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Old 08-04-2011, 08:44   #31
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Re: Crime Whilst Cruising the Bahamas

Well put osirissail. I've cruised a few places where I didn't want to leave my boat for fear it would be ransacked when I got back. and also places where I never locked anything and felt fine with it. You just have to be able to assess the threat and act accordingly.
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Old 17-04-2011, 19:03   #32
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Re: Crime Whilst Cruising the Bahamas

Kinda of long but.....
We cruised Abaco for the better part of '07 and '08. Never a problem except for the young couple with the brand new dink with the brand new 6 hp outboard. They went to the dingy dock in Marsh Harbor for some exercise. When they returned, no dink. I have been to the dock many times. I have my old 15 hp (painted ugly black) padlocked through the handles to the boat and I have a 15' piece of 3/8" cable with an eye on each end locked to the dock with a keyed padlock and to the boat with a combination lock (if I loose the key I can still take the boat), and have never had a problem.
Going into Nassau for the first time we anchored just off the BASURA dock. This being our first time there, I put batteries into my motion sensor alarm and put it in the cockpit. At 0200 the thing went off. I thought it was a false alarm and since this was the first time I used it though nothing of it and went back to bed. Next morning I took the dink to the other boats anchored there and discovered they had been boarded in the night and watches, cash and jewelry were stolen. The thief swam out and "visited" everyone anchored out.
We stayed a month there sitting out Ike and two more storms. We decided to take a dock for a couple weeks because of the storms. We were very comfortable there, with the guard making rounds every 30 minutes or so. Strange, but on our last night there we were boarded again, I feel sure by the same guy. This time however I didn't have the alarm on (the guard was there). The thief came down into the saloon and looked for stuff he could put in his speedo but alas, we had our stuff in the rear berth with us and the a/c on. Well I guess he was mad so he decided to take our tender, no I didn't have it locked. He put the oars on the dock and when he untied the painter he dropped the clip hook on the deck. This woke us up and when I stood up and opened the rear hatch, there he was. I asked him kindly to get the F--- off my boat. He looked at me and just stepped off the stern back under the docks. I raised the alarm to no avail.
I learned a couple lessons. Just because you are at a dock doesn't mean you are safe, and the big one, I would hate to think I would have shot a young punk just because he was "picking the low hanging fruit" from the cruisers. Since then I have bought more battery powered alarms and a large can of "bear" spray (which I would not hesitate to use). And yes I had a declared gun on board.
P. S. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight either because then I would be more likely to use the aforementioned declared gun.
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Old 17-04-2011, 20:13   #33
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Re: Crime Whilst Cruising the Bahamas

One method I've heard about for the dink is to install a 6 inch round port in the bottom (rib) beach the dink and take the port with you. Same works on deck or davit.
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Old 10-05-2011, 17:30   #34
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Re: Crime Whilst Cruising the Bahamas

I have a home in Nassau and have lived there for four months every winter for the last 10 years. I have kept a boat there, year round, for 8 of those years, 5 years in a downtown marina and three at a private dock in Coral Harbor on the south side of the island. After reading these posts I'm surprised some of you are still alive. In recent years, crime has gotten a lot worse. Most of it is local on local. Last year a group invaded a home and executed the guy in front of his children. That's not common, but it's also not rare and more and more unwary tourists are becoming targets. Downtown is pretty safe from violent crime but you most definitely don't want to go "Over the Hill" at night. Away from downtown you are always at risk because if you show the usual tourist signs you are easy meat. When we first went down, I was looking for a slip in Coral Harbor and was trapped by a car that backed up a dead end street, blocked me in and came out with a mask and gun. He took jewelry, cash and cameras and then said "Now we're going to lock your wife in the trunk and go downtown to a cash machine and clean out your account". Thank God, she panicked and started screaming, so he took off. I don't know what I would have done otherwise, but I can tell you she wasn't going into that trunk!

I was later told by the police that driving a rental car (all rentals have a license plate with an SD prefix) was like painting a target on my back. They said the thief probably targeted us early and followed us until we were in a relatively deserted spot before hitting us. BTW, "deserted" was in a quiet residental neighborhood that is considered upscale by locals. Our attorney lives there. The police took half an hour to get there and did zero, even with a description of the car and a partial on a four digit plate number. I later made a friend in the CID division of the police department who told me this was typical because, in such a small society, everybody is someones cousin or uncle and you, the visitor, will be gone soon so why bother. Another local friend said they lost one or two generations to the old days when the Bahamas was drug central. The US forced a crackdown and there are plenty of young men who don't know how to earn a living, except by crime.

