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Old 20-04-2008, 21:39   #16
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Dog? Quarantines. Unless you are staying in the US, your dog will be confiscated and quarantined at a really high cost. Something small and yappy can be thrown overboard or stomped by an intruder, something big enough to be a deterrent is going to need some dedicated attention and space. I wouldn't buy a dog as a defense system for a boat.

Cattle shocks? Uhuh. Aside from the electricity bleeding into things you don't want it to as salt spray conducts it around, your intruder would soon own your boat. Folks have used electric shock in the US many times over the years--and most of the time, the courts have said you can't zap an intruder, you might kill them. Again, heaven help you in a foreign court as well.

Nice ideas, but depending on who your intruders are and where you are...you may just piss 'em off and get 'em angry with that kind of stuff. You'd be better off taking some self-defense courses and learning martial arts if you don't want to carry arms of any kind.

The US Army Rangers have said that the finest weapon in the world is a Ranger--stripped naked and bare, he's still a weapon by himself. But even with that training, they still prefer to carry other ones. No weapons, no training, no skills? You may have to consider "love thy enemy" and not resisting. Sorry 'bout that. Hollywood aside, that philosophy just doesn't work too well in our world but I wish you luck with it.
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Old 20-04-2008, 22:01   #17
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Hi Terri. I hope you don't mind me saying this. But seeing as you have been through a couple of ordeals yourself, could you answer how you now view it in Hind sight. Was there anything that you could have perhaps done differently that may have helped. Like, if you had Martial Arts experiance, do you think you could have got out of the situation??
As for my thoughts on options, Self defence courses would be a good start. They teach you not just the Martial Art part, but they also get into using what you have at hand to defend yourself. Like using your car keys for a weapon etc. And most importantly, it teaches you about being aware of your environment and of people. Well worth it.
On board, firstly, don't be afraid of letting off a flare. If you are threatend or boarded, a Parachute flare scares the hell out of everyone. Especially if you are at anchor. And as already said, loud Sirens and Horns along with a flashing strobe.
In regards to the electric fence Idea. You have to have an Earth and the live part. Earthing to the sea water will not work. Earthing to a Wet(salt water) mat at the door and the handle made as the live part will work. Don't earth to the Sea as you are putting high energy into the water that could find it's way to the other end of the connection and will cause Electrolysis. Not to mention the possibility of having the odd stunned mullet float to the surface :-)
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Old 20-04-2008, 22:21   #18
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Martial Arts training would be good on several levels. It will increase your self-confidence and reduce your level of anxiety. That, in itself, will make you more secure because you will appear less vulnerable.

It has important health benefits because it will get you into a regular exercise routine.

Forget the "Electric fence" routine. You'd more than likely end up hurting yourself or friends. Besides, it would be a maintenance nightmare.

Enjoy cruising.....it's all about experiencing life, not fearing it
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Old 21-04-2008, 00:09   #19
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Let's see --- it's late, and I will try to be succinct. First-off, good thoughts and ideas thus far, and I appreciate it. A few things I hadn't thought of included the blinding light ("surefires" are one brand) and just keeping a parachute flare nearby. And the airhorn. Like I said --- I have traveled a ton internationally by land, as well as by sea kayak and by open dinghy, but not a ton coastally in a "yacht" I know from my experiences in Mexico and Central America on my little traveling open dinghy and my sea kayak that "yachties" are seen a bit differently than "derelict beach campers" (which is the category we fit in!). SO -- appreciate the input from this crowd.

Honestly, the situations that I've gotten into have been a combination of my not really believing that there was actually any threat, a complacency and comfort in my environment, and an unwillingness to believe that there was anyone who could possibly mean me any harm. I generally see the world that way. Thus --- would martial arts have made a difference? Well, in one case, the group had knives and it freaked me out so much that I kinda went ballistic and struggled quite hard --- and the ruckus attracted attention and eventually caused them to let me go and run away. I have no idea if martial arts would have made a difference, not being so trained, but being a little more willing to adopt a "defensive attitude" (like defensive driving) might well have prevented the scene from happening. This was in a middle eastern country, and I *do* know that the assailants had targeted and tracked me b/c of my gender and solitary status (b/c this got back via the grapevine).

