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Old 28-05-2018, 06:53   #1
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Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

We are planning on taking the Thorny Path this fall, our desired destination will be Grenada for layup next summer. At differnent times we have seen threads on here showing security gates and bars for companion way and hatches to be used while anchored. They seem to be stainless steel panels allowing ventilation.

We realize areas of Windwards have been experiencing some problems and will do our best to bypass these areas.

My question is, are these security measures common on boats cruising these waters? We are not overly paranoid, but on the other hand don't want to be only boat in anchorage without, and become an easy target.

Realizing this is not a simple yes or no question, I want to get a feel for what people that are actually cruising this area are doing.
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Old 28-05-2018, 07:09   #2
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

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Originally Posted by Sea Lyon View Post
Realizing this is not a simple yes or no question, I want to get a feel for what people that are actually cruising this area are doing.
we never had or used any special sort of security (grates or otherwise), and we only once (up in Iceland) had unwanted malicious visitors (they stole the American flag off our transom as some sort of anti-American protest)

However (for other reasons), we did have an aluminum hatch door, which had a quite good lock on it. But we had just typical hatches, which in the tropics we often left open.

We did have stuff taken out of/off our dinghy several times when it was parked on beaches - so I would try to be sure you have your dinghy security down pat as the first priority here.
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Old 28-05-2018, 09:28   #3
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

Thanks Evan We have been in South Florida and Bahamas las few winters and admit to being pretty lax on dingy security, will take your suggestion.This forum is great always get helpful replies. Anyone else care to chime in?
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Old 28-05-2018, 10:17   #4
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

Made it to Guadeloupe a few days ago via the Thorny Path. Didn't see a single boat with gates and bars. No doubt there are some, but it sure isn't "common." Much more common to have the dingy stolen, so you lock it and the motor up with chain. (I haven't personally heard of a theft yet happening this year, but we are just getting into the problem areas.)

Btw, consider the offshore route. The Thorny Path is no fun. 1400 miles of up wind sailing. And I started off gung-ho and have a boat that sails well to weather. Maybe I'm the fool for having actually sailed it?
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Old 28-05-2018, 11:31   #5
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

A word about "common".

Years ago my friends and I rented an apartment off-campus. We somewhat gently asked the landlord if he would mind, if we installed a better lock and a plywood panel inside the half-glass door. Professionally and aesthetically, at our cost. He looked kinda puzzled, thought we were nuts, but said sure, go ahead.

Six months later the county sheriff's office was on tv and in the newspapers, asking people to PLEASE LOCK YOUR DOORS because they'd seen so many burglaries.

So by all means, whether it is common or not, if you step up your own security, one day it may save you a lot of grief. Even here in the States, I think every harbormaster will tell you that at least once, they've found some bozo took his date out to "see his boat" and broke into someone's boat and drank his booze. And that's a best case. Sometimes, anything loose has been taken.

Securing the companionway? Cheap investment. (Well, unless you're like Crocket on Miami Vice and you can keep an Elvis down below.(G)
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Old 28-05-2018, 13:22   #6
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

Thanks Stephen and congratulations on completing the Thorny Path, I am dreading it but we have limited offshore experience. I also can not leave Florida till mid November, so might be getting kind of late for a true I65 type passage. Where did you start from and about when?Also thanks for info on security.
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Old 28-05-2018, 14:43   #7
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

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Originally Posted by Sea Lyon View Post
Thanks Stephen and congratulations on completing the Thorny Path, I am dreading it but we have limited offshore experience. I also can not leave Florida till mid November, so might be getting kind of late for a true I65 type passage. Where did you start from and about when?Also thanks for info on security.
That's more or less the same reason why we did the Path. Not again! One season from Guadeloupe west to the Bahamas. Then another season from Guadeloupe south to Gernada. All that said, we have really bonded with 10 or so boats that bashed the same path generally on the same time table.

We left for the Bahamas in December and left Georgetown mid January, which we consider the start of the Bash. Did spend a fair amount of time in the DR, PR and VIs.

I didn't think I-65 looks different in November than any other month. Just have to watch the northern fronts.

Cheers.
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Old 28-05-2018, 15:15   #8
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

Basically two questions:

We spent 6 years in the Caribbean and we personally know, had dinner with them, 5 boats that were robbed/attacked at gun or knifepoint.

We have security bars and would not be without them because you need to keep the bad guys outside your personal space...We also had significant defensive weapons, the most benign and non-lethal of which was grizzly bear spray reportedly able to drop a grizzly at 20 ft.

The second topic of the Thorny Path...we have done the 'down island' trip 5 times, but only did the Thorny Path once, it was harder than crossing the Pacific. The 4 times we went off-shore were benign. If you go off-shore you need to start south of Hatteras, north of Hatteras is significantly harder than starting in Miami.
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Old 28-05-2018, 15:48   #9
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

We completed the Thorny path in 2015 and have been here in the islands for about 2 years.

