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Old 08-02-2014, 12:54   #1
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Belize Cruising Safety

I hope this is the correct place to post these concerns.
I have been reading the Belize forum and would like to thank all the posters for the valuable information.
This is my first post and I wish it was on a more upbeat subject, but it concerns safety.
My wife and I both just turned 63 and are taking our 38 year old son to Belize for a few days in the jungle and a week long bareboat charter on a Sunsail 38 ft cat out of the Moorings station in Placencia. I have spoken to a number of people in the travel industry and the folks at Sunsail, but I'm not sure they are the most reliable sources regarding this subject. They have jobs to protect and I'm sure they don't want to alarm anyone regarding any travel destination.
I have read that there was a particularly nasty incident back in 2012 involving a charter boat where people were robbed and hurt.
Are there any particular precautions we should take in these waters?
Are there any areas we should avoid?
Is there safety in numbers? Will there be enough vessels around that we can easily find populated anchorages?
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Old 08-02-2014, 14:19   #2
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

I just got back from Belize, spent most of our time in Bileze city and saint George Kay. Hung out with locals mostly while shooting our teliviaion show. Locals admitted to having a crime issue amungst other locals but us Americans shouldn't worry. He said the way things work is that the guy that just shot a killed a guy over a dispute earlier that day will hold your hand and help you back to your boat if you stumble out of a bar or get lost on a back street. Locals understand that a large part of their income comes from vacationers and tourism and they seem to all respect that and try to protect that image. You can catch the show at livewellnetwork.com/motion

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Old 09-02-2014, 05:03   #3
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

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 the radio 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.
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:07   #4
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Neely View Post
... He said the way things work is that the guy that just shot a killed a guy over a dispute earlier that day will hold your hand and help you back to your boat if you stumble out of a bar or get lost on a back street. Locals understand that a large part of their income comes from vacationers and tourism and they seem to all respect that and try to protect that image. ...
Lot of truth in that statement. Violent crime is almost exclusively a local issue and rarely involves visitors. Your stuff is fair game though, so be cautious with valuables.
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Old 10-02-2014, 17:03   #5
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

Thank you folks for allaying my concerns. The reports of the incident in 2012 were just so horrific. It now seems to be an isolated incident and bad things can happen anywhere.
We pick up our boat in Placencia 3/5 and are really looking forward to what looks like a very cool sailing destination.
Also, thanks to you who sent your blog addy. Interesting and informative reading.
Bill
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:59   #6
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

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Originally Posted by wdavis1 View Post
Thank you folks for allaying my concerns. The reports of the incident in 2012 were just so horrific. It now seems to be an isolated incident and bad things can happen anywhere.
We pick up our boat in Placencia 3/5 and are really looking forward to what looks like a very cool sailing destination.
Also, thanks to you who sent your blog addy. Interesting and informative reading.
Bill
Yes, it was horrific. Pointlessly brutal. The other presumably related events were also violent, but did not involve tourists so got less press. Robbers in Guatemala are much more courteous. ;-)

Be happy to share my Belize notes with you if you want. Just PM me your email addrress and I will send you a copy (can't post a PDF here or on a PM).
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:36   #7
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

I Googled the crime rate for Belize and got this:
https://www.osac.gov/pages/contentre...aspx?cid=12320
It confirms what the others said about Belize City.

Being an inquisitive guy I also Googled the crime rate for Rochester NY which is where the OP is from and got this.
Crime rate in Rochester, New York (NY): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers statistics
It is interesting to note that there was a higher murder rate in Rochester than Belize for many of those years.

Food for thought.
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:55   #8
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

Yes, the westside and northeast neighborhoods of Rochester are hellholes, that's why I don't venture in there.
Belize Sailor, would love to see your notes if I can figure out how to send a PM.
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Old 11-02-2014, 13:01   #9
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

Okay, I can't send a PM because I'm not a "trusted member" yet.

As Groucho once said, "I'd never want to belong to a club that would have me as a member."
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Old 11-02-2014, 13:06   #10
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdavis1 View Post
Okay, I can't send a PM because I'm not a "trusted member" yet.

As Groucho once said, "I'd never want to belong to a club that would have me as a member."
Shhhh. You don't want to let them know who we really are.
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Old 11-02-2014, 14:43   #11
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

Wd, just sent you a PM w my email. I assume you will be allowed to read it. Just email me and I will reply w notes.


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Old 11-02-2014, 14:50   #12
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
I Googled the crime rate for Belize and got this:
https://www.osac.gov/pages/contentre...aspx?cid=12320
It confirms what the others said about Belize City.

Being an inquisitive guy I also Googled the crime rate for Rochester NY which is where the OP is from and got this.
Crime rate in Rochester, New York (NY): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers statistics
It is interesting to note that there was a higher murder rate in Rochester than Belize for many of those years.

Food for thought.
That's the short coming of such statistics they typically clump unrelated areas together. Exclude Belize City and murder rate in Belize as a country is nearly nil.

Also, they don't give context of crime. Most murders in Belize are drug/gang related. Murders of tourists are nearly nil (I can't think of 1).
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Old 11-02-2014, 15:06   #13
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

That's the point I was trying to make. Many areas in the US and elsewhere are really bad. But just a few miles away everything changes. Some people look at 1 or 2 incidents and are then worried about going there.
For example, my friend who is mentally deficient (bless his little heart) has concluded that my county is a bad neighborhood because there was one murder recently. But we had none as in zero for about 8 of the last 10 years. Don't come here the crime rate is soaring.
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Old 12-02-2014, 08:16   #14
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

Hi Everyone! I am from the UK and we shall be chartering a 44ft Cat out of Placencia next month. Your posts have already helped me greatly - and I wondered if belizesailor would you be so kind as to send me your notes? I would be really grateful - my email is tracie@bostonwhaler.co.uk. Another query I have 9if anyone can help?) We arrive on a Sunday lunchtime, will any of the supermarkets or stores be open? We we need to wait until Monday to get provisions? Cheers guys!! )
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Old 12-02-2014, 15:10   #15
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Re: Belize Cruising Safety

Miss T, will send notes. You should be fine provisioning on Sunday. The Chinese stores will be open. Forget which day Wallens is closed, but don't think its Sunday.
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