The CSSN annual report for 2021 provides details and analysis of reported yacht crimes in the Caribbean for 2021. As the Covid situation began to abate, restrictions and entry protocols opened up and a more typical cruising dynamic began to re-emerge. As did crimes against yachts in the Caribbean. Total reported crimes against yachts rose from the lows of 2020. Violent crimes increased, and included piracy, as well as piracy related suspicious activity.
CSSN celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021 and we continue in our mission to support the cruising community by encouraging and enabling the reporting as well as the archiving of accurate information about crimes against yachts. The information that CSSN publishes is sourced from vetted firsthand reports made by victims and those in our community who make reports. Volunteers work hard behind the scenes to vet and publish our fact based reports, while maintaining everyone’s privacy. We continue to improve the tools and information available to users on our website, safetyandsecuritynet.org. The published incident reports and supporting website tools like the very popular Zoom-Tap, Know & Go interactive maps feature inform our community about potential risks. Subscriptions to our (FREE) Alerts! continue to increase significantly as do followers on social media.
We continue in our valued partnerships with Noonsite, where you find selected CSSN reports, the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), and Boatwatch. The daily KPK HF net (SSB 8104 12:15 UTC) operates 365 days/year. Each of us has made important improvements to our offerings in 2021 and working together in complimentary ways, we each bring greater value and broadened benefits utilizing the best information available to our cruising community.
As described above, 2021 saw a significant increase in total reported incidents, coming off the low of 2020. Incidents increased from 72 to 102, a 42% increase. Violent incidents increased as well, from 3 to 7, including 4 occurrences of piracy related Suspicious Activity. Reported incidents were spread more broadly throughout the region as Covid protocols and restrictions relaxed, with St.Martin – French (17) + Dutch (5) = 22, Martinique (15), Grenada (13) and Panama (8) contributing more than 50% of the total reports. Crimes against yachts in each of these countries will be described in more detail below.
The increase year to year was not unexpected. Economic hardship and lack of improvement in meaningful enforcement/deterrence were not offset by improvements in cruiser awareness and preparedness. Dinghies/outboards remain a primary target for thieves. As cruisers have upgraded elements of their dinghy security thieves have also upgraded their tools and methods. Video surveillance at dinghy docks remains uncommon. Theft remains largely a crime of opportunity with too many dinghies left poorly secured with simple padlocks and cable. Even lifted dinghies are within the reach of determined thieves, making lifting AND secure locking the best practice. Intrusion alarms have become more affordable and more common, and are now utilized on many cruising yachts.
After the Covid low in 2020, 2021 saw a return of serious/violent crime. Attempted robbery (Guadeloupe), Assault (Mexico) and Piracy (Venezuela) combine with 4 piracy related Suspicious Activity events offshore (Nicaragua-3), and (Honduras-1) for 7 total.
Thefts continue to dominate, and approximately 50% of the total 102 reported incidents were concentrated in 4 countries – Saint Martin, Martinique, Grenada and Panama. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) after six straight years on the top countries list, is absent this year. However of the 4 crimes reported in SVG, 2 involved the theft of entire yachts from the Blue Lagoon/Young Island Cut anchorage. While no incident reports are presented here, use the popular Zoom-Tap, Know & Go feature on the CSSN website to review the detailed incident reports from these (or any) location easily.
Saint Martin (French) tops the list with 17 incidents (none violent), most of them thefts clustered in and around Marigot Bay. Island neighbor Sint Maarten (Dutch) was not immune to crime, and added 5 for an island total of 22.
Martinique (15), none violent, was again very active and makes its 3rd appearance in the top list in as many years. Half of all incidents were reported in St. Anne with the balance spread around the island. CSSN would like to express our special thanks to those who continue to engage and help to increase the participation of the French cruising community, serving to better inform the larger cruising community.
Grenada (13), none violent, returns to the top list for the 3rd straight year with incidents in the southern bays and (5) reported in Carriacou. This represents an increase from the lows of 2020 (5) but is well below the high of 19 in 2019.
Panama (8), none violent, returns to the top list after a one year absence, with 5 incidents reported in Bocas del Toro and the balance in Linton Bay. Given the increased level of activity in Bocas del Toro CSSN has expanded the locations menu on our online reporting form and adjusted historic reports in our database (and maps) as well.
First hand reports bring the most complete and best quality information to our community, and continue to dominate our published reports. We all depend on each other to self-report, but there is more to do. Please, support and help the community by getting the word out, tell 2 (or more!) friends about CSSN. CSSN volunteers have worked hard to make incident reporting accessible, easy and private. Reporting in all languages supported by Google is fully enabled.
If you are a victim, complete the simple online incident report, or contact net control during the daily SSCA HF net (SSB 8104 kHz at 12:15 UTC). If you become aware of an incident, encourage the victims to make a timely and private firsthand report to CSSN. Or, make a report yourself (we will work closely with you to get the best available facts). CSSN’s site, information and resources are tools made freely available (and ad free) to our cruising community. We all share the responsibility to use them wisely for our mutual safety and security.
CSSN remains an all-volunteer, independent, self-funded team. Please encourage your friends to subscribe to (FREE) Alerts!, or to follow us on social media. Check out the many resources available on our website and make CSSN a permanent part of your risk assessment and cruise planning process.
With your valued input CSSN informs, and captains decide.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!
Kim White and the all-volunteer CSSN team