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Old 20-06-2018, 06:27   #1
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Dinghy Security Caribbean

How bad is dinghy theft in Caribbean?
When I read threads its almost as if its a case of when not if your dinghy will be stolen. I have images of hundreds of prying eyes waiting for their chance to pounce!

Can someone give me some first hand experience of what's going on and where the worst places are for theft in Caribbean.
I'll be there for about 4 months (Includes Bahamas)

Are thefts at night or in the day?

I read that you lock the dinghy up while ashore. Its hard to imagine what kind of system will be theft proof. I assume only a deterrent and maybe I can use long steel wired bicycle lock?

I imagine it would have to be pretty long unless there are some sort of rings ashore to lock to. What about when you go to the beach? I always padlock Outboard mounting clamps together whether on the dinghy or on my yacht.

Someone told me they simply hang my dinghy from the halyard while on boat? Doesn't seem overly safe to me as it would take no time at all to jump onboard and cut the halyard?

I have dinghy davits 3 metres out of water so was going to padlock dinghy to davits when ever I'm on the yacht

I'm more concerned with when I go ashore. Do I pay Boat boy to look after it? No idea what the going rate would be for that?

I was hoping to use my Walker Bay RID as it had awful melted tubes and an old scruffy 3.3hp motor and I assumed it would be a less desirable boat to steal. But the tubes are now not fixable and without tubes not stable enough for anything other that light seas. So now in addition to Walker Bay I'm going to get an inflatable rather than buy new tubes as Walker bay is a slow boat with max 3.3hp so probably not best option for Caribbean anyway.

We are definitely a cruising yacht. We don't look overly wealthy (certainly my bank account doesn't). I know locals in most cases are on low incomes, or out of work and every one in a boat has more money than them. We certainly wouldn't be trying to make anyone feel poor by being flashy and therefore hopefully making ourselves less of a target.
We certainly want to engage with the locals as we would with people back in New Zealand.

Thanks
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Old 20-06-2018, 07:35   #2
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

Caribbean is a big place. Crime varies a LOT between different locations. Where more specifically did you have in mind?

See the link below for more details:

https://safetyandsecuritynet.org

Personally, I lift my dinghy in the davits and lock it to the boat every night regardless of venue. Security cable attaches to motor, fuel tank, and dink.

BTW its not really dinghy theft...its outboard motor theft...its just expedient to take the dink too. Stolen dinks are usually found abandonded later minus motor.
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Old 20-06-2018, 07:55   #3
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

Hardly a month goes by without somebody loosing their dinghy on the Rio Dulce. Yet up in MX, there never seems to be any dinghy theft.
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Old 20-06-2018, 07:57   #4
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

We locked the engine to something immovable when ashore.
We made it a policy to hoist our dinghy up on the davits every night.
If we thought there was a particular risk we chained the engine to the boat. The engine was locked to the dinghy.

We chose this lock for its effectiveness and intimidation factor:
Kryptonite 999492 14mm x 60-Inch, 1415 New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and New York Disc Lock (Black).
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Old 20-06-2018, 08:47   #5
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

We are crossing Atlantic and arriving in Barbados.
Then making our way through most of the islands up to Bahamas.
Then Cuba, Jamaica and on to Panama canal.


I hear Cuba & Bahamas are not a problem for dinghy thefts
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Old 20-06-2018, 14:58   #6
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

Might not be applicable to your situation but;
Hoist dinghy every night.
Drill and bolt engine to transom; cut off bolt ends and ping, fill hole with sealant
Cable lock while at the dock.
Mess up the engine cover

Don’t be too upset when it goes missing
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Old 20-06-2018, 15:11   #7
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

We have been all through the Eastern Caribbean the last couple of years....don't be the low hanging fruit...keep you dinghy locked, especially the motor and gas tank. Different areas of the Eastern Caribbean have different levels of thefts. Rodney Bay in St. Lucia is the dinghy theft capital...period. They have bolt cutters...your dinghy is really only safe when it is up on your davits....and you are a very light sleeper. Solar powered motion sensor lights go a long ways....lock your hatches when you leave your boat, remove anything of value that is easily removed from the cockpit.

I don't want to make it appear that the Eastern Caribbean is unsafe, or don't go there...but ...keep things locked....it's not only the folks in the Caribbean, but fellow cruisers who steal and thieve.....


We have been fortunate so far, no issues with theft, and we have travelled as far south as Grenada, back up to Antigua and over to SXM, but we lock our stuff up, all the time....not fun, but....just becomes a pattern that you can easily follow.


The Eastern Caribbean is beautiful...but changing. Dont' flash wads of money, jewellery, and such, don't leave your dinghy, motor and gas tank unlocked....dont' be the low hanging fruit....and you should be just fine.
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Old 20-06-2018, 15:21   #8
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

One of the many aspects of the San Blas (Panamá) we like is that crime is very rare. However, even in the San Blas, I still lift & lock every night.
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Old 20-06-2018, 17:22   #9
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline Joan View Post
...

We are definitely a cruising yacht. We don't look overly wealthy (certainly my bank account doesn't). I know locals in most cases are on low incomes, or out of work and every one in a boat has more money than them. We certainly wouldn't be trying to make anyone feel poor by being flashy and therefore hopefully making ourselves less of a target.
We certainly want to engage with the locals as we would with people back in New Zealand.

