CSSN again congratulates and welcomes the ARC/ARC+ participants to the Caribbean. In its 35th year, this year’s 81 boat fleet made the 3000nm passage from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (with some stopping in the Cape Verdes) to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. Always a diverse fleet this year’s group, representing 24 countries, of 58 monohulls, 21 catamarans and 2 trimarans brought 408 crew (including 39 kids) aboard vessels from 9.3 to 27metres. The group includes seasoned veterans of the ARC/ARC+ rallies as well as first timers experiencing Caribbean cruising for the first time.
CSSN wishes all new and returning ARC/ARC+ participants safe and secure cruising and we are glad to share our many resources with this well informed group. It’s easy to Know Before You Go! Visit and bookmark www.safetyandsecuritynet.org and if you have not already, subscribe to our very popular ALERTS!, and use our popular Zoom-Tap, Know & Go maps as you plan your cruising adventure.
Ryan and Caroline Spott have been cruising since 2016 with their teenage daughter and middle-aged dog. They left Puget Sound so their daughter could experience the world and their dog could gain enough sea time to get his captain’s license. (he is a terrier; he dreams big) So far, they have traveled from Seattle, WA through the Panama Canal and are currently hunkered down on their catamaran Fizzgig on the US east coast trying to decide what their next destination will be.
Communications and networking are their specialty. Ryan is a full-time systems architect and Caroline owns a business designing, installing and maintaining fixed wireless and fiber optic networks. They enjoy sharing their technical expertise to help other cruisers stay connected. We welcome Ryan and Caroline to the CSSN team!
CSSN again welcomes the Salty Dawgs, 50 yachts comprised the 10th annual Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean. With careful planning and preparations amidst the challenges of Covid-19, 34 yachts arrived safely in Antigua, 12 in the Bahamas/Florida and 4 in the USVI from Hampton, Virginia and other east coast ports. Always a diverse fleet, this year’s fleet included 10 foreign flagged vessels, with monohulls (69%) and catamarans (31%) with 179 crew, including 8 yachts with kids on board. This year’s group includes seasoned veterans of the rally and the Caribbean as well as first timers, experiencing Caribbean cruising for the first time. Many will venture onward or remain in the Caribbean, with others returning to the US with the Salty Dawg Spring Rally, departing for the US in May 2021.
CSSN wishes all new and returning Dawgs safe and secure cruising, and we are glad to share our many resources with this well informed group. It’s easy to Know Before You Go ! Visit and bookmark www.safetyandsecuritynet.org and if you have not already, subscribe to our very popular ALERTS!, and use our popular Zoom-Tap, Know &Go maps as you plan your cruising adventure.
UPDATE: CSSN has received information from the SVG Coast Guard indicating the location of this event is substantially different from our earlier NEWS report. The correct location is approximately 1.5 miles off the coast of Mustique, at position 12° 50.32´ N, 061° 09.80´ W. The SVG Coast Guard also indicated that they are liaising with the Fisheries Department, Fisherfolks community, and other entities to mitigate against similar occurrences. Additional surveillance by the airwing of the Regional Security System of this area (Fads locations and fishing grounds) has been requested and additional patrols by the Coast Guard are being conducted.
CSSN has been unable to make direct contact with the victims for a firsthand report, but we have asked SVG Coast Guard and other officials to confirm/correct the published information. We also asked some additional questions. No responses have been received. CSSN will as is our policy, update when and if we receive additional information.
While an act of piracy against a fishing boat is not included in our published incident reports or piracy maps (not a crime against a yacht, per se) this is not a first or single incident. What seems to be a similar set of bad guys did fire shots and attempt to board/pirate a sailing yacht in April 2019, between Grenada and Trinidad, and in September 2019 fishermen from Grenada encountered a similar sounding set of bad guys off the northwest coast of Grenada. As none of these perpetrators have been apprehended, and the chances that they might be are extremely low it remains unknown the range of their intended or consequential activities. It would be wise for all captains anticipating an arrival from offshore or an offshore transit to review their own plans should such an occurrence affect them. When possible, traveling in a well-planned group or convoy should be considered.
