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SAFETY TIPS FOR CRUISERS
Date: 6th June, 2011

Always on the forefront of everyone’s minds, particularly in a foreign country is the issue of safety and security and we advise that you take certain precautions, as you would anywhere:

  • Always ensure that your boat is properly locked and secured at all times.
  • Do not anchor your boat in deserted anchorages.
  • Ensure that you hire contractors known to the boatyards, the local marine trades association and other cruisers.  Do not hire someone “off the street” to do work for you. 
     
  • Become acquainted with the cruisers around you, look out for suspicious behaviour by unknown persons and let your neighbours know.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when handling cash and/or credit cards in public places (ATMs, banks, shops etc.)  As always, it is preferable not to carry large sums of cash with you; leave your cash in a safe place: the bank, hotel safe boxes, or ask your boatyard/marina if they provide services for securing valuables.
  • Do not invite strangers onto your vessel.  People met in bars may not be as friendly as they first appeared.
  • Pull your dinghies out of the water at night and make sure that they are properly locked to your vessel.  Dinghy and outboard motor theft ranks amongst the highest yacht related crimes committed in the Caribbean. 
     
  • Travel in groups as much as you can – particularly when taking public transportation or walking on the road
     
  • The use of controlled drugs such as cocaine, marijuana etc. is against the law.  If you are approached to buy these drugs firmly decline.  Breaking these laws carry stiff penalties – not just fines but prison sentences.
  • Report all incidences of crime to the relevant authorities
     
  • Listen to the cruisers net in your country of visit for ongoing matters and updates related to safety and security.
     
  • Mark or engrave all of your valuables so they may become easily recognizable should they be lost or stolen
     
  • If you are able to use a digital camera to (discreetly) capture images of suspicious boats and characters that may be lurking, this may be useful should you ever have to identify a perpetrator.

Some additional tips for securing your dinghy:

  • Never leave your dinghy in a questionable place. Although dinghies may be stolen from dinghy docks, it is easier to take them if no one is around.
     
  • Chain or wire the dinghy to your boat, at least overnight.  Always use chain or heavy stainless cable—the heavier the better--to secure a dinghy. It’s true that a thief can easily cut through this with wire cutters, but it’ll take him a few minutes more and he may rather go the easier route with an unprotected dinghy.
     
  • Many cruisers will lift the dinghy out of the water with a halyard and have it hang alongside around midships, between the gunnel and water, during the night. Others will pull the dinghy part way up the transom. Both of these tactics, particularly the former, will be discouraging to a thief.
     
  • Since the outboard is often the easiest thing for the thief to conceal and sell, he may search for good looking expensive outboards when he’s picking his target. Many people deliberately scratch up the cowling or make a mess with a paint brush.
     
  • Locking the outboard securely to the transom will discourage some thieves, because they sometimes remove it, leaving the dinghy behind. There are many products available for locking on outboards. Make it obvious that the outboard is locked to the transom.
     
  • Take the kill switch with you when you are not using the dinghy.  The more you can do to deter a thief the better. They want to hit and run quickly.
  • Never leave valuables, such as hand held VHF, in a dinghy. Have a compact water proof box to keep these in and take it with you when you leave the dinghy.

 



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