The other situation involved a couple of individuals with sharpened tire irons who decided that two women surf kayaking and sleeping locked in their truck on a remote Mexican beach in a little "campground" (there were other individuals around and it was a designated camping area) needed to provide $$ and camping goods. They hung around for a few hours, trashed the truck and ensured it would not run, took all the valuables, and spent awhile "deciding" whether to make good on their threats. In the end, they left when they got most of what they wanted. What stopped this from becoming far, far worse was the ability to converse in spanish and become real people that they were interacting with vs. just faceless tourists. Martial arts? Perhaps or probably? I dunno. Seems that with knives or non-guns this could have some real benefit, and I definately think that some good hand to hand self defense training could certainly be great exercise and strength training, and probably couldn't hurt!

So --- hindsight, for me, is one of the reasons I am asking this question --- being aware that there are actually reasons to be attentive and aware of possibilities -- quite the opposite of being afraid -- being aware. If I wanted to avoid all risks, I'd not go cruising or even leave the country --- at the same time, I want to not repeat my mistakes of complacency and failing to anticipate that there could be problems --- and find ways to help deter my/our selection as good targets. I know that in both of these situations (and a handful of others from friends who are also independent traveling women) that we know that some situations develop b/c folks looking for targets will go for the perceived easier ones, often women. Add to that the perception that "yachties" are "rich", seems like it also adds a bit of incentive if folks are looking for easy cash, so.......just looking for good, deterrent ideas from folks who have been there and know more than me!

Thanks for reading.
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Old 21-04-2008, 01:16   #20
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There is one effective defense unmentioned: Secure the hatches and companionway, from inside. An open companionway, or an unsecured one, is basically the same thing as sleeping with an open door in your home--and not many of us would do that. If you can trigger an alarm or get a flare off from a hatch while the bad guys can't get in, that's at least a chance of scaring them away.
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Old 21-04-2008, 01:40   #21
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The better (woman's) personal safety courses offer much more than "martial arts" combat techniques, including:
- situational awareness & risk assessment
- victim psychology

Use the natural tendency of cruisers to adopt one another. Become part of the community of cruisers.
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Old 21-04-2008, 02:11   #22
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Windsaloft, I like your analogy of defensive driving - that seems to be on exactly the right track.
Another adage :"luck seems to favour those who have a plan" which is the reason (it seems) that you are posting this thread.
Not sure if I would be willing to fire a parachute flare below decks but might be willing to discharge a fire extinguisher if necessary.
A $50 to $100 dollar 12 volt electronic siren can be very very loud below decks. While of course you are also subject to the noise, at least you know what it is and are (or should be) in control of the duration.
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Old 21-04-2008, 03:34   #23
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Don't see why the electric fence idea shouldn't work. It just gives a very strong jolt for a very short time. I knew an old bloke who used one to reset his heart rhythms when he had palpitations. Our kids used to play chicken by pissing on an electric fence!. It would certainly give someone a fright. I used to have a fire extinguisher by my bed and an axe handle when I lived in Port Moresby.
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Old 21-04-2008, 04:55   #24
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Terri,

It sounds like you really knew the answer all along... I think you did.

It's situation awareness, cultural sensitivity and the psychology of predators.

I didn't think we had to go there, as I thought everyone had this stuff running through their minds when traveling. It sounds as though you may not have (reading your post below) in the past. Unfortunately, it sounds like you learned the hard way that you have to be more aware of your surroundings, never be in a position you can't escape from, and sniff out weirdos as you enjoy your travels.

I'm not good at judging people... that is... until I can tell they're crazy. There is something in the eye or mannerisms that starts sending off strong signals and warns me when someone is about to become crazy. I usually get out of the situation when I feel that.

Also, I probably would not have camped on that beach you camped on. I know it's travel adventure and fun, but to me... I'm too parinoid... ha ha I would have felt too insecure and would not have done it. It's too exposed to the general public and there isn't a great escape from it if cornered.

I hate to be quick to judge and put you in a category, but I have met many people with the same outlook you describe while traveling. The outlook that everything is great, everyone is harmless, the world is a wonderful place, etc... Now I am envious of this outlook - don't get me wrong. But, I have seen people get into trouble with this outlook because they don't always percieve a threat as it is developing. They don't get nervous when people start acting weird. They end up "going with the flow" while traveling and going with locals to any number of places from which there is no escape.
Now 99% of the time, it's fine... but that one or two times when someone has bad intentions... not worth the 99% IMO.

