Friday, November 11, 2011

NKOTB - Pirates and Crime!

NKOTB (New Kids On The Boat) ... A Weekly Series Sharing Our Thoughts and Questions as Beginner Sailors and Future Cruisers.  NKOTB or Experienced Cruiser ... Tell Us Your Thoughts!

When telling landlubbers of our future cruising plans, it's not uncommon to hear all sorts of horror stories about pirates.   Therefore, as New Kids On The Boat this is another topic for consideration when choosing the cruising lifestyle.

While Ken and I are aware of the tragic murder of the crew on s/v Quest (not forgotten) and the kidnappings of other cruisers, we are also aware of the sad truth ... no place is guaranteed safe!  Stories of shooting sprees at IHOP, road rage, home invasions and crimes in large cities including our beloved New Orleans remind us that life comes with risks.  If we chose to "play it safe" and forget about cruising, then we may as well never step out of the house again!  Instead, we'll go cruising and take the same precautions that we use in everyday life.  Whether I'm in New Orleans or the Wal-Mart parking lot, I'm always aware of my surroundings and I never let my guard down with strangers.  It's a sad but necessary part of life.

Pirates aside, there's also the issue of petty crimes while cruising.  The dinghy, its motor, and the sailboat are often left unattended while exploring new places.  Night-time brings its own challenges, such as keeping intruders away while sleeping.  These things also make me think about cash and jewelry on board.  I've never been one to wear a lot of jewelry, and I imagine that more earthy jewelry will replace my gold and silver.  In fact, I've already sold most of my gold jewelry since the price of gold is so high.

Another controversial topic regards whether or not to have guns on board.  From what we've read, most places require you to turn over your guns when checking in, and retrieving them when exiting can really be a pain because it can cause you to have to back-track and change course.  It seems that guns may not be the option for us.  However, pepper spray, fillet knives and other items generally on board would make good weapons.

We've read of locks for the dinghy, alarms that can be set to go off when someone boards your boat, fake money to turn over if necessary, and having several different hiding places on the boat.  What precautions do you recommend to prevent becoming a victim?   Did you leave your jewelry behind with a loved one?  What are your thoughts regarding pirates and carrying a gun?

We love hearing everyone's advice and opinions so please give yours!

*By the way ... Noonsite is a great resource for cruising, plus they also have great info on pirate reports. 

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Note:  Here are the previous posts from this series.  Check them out and feel free to give us your advice.  We've really enjoyed reading your comments!


Sandee said...

Hubby and I are retired cops. We carry period. We always carry. We live in a cesspool too. Lots of gang activity and lots of thieves.

You are right to always be on guard. Look people directly in the eye if they are looking at you. Keep your head up and be very aware of your surroundings. This alone can take you out of the victim loop.

Pepper spray is good, but you'll have to live with it too after it is sprayed. We carried it when we were working and it can literally take you out of the game. It also doesn't work on some people. Nasty stuff. Don't know what strength the over the counter stuff is like, but the law enforcement stuff is very powerful.

Jewelry? If you don't have jewelry then you won't have to worry about it getting stolen. Lock it up in a safe deposit box if you want to keep it.

I wouldn't have anything of real value then you don't have to worry so much. Harden your boat and your dinghy. Make it difficult for a thief and they'll find something easier to steal.

You seem to be approaching this sailing just the way you should. You have to live your life to the fullest and that means sailing and living on your vessel.

Have a terrific day. :)

Latitude 43 said...

I was reading one of the tech blogs about a super powerful LED spotlight, that can actually cause temporary blindness. Combine this with hornet spray, and a good old punch in the groin, and you might have some pretty good defense. Been reading about a Borealis 1050 that many cops use.

S/V Veranda said...

We used to carry but got rid of it. Just too much hassle. Even carrying it from state to state can be huge issue. God forbid you use the thing.

A can of oven cleaner or wasp spray will shoot a solid stream, pretty far and make the bad guy wished he had taken the night off.

Some areas are safer than others, common sense will always be your best defence. Then again we do have a dog onboard....

Linda on Troubadour said...

We talked about all the things you mentioned before we left for our liveaboard lifestyle. For all the reasons you mentioned, we opted to not "carry"; however, we do have wasp spray, and various other household "weapons" and I hope I never have to use any of them. We also installed a motion detector to use when we are in unfamiliar and unknown areas. We do lock our dinghy. It is our only mode of transportation, and we are extra careful with it. We also have a rule (learned from other cruisers)that we are always on the boat before dark; therefore, we rarely eat out for supper or go anywhere at night. Be smart, know your surroundings and talk to locals and other cruisers about the area. We had a grill stolen - while we were in a marina - in the states! As far as jewelry, I left my good stuff at home. The more glamourous you appear to islanders, the more money it is presumed you have. I rarely wear jewelry anywhere - best to just leave it at home and pick up something that brings you fond memories while in the islands. When you go home, wear your favorite items again it will feel like Christmas!

laura and hans said...

In my opinion, in a true pirate situation, I don't think any gun a cruiser might have on board would make a bit of difference to what you'd find yourself up against. As for here in the states I would say yes, lock up your outboard motor, and don't leave things lying around loose (just like you would at your house). We had all kinds of people (who didn't have a clue!) warn us that pirates were all over the Bahamas. Mostly all we found there was a bunch of middle aged cruisers like us.
Luckily we really don't intend to venture very far from the states but I guess you should always be careful and alert.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Great tips guys! Thanks and we'll definitely use some of these when we finally untie the dock lines! Sounds like hornet spray is a cheap, easy and common weapon.

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