We do not have any bars, gates or other crazy contraptions. Out of all the other boats we know, none, zip, zero, nada have bars or gates on thier hatches or doors. Hell, most don't even close their hatches unless it raining. The key is to avoid the problem spots (St. Vincent and a few of the Grenadines) and generally be smart. Travel in groups, stay out of known problem spots, keep decks clean and secure, don't be stupid. As an example don't roll into town, flashing wads of cash, being loud and obnoxious, while going on a bender.

However.. As mentioned above. Dinghy thefts are a fairly big problem. Dinghies need to be lifted and locked EVERY night. Even on the islands that are considered secure. Unfortunately the cruising community itself does have theives too. This year, I heard of 2 dingy thefts that were purported to been done by another "cruiser". Even if that isn't true, there are definately "bad" people actively stealing dinghies. Lift it, lock it, or loose it.

Good luck on the Thorny Path and I look forward to seeing you down here. Frankly its the greatest cruising ground on earth.
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Old 29-05-2018, 09:04   #10
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

During 8 winters in the Caribbean, I think we've maybe seen 2 boats with grates or bars deployed. A few other that had them but didn't use them. Quite a few boats that had lost the keys to the companionway and had never bothered to replace the lock.

The need for security depends a whole lot on your personal feelings -- how much you worry, how secure you need to feel. Same is probably true for weapons on board.
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Old 29-05-2018, 09:44   #11
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

I watched to my dismay a small pram row-out to an anchored Cat with two locals on it in the anchorage outside St. George Harbor, Grenada. They availed themselves to whatever, but dropped them when I yelled at them that the police was coming for them. One guy swam to the beach the other took the pram back wherever he came from.

In Anguilla had the dingy stolen cable cut with cutter, asked for a ride back to the boat but the charter crews out of St. Martin wouldn't budge one drunk told me to swim it at 10 pm. Fount a local kid with an experimental dingy half sunken to take me to my boat for $20 and the wife. FYI watch out there. Hopefully you won't have similar stories to share.

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Old 29-05-2018, 10:34   #12
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

To the list of places that feel sketchy I would add Soufriere and Vieux Fort in St Lucia.
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Old 29-05-2018, 10:46   #13
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

We just spent the year coming from Grenada to Florida. Two thoughts:

1-security. We didn't stress about it. Lift your dinghy at night, lock it up in sketchy towns. Just don't be the easiest target and you'll be fine. My wife stresses about security but at no point to did she think our possessions or kids were going to be stolen. (Soufrieres does feel a bit sketchy, but the botanical garden is amazing and worth the walk!)

2-unsolicited advice. I know you don't have offshore experience but like others have told you, go I65. Or find crew to help go offshore. Or hire a delivery captain. But EVERY single boat coming down the Path we met was miserable. Miserable and regretting their trip! We had the boat delivered to Grenada and sailed reaching and downwind for 2000 miles, which is also downWAVE.

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Old 29-05-2018, 11:37   #14
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

Our vessel spent the prior 15 years with the POs in Bahamas, Carribean, and S America.

After they were awakened once by the pitter-patter of little feet [they had no kids on board...] early one morning [a small child was collecting valuables and passing them through the open hatch to the adults on deck...] they had SS bars made to prevent small human entry through the hatches. [I don't recall where this happened...]

The bars were designed to fit inside the circumference of each hatch, with 2 bars dividing that rectagle into thirds... They are hinged on one side, and locked on the other. [A key on a glow-in-the-dark, and reflective float hangs out of sight/reach of each hatch...]

They also make good places for hanging things...

With the lock removed, the bars hinge down to vertical and become a footstep/short ladder for using the escape hatch. [We have no need for locks where we are playing at this time- the hatches are dogged most of the time- so we replaced them with small carabiners; keeping the escape ladder function intact...]

The POs also installed two 3-way switches in their [our...] sleeping cabin to:
1- Turn on all deck lights
2- Sound the high water claxon and airhorn simultaneously

We have never had to activate these switches to help repel boarders, but the deck light switch is handy when our RADAR proximity alarm goes off at anchor when it is dark...

They also always stored their dinghy in the davits, and locked it and outboard with SS chain- not because it cannot be cut, but because chain (vs cable) always makes lots of noise if moved (even a little) on the deck above their sleeping cabin...]

They never had another successful intrusion after installing the hatch bars... [in the remaining 12 years of their cruise...]

In case this is useful.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 29-05-2018, 16:57   #15
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Re: Security at Anchor Eastern Caribbean

Stops theft regardless of boat or location... Check this out

Videos are of actual boats, with system installed. Bottom line is the system works...

www.piratelights.com

Two years testing throughout the Med and Caribbean.
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