound vessels are doing the stealing, or are you saying that when the Ha-Ha fleet is in town, the pickings are irrestible for the local San Diego thieves?

Either way, I'm sorry to read that this occurs.

Along these same lines, I've been told that most of the theft that takes place in the Caribbean happens toward the end of the sailing season, and is mostly done by Eurotrash. I don't know if that's true or not, and I could as easily believe that it's "Ameritrash." I would suspect the native residents of the islands last of all.

TaoJones

PS: I enjoy your blog very much, Eric, but I can't help thinking that The Crew pictured there are actually models. Come on now, let us see what you really look like.
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Old 09-08-2007, 21:35   #14
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Let me be clear when I meant "we get robbed by Americans" comment. We live 15 miles north of the Mexican border, and San Diego is heavily ethnic. The thieves that rob marinas are white Americans; it's cultural. If it was just about proximity, we'd have as many Mexicans (plenty live legally here) doing the same.
--------------------
It freaked me out to when I heard about the HaHa crews being responsible for a spike in thefts in our marina. In fact, the only thefts that happen in our marina are from the HaHa crews; it's otherwise totally chill year round (as far as theft goes).

I was asking my marina manager about crime, because my fiancee was/is still a little worried about the safety around here. I assured her that being on a boat, near other liveaboards, with a dog on deck, with a locked gate to get down to the dock, is about as safe as it's going to get.

The marina manager told me that the only time I need to be careful is starting in October, when the Baja HaHa cruisers come through. She couldn't elaborate on the motivation, but basically, if I put my criminal hat on, I might look at it like this:

Okay, so we're trying to get around the world, and are a little short on cash. Here's these rich ass yachties with mega yachts. Their insurance will cover any theft, and they're obviously paying thousands a month just to keep their boat floating there. Hell, they probably live in Arizona and wont even notice it till the summer. We can steal that power cord and sell it for $50 at a swap meet; it sells new for $400. Or how about those fishing poles and reels? That propane tank will go for $50.

I certainly don't agree with the attitude, and would chase down any thief I saw while staying on the horn with Harbor Police, but at the same point in time, I can understand their (immoral and illegal) logic.

From what I've gathered in my travels abroad, that's one of the motivations for theft. Here we are, this crew of people so wealthy we can dump it all into a boat and travel the seas. And then we drop anchor in a place where our windlass is worth more (used) than an entire family will earn in a year working 6 days a week.

Again, I'm certainly not defending thieves, but when a target of opportunity presents itself, and the person who's going to get victimized is only going to pay a minimal deductable (that's still peanuts compared to what they shell out already), it doesn't seem hard to imagine some less-than-honest people crossing the line into crime.
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Old 09-08-2007, 21:38   #15
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PS: I enjoy your blog very much, Eric, but I can't help thinking that The Crew pictured there are actually models. Come on now, let us see what you really look like.
Well thanks Mr Tao Jones! Sorry about the picture of me sitting on my new head, but after two days of busting my knuckles I needed to sit on my throne as a champion

That's really the two of us, and I'm going to go deflate my ego while it still fits through the campionway.
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