I mean you can see it like this:

The USA is a pretty unsafe place to be in a lot of ways. Wander around many cities in the middle of the night, drunk or something and you're going to end up in the same situation we are talking about. Do it in a foreign country and you may end up in that same situation. People are people everywhere you go... there are good and bad. They have different cultures, but there are good and bad everywhere.

Good security means doing things that keep you away from the bad people.

On the upside, a boat at anchor eliminates nearly the entire population from getting at you. You can't just walk up to a boat and rob it. You have to first get a boat yourself. That keeps a lot of would be theives away.



Quote:
Originally Posted by windsaloft View Post
Let's see --- it's late, and I will try to be succinct. First-off, good thoughts and ideas thus far, and I appreciate it. A few things I hadn't thought of included the blinding light ("surefires" are one brand) and just keeping a parachute flare nearby. And the airhorn. Like I said --- I have traveled a ton internationally by land, as well as by sea kayak and by open dinghy, but not a ton coastally in a "yacht" I know from my experiences in Mexico and Central America on my little traveling open dinghy and my sea kayak that "yachties" are seen a bit differently than "derelict beach campers" (which is the category we fit in!). SO -- appreciate the input from this crowd.

Honestly, the situations that I've gotten into have been a combination of my not really believing that there was actually any threat, a complacency and comfort in my environment, and an unwillingness to believe that there was anyone who could possibly mean me any harm. I generally see the world that way. Thus --- would martial arts have made a difference? Well, in one case, the group had knives and it freaked me out so much that I kinda went ballistic and struggled quite hard --- and the ruckus attracted attention and eventually caused them to let me go and run away. I have no idea if martial arts would have made a difference, not being so trained, but being a little more willing to adopt a "defensive attitude" (like defensive driving) might well have prevented the scene from happening. This was in a middle eastern country, and I *do* know that the assailants had targeted and tracked me b/c of my gender and solitary status (b/c this got back via the grapevine).

The other situation involved a couple of individuals with sharpened tire irons who decided that two women surf kayaking and sleeping locked in their truck on a remote Mexican beach in a little "campground" (there were other individuals around and it was a designated camping area) needed to provide $$ and camping goods. They hung around for a few hours, trashed the truck and ensured it would not run, took all the valuables, and spent awhile "deciding" whether to make good on their threats. In the end, they left when they got most of what they wanted. What stopped this from becoming far, far worse was the ability to converse in spanish and become real people that they were interacting with vs. just faceless tourists. Martial arts? Perhaps or probably? I dunno. Seems that with knives or non-guns this could have some real benefit, and I definately think that some good hand to hand self defense training could certainly be great exercise and strength training, and probably couldn't hurt!

So --- hindsight, for me, is one of the reasons I am asking this question --- being aware that there are actually reasons to be attentive and aware of possibilities -- quite the opposite of being afraid -- being aware. If I wanted to avoid all risks, I'd not go cruising or even leave the country --- at the same time, I want to not repeat my mistakes of complacency and failing to anticipate that there could be problems --- and find ways to help deter my/our selection as good targets. I know that in both of these situations (and a handful of others from friends who are also independent traveling women) that we know that some situations develop b/c folks looking for targets will go for the perceived easier ones, often women. Add to that the perception that "yachties" are "rich", seems like it also adds a bit of incentive if folks are looking for easy cash, so.......just looking for good, deterrent ideas from folks who have been there and know more than me!

Thanks for reading.
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Old 21-04-2008, 05:44   #25
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Terri,

Well, there's a lot of stuff in these posts so far for you to pick and choose from. I'll throw in a few more.

Take steps to know where the potentially dangerous spots are, and avoid them. Make use of Internet sources like Noonsite & Caribbean Safety and Security Net, SSB nets that are operated at fixed times and freqs each day, local daily VHF radio nets in the more popular anchorages, newspapers like Caribbean Compass, and discussions with fellow cruisers. I'm using some Caribbean examples, but every region has it's own sources of info. Take anecdotal reports with a grain of salt--they may be somewhat embellished.

