I lived in Belize and worked in the charter industry for six years. Still cover the occasional charter there. The pointlessly brutal attack was a big shock to all of us in the indusrty. A fellow captain
participated in the recovery of the guests and boat, so I am familiar with the event directly from him.
Violent crime agaist tourists is unusual in Beize and a violent attack like this on a yacht was unprecedented. No one remembers there ever being such an attack. A local fisherman was also attacked shortly after this incident. Arrests were made, presumably of the right guys, and there have been no more attacks.
I, and many others, sailed Belize for years with little concern for security
. Now, we are a bit more cautious. I would take basic securtiy precautions, like locking the cabin
each night, have bright light(s) and loud sound signal(s) available. A quick mayday on the VHF
would not be a bad idea if boarded but be aware that VHF
does not get heavy use in Belize because there is good cell coverage out to the reef in most places. Officials do not monitor
at night, and only Port Authority in Belize City monitors 16 during the day, and are unlikely to provide assistance anyway (they provided NONE in the 2012 incident, local police stood around and watched as the guests were brought ashore).
This attack happened in the Pelican Cayes. The Pelicans have been a popular anchorage for decades with no problems, and no problem since. There are no anchorages
I recommend avoiding for security
reasons. Although there have never been any problems there, I would not temp fate by anchoring
off of Dangriga or Belize City.
Petty theft is a problem in Belize so haul your dink up in the davits
EVERY night and don't leave valuables accesible. Lock the boat up when not aboard. Don't invite locals aboard (I don't like that, but its practical) and don't flash bling ashore or blab about being on that nice big yacht out there (..which is now unattended...know someone who got his boat robbed that way in Caye Caulker).
But, bottom line, the odds of you being the victim of a violent crime in Belize is highly unlikely. Use common sense and enjoy your charter. Belize is an awesome cruising ground.