Don't kid yourself. It's naive to think you're in a lovely island nation full of happy natives. You're in what is almost a third world country where most people are very poor. There are places a half a mile from Bay Street that don't even have running water. You bring your jug to the community tap. By comparison almost any cruiser is a fat cat. You're a lot more likely to be a victim of petty theft than violent crime but good sense should prevail. Don't leave stuff unattended and unlocked. Petty theft can happen anywhere, anytime. That GPS in your cockpit costs more than lots of people make in a month or two. Mine was stolen in the middle of the day in a marina when I went to the Ships Store for a screw. That night, the thief came back and unscrewed my battery charger that was mounted in an unlocked cockpit locker. Now when I leave the boat, even for five minutes, it's locked up.

That said, don't think I'm going overboard and telling you you're going to a lawless wasteland. It's a great place. The Bahamian people, for the most part, are lovely, friendly and helpful. It's a wonderful place. Just don't forget it only takes one rotten apple to ruin your trip. Be prudent and you'll probably be fine. Just don't shift the odds in favor of the crook. You may not see them, but they are most definitely there, watching and waiting for the opportunity to make a score.

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Old 10-05-2011, 17:50   #35
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Re: Crime Whilst Cruising the Bahamas

Good post! People make the same mistake here in Florida. They buy the "happiest place on earth" line that Disney puts out and don't realize that the same tourist places that bring in visitors also can attract "less desirable" elements. The basic rule of thumb is common sense! Realize that no place is completely immune to the baser parts of human nature.
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Old 11-05-2011, 00:02   #36
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Re: Crime Whilst Cruising the Bahamas

I have done the Bahamas maybe a dozen times over the last 10+ years and have never had an occurrence where petty thief or robbery or worse happened to me and my boat. So just like the often quoted "statistic" that for cruisers, 90% of our time is spent at anchor/moored/marina and only 10% of our time is spent actually underway from one island/harbor to another - I suspect the percentage of cruisers who have been "hit" by crime is very similar.
- - But like the lottery or other activities based on chance - do it long enough and your number will come up and in this thread you will be robbed/invaded/injured/killed. In times of economic distress (last couple of years) the amount of crime against boaters has remained, IMHO, rather static in the eastern Caribbean. What has changed is that there are fewer cruising boats coming down island so the crime per boat percentages seems to be escalating.
- - But more importantly, as each little island nation suffers increasing population growth but decreasing employment/job growth, people need to eat and need to buy the Nike shoes and other "mod" stuff they really don't need but are convinced by advertising that unless you have them you are not "human." So petty crime increases in apparent quantity.
- - The past history of any island as being tranquil and a "mini-paradise" is heavy promoted by the island's tourism minister and "pushed" to the public.
- - Most every human I know just wants to be left alone and to enjoy the fruits of our labors over our working years but unfortunately those days are mainly gone/historical now. You must - or at least I must - take common sense security procedures about where, when and how I journey from one great place to another. None of the security procedures are onerous - they are just bothersome and contrary to our vision of what "paradise" really is about. So we resist taking security measures until we personally get "hit." Then we get mad and with a bad recollection/memory think that being back on land was better/safer. Welcome to the real world. . . .
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:36   #37
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Re: Crime Whilst Cruising the Bahamas

The very reason we never visit Nassau for any reason. Like so many large cities the concentrated living conditions of the "Have nots" and lack of work has led some to take to the dark side. I suspect this lawlessnes willl someday spread to the outer islands but for now it is a great place to cruise.
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Old 13-05-2011, 12:11   #38
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Re: Crime Whilst Cruising the Bahamas

At one time even the poorest had some ethicsand reservations about engaging in crime. No there seems to be some acceptance of criminals amoung some social circles.
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Old 14-05-2011, 11:10   #39
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Re: Crime Whilst Cruising the Bahamas

Sure.. higher social circles have their share of criminals too... lawyers, bankers,...
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