Thanks
News flash. Anyone who can cruise around the Carib on even a modest yacht is wealthy beyond comprehension for the vast majority of locals.
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Old 27-06-2018, 05:50   #10
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

There are security updates and sites. Rodney Bay in St Lucia is notorious. Security in St Lucia and St Vincent is not good.

Cable is easily cut. Use heavy galvanized high strength chain. Stainless is too soft.

Use all stainless locks. Bronze/steel mixes eventually seize. Soak your locks in fresh water occasionally and use light oil so they operate easily

Lock your motor and your gas can to your dinghy and your dinghy to the dock. Gas lines have also been stolen so keep a spare on board. If your dinghy has a locker you might put the hose in it.

Paint your motor some bilious ugly color.

Pull your dinghy out of water at night or when it's not in use. This also keeps the grass off of its bottom. We lock the dinghy to the boat at night.

Some islands are more secure than others. The boat is your home. The dinghy is your car. Replacing anything in the Caribbean is difficult and expensive and you will have little selection.
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Old 27-06-2018, 06:37   #11
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

Gunky has it correct..

We have spent 2 years now in the eastern Caribbean. We lift and lock our dinghy every night. When we tie up to a dinghy dock, we ALWAYS lock it. We use a galvanized steel chain and have the motor locked to the dink with both a padlock and a steel cable.

This year alone, we spent about 5 weeks in Rodney Bay. Yes, dinghies were stolen (one right off the boat next to us). In most of those cases the people left thier dinghy on just a painter. In a couple of cases, they used a steel cable that was cut. In one case the person had lifted it on davits (but not locked), they actually caught the thief removing thier motor while the dinghy was in the davits.

Just be smart.. Don't be the low hanging fruit. Here is a list of places I would consider higher risk and we take extra care.

St. Lucia
St. Martin
St. Vincent
Grenadines (Tobago cays, Mayreau, Union)
Canouan (don't bother going here)
Dominica
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Old 27-06-2018, 07:34   #12
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

I have yet to get my experience with dinghy security problems, but I imagine Gunky and Traveller are quite wise. It's akin to the joke about the two guys camping and one wakes up to the sound of a bear in their campsite. He starts putting on his shoes and the other guy says, "What are you doing? You can't outrun a bear!", to which he replies, "I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you!" Make it difficult and the bear will move along to the next guy.

I also wonder about the Saturday Night Live "Chameleon" tactic
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Old 27-06-2018, 09:38   #13
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

Do any of the following islands have major dinghy theft problems:


Barbadoes
BVI & USVI


Martinique


Guadleoupe
Antigua
St Kitts
Puerto Rico
Dominican Republic


Jamaica
San Blas - Panama


Thanks for all the great suggestions - we nearly always keep dinghy on davits and have brought a lock so dinghy is more secure on davits. I always remove motor from dinghy when on davits for the night.


As it appears that Outboard theft is more of a concern than the dinghy itself I will lock the new outboard in the wet-locker onboard when not in use.
Seems a shame but I think i'll splatter paint all over it to ugly it up!
I'll use my old ugly 3.3hp mariner when power is not an issue as its a less desirable outboard.
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Old 27-06-2018, 10:32   #14
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline Joan View Post
Do any of the following islands have major dinghy theft problems:


Barbadoes - No
BVI & USVI - YES


Martinique - No


Guadleoupe - No
Antigua - No
St Kitts - No
Puerto Rico - Yes (especially the spanish virgins)
Dominican Republic - No


Jamaica - ?
San Blas - Panama - ?


Thanks for all the great suggestions - we nearly always keep dinghy on davits and have brought a lock so dinghy is more secure on davits. I always remove motor from dinghy when on davits for the night.


As it appears that Outboard theft is more of a concern than the dinghy itself I will lock the new outboard in the wet-locker onboard when not in use.
Seems a shame but I think i'll splatter paint all over it to ugly it up!
I'll use my old ugly 3.3hp mariner when power is not an issue as its a less desirable outboard.
However.. There was at least 2 reports in Martinique this year.. Pretty sure one was a "bad tie" issue that floated away. The second incident is highly likely to have been another "cruiser".

Again.. Lift and lock every night.
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Old 27-06-2018, 18:40   #15
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Re: Dinghy Security Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline Joan View Post
Do any of the following islands have major dinghy theft problems:


Barbadoes
BVI & USVI


Martinique


Guadleoupe
Antigua
St Kitts
Puerto Rico
Dominican Republic


Jamaica
San Blas - Panama


Thanks for all the great suggestions - we nearly always keep dinghy on davits and have brought a lock so dinghy is more secure on davits. I always remove motor from dinghy when on davits for the night.


As it appears that Outboard theft is more of a concern than the dinghy itself I will lock the new outboard in the wet-locker onboard when not in use.
Seems a shame but I think i'll splatter paint all over it to ugly it up!
I'll use my old ugly 3.3hp mariner when power is not an issue as its a less desirable outboard.
Travellerw covered most of these, but to fill out at least one more: San Blas, Pamamá: No...crime of any kind is rare in the San Blas.

Ive cruised Jamaica without issue and CSSN shows no recent incident reports there so I think its safe to call that a "No" too...though Jamaica is not without its other issues.
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