An emotional topic, to say the least.
On Cruiserforums.com, there is a discussion going on regarding a recent incident in Mexico. Over 6 pages of comments in just a day of posting.
Comments range from both extremes – ‘It’s my right’ to ‘Why does anyone need a firearm?’ – interesting to read the comments, see what our neighbors are saying and thinking.
Our philosophy here at Yacht Security (and most security providers I know of) is that it is the owner/captain’s responsibility to investigate the laws and circumstances of the countries they are going to visit, and plan accordingly. Research and be aware of the consequences of your actions, then make an educated choice – if you decide to carry firearms, be trained in their usage and safety. If you choose not to carry, be aware of alternatives.
Having thought through the situation, better decisions can be made and overall you will be better prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Similar to the other preparations made prior to a cruise, such as provisioning, weather forecasting, etc. – not a separate ‘Security Decision Making Matrix’ which will probably be overlooked due to time and other priorities, but simply another planning tool.
Phantom Services utilizes the FlashLauncher as a key tool in its non-lethal arsenal for Maritime and Personal Security.
The FlashLauncher system combines a flashlight and a pepperball launcher into one product. Its bright 100 lumen flashlight will illuminate your immediate surroundings (such as the inside of your vessel or your weather decks), and allows identification of man-size objects at target accurate range (10 m/30 feet).
I plan on training with one of these systems in the near future, and will write a more in-depth review. From an initial glance, it looks like it may be an answer to keeping attackers from a contact distance, enhancing your survivability. This particular system may also satisfy those who do not care for firearms aboard.
There have been a couple of cases in the news lately – one in California and one in Canada. Not dinghy theft or outboard motors, but the entire vessel.
I have not heard any of the facts leading up to the thefts yet (still searching when I can for more information). Is this the new trend? Or just an anomaly?
Be careful with your vessel; consider investing in a monitoring/tracking system such as GOST Marine’s NT-Evolution (links here and here), or another system that fits your budget/needs.
Was reading through the blogoshpere, and came across an article from Rory Miller (noted author of ‘Facing Violence’) – here’s the link – Group Monkey Dance.
What piqued my interest is the following excerpt -
“Situational awareness is an over-used phrase. Without specific education of the things you need to be aware of it’s only words. Meaningless. For this type of crime, what you are looking for are patterns of motion. Groups moving purposefully together. Groups that cease talking and laughing and split up after spotting a mark. The patterns of a pincer movement or triangulation. Staged loitering, where people lounge against walls but with unusual separation, so that when you walk past they are perfectly staged, one in front of you and one or more behind.
Sometimes, in neighborhoods with experience of gang violence or where a violent group is creating trouble, you can read the flow of other people. As a rule of thumb, if you’re in an unfamiliar place and all the natives clear the street, you might want to think about it as well.”
Too often, we are told to be ‘aware of our surroundings’ – but rarely are we given examples of exercises/actions to take to actually do this. Mr. Miller’s books help bring the theory into life.
From Noonsite – Costa Rica, Golfito: Outboard Theft
From the article – “The thieves were pros: they stole the outboard while we had our aggressive English staffie onboard – who barks at everything and the hatches were open so he can run out if he hears things. They might have done it during a squall.
After talking to the locals, it seems these guys will steal from locals and cruisers alike, and they usually hit boats at dusk while everyone is at dinner. They will also hire kids to watch your boat, and they will go on and rob it while you are away (even if you leave lights on).
Be extra careful in Golfito to lock you motor or dinghy and do so with extra due diligence. These thieves are running unencumbered by officials. Use a big chain so they cannot just cut the cables and pry things off with crowbars. Outboard theft is a huge problem here, and lately it has been bad. Take maximum precautions.”
The cruisers mentioned took security precautions seriously, were/are aware of their surroundings, and had an onboard theft deterrent (D) – sometimes thieves will succeed, unfortunately.
One item that may have assisted with the deterrence is the use of the Alarm Lock – the noise may alert others nearby, even during a squall. It would be another layer in the security precautions.
Take care, watch out for each other.