Get to know folks on nearby boats in your anchorage so that you can call on them in an emergency. There's always some kind of social activity going on to give you that opportunity.

Have a set of stainless steel tubes welded into a grid that can be locked in your companionway slots so you can have ventilation at night. A two-piece grid can be stored more easily. I have a photo if you're interested.

Buy a motion detector (they're inexpensive) for the cockpit that will wake you up if someone comes aboard, coupled with right deck lights and a siren that you can turn on from below. No intruder will stay around with all that going on.

Mace or pepper spray that emits a stream, not a fog. You might Mace yourself with the fogging kind if discharged down below.

It sounds silly to me, but I have heard of cruisers who have tape recordings of a viscous dog snarling and barking. Most native Caribbean islanders are very leary of barking dogs and stay clear of them.

Kanani raised the issue of cultures, which is very valid. People from other cultures will not always think as you do. You need to understand the local situation.

Having said all of the above, I've never implemented any of it, other than staying away from one particular "hot spot" on a single island here in the Caribbean. We've never had a single "threatening" event. Oh, I did buy a small cannister of pepper spray before we set out, but I'm not sure where I stowed it...never felt the need to have it nearby, so it's lost now.

By the way, where do you intend to do your cruising?

All the best,
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Old 21-04-2008, 05:49   #26
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Originally Posted by ssullivan View Post
I hate to be quick to judge and put you in a category, but I have met many people with the same outlook you describe while traveling. The outlook that everything is great, everyone is harmless, the world is a wonderful place, etc... Now I am envious of this outlook - don't get me wrong. But, I have seen people get into trouble with this outlook because they don't always percieve a threat as it is developing. They don't get nervous when people start acting weird.
Funnily enuf I got the opposite impression , I thought she already had a good handle on wandering around and was looking more for boat specific wrinkles - from having another dollar sign stuck to her forehead No experiance boat wise in the 3rd world, but other experiances lead me to say attitudes vary from country, from location, to people and also over time - not a great deal of help I know

Quote:
They end up "going with the flow" while traveling and going with locals to any number of places from which there is no escape.

Now 99% of the time, it's fine... but that one or two times when someone has bad intentions... not worth the 99% IMO.
Arrrrr, yer no fun .....my ratio is pretty close to your percentage - but christ have I taken some risks / done some really dumb stuff ......IME it's a whole new definition of being "alone" when up sh#t creek without a paddle a longggggggg way from "home".........Ironically my past "experiances" kinda helped me "Bond" with the late Missus though after I hooked up with her I never got much by the way of trouble up in Bangkok at least. As well as me getting some smarts (at last!).........Sharks scared of Crocodile (and family).....but that's another story

Boat wise I would definately make sure intruders cannot get below uninvited, and I would also give consideration to being able to eject any folk that have been invited (in error)......or at least having a way out planned - even if a swim ashore for assistance.

IME if staying around for a while, making an effort to get known locally as a nice person goes a long way to preventing trouble - being a willing source of income (within reason) is not always a bad thing either.....especially when it comes to seeking assistance or advice....of course these things take time, are no guarantee and yer can't plan for every situation especially when travelling through places where it is simply impossible to know everything that could proof useful......that's what hindsight is for!
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Old 21-04-2008, 06:37   #27
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.... it is simply impossible to know everything that could proof useful......that's what hindsight is for!
I LIKE that, mind if I borrow the phrase - to bad if you do
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Old 21-04-2008, 07:00   #28
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Read Pat Henry's book 'By the Grace of the Sea' to get a woman single-hander's perspective.
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Old 21-04-2008, 07:59   #29
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A motion detector that sets off a recording of a huge angry barking dog down below works when you're not on the boat. If you're on the boat display a flare gun at the ready as you start the recording. Most thieves are just that, thieves and are looking for something easy. I look a security the same way as I do swimming with sharks. You don't have to be able to out swim the shark, just the other swimmers. One of the most effective defenses for homes involves signs that declare home security is installed. Seems it works just as well even if there is in fact no system installed. Install a fake camera under the boom with a flashing red light.

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Old 21-04-2008, 08:50   #30
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A good sized knife on a cool looking knife-belt should do the trick. Nothing is scarier than an angry woman wielding a big knife!
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