It’s a good time for all captains to review the CSSN piracy maps (note the acts against fishermen are NOT displayed there) and understand what has/has not happened in these varied situations. There are helpful piracy planning precautions on the CSSN website. The single best preparation is to have a well-defined and agreed plan. CSSN makes it easy for captains/crew to stay well informed and to KNOW BEFORE YOU GO !
CSSN is publishing the 2019 Annual Report a bit later than usual this year as 2020 has brought many challenges and changes to our cruising community. Closed borders, lock-down/stay-at-home and curfew orders have now limited our cruising and social behaviors, as well as the activity of those who might victimize cruisers.
2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic became a part of our lives, reflects the highest number of reported crimes against yachts in the Caribbean, up substantially from 2018. Sadly, violent crimes were up sharply from 2018 lows.
The data and information that CSSN publishes is sourced from the firsthand reports made by victims and those in our community who make reports. CSSN enables and encourages reporting. Volunteers work hard behind the scenes to vet and publish our reports, while maintaining and improving the free offerings available on our site, safetyandsecuritynet.org. The published incident reports and supporting website tools like the very popular Zoom-Tap, Know & Go feature help inform our community about potential risks. Subscriptions to our (FREE) Alerts continue to increase significantly as do followers on social media.
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank those who make reports, the CSSN volunteers and the talented programmers who are helping us to make our site and services even better. A major effort is underway and the behind the scenes work will enable us to provide even greater user functionality as our new platform matures. So stay tuned for some new and exciting offerings from CSSN.
CSSN has partnered with Noonsite and the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) for several years and during 2019 we welcomed a third partner, Boatwatch.org , a natural extension and compliment to the daily SSCA KPK net (8104 kHz at 12:15 UTC). CSSN reports are increasingly incorporated into the newly revamped Noonsite website. We are all getting better, together.
As mentioned above, 2019 saw another significant increase in total reported incidents in the Caribbean basin. Incidents were up 26 % from 111 to 140, following a similar (+27%) increase in 2018. Violent incidents were up 100%, from 7 to 14, returning to a more typical level. The majority of the 2019 violent reports are from Panama. A large portion of the 2019 nonviolent increase (+21% from 104 to 126) was driven by a several months long string of burglaries that plagued some of the southern bays in Grenada. We will discuss the 4 top 2019 countries (Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines – SVG, Martinique and Panama) later in this report.
Some risks are being managed by routing/destination choices and by behavior. Convoys were quickly organized by Trinidad stakeholders when a serious attempted piracy event occurred on the passage between Grenada and Trinidad. Some cruisers in the western Caribbean regions have organized small group convoys. At anchor, many cruising boats have updated and upgraded their security systems now that low cost components make motion detection and intrusion alarms a common feature for cruising boats. Dinghies/outboards remain a primary target for thieves, and as cruisers have upgraded elements of their dinghy security, thieves have upgraded their tools and methods. 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.
After an unusually low 2018, 2019 sees a rise and return to a more typical level of violent crime. The 14 violent incidents reported in 2019 occurred in 5 countries. Panama recorded 7, including the only death, Honduras 3 (equal to 2018), Grenada added 2 and Nicaragua and Trinidad each had 1.
In 2018 4 countries- St. Lucia, SVG, Panama and Trinidad combined to account for about 50% of all reported incidents. In 2019, 4 countries again account for the majority, but the mix is somewhat different …. Grenada, SVG, Martinique and Panama.
While no detail incident charts 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.
Grenada – Absent from the top list for the last 2 years, Grenada returns for reasons similar to its earlier inclusion. A total of 31 Incidents were reported from all areas of the island group, 2 in the violent category (1 offshore piracy related suspicious activity and 1 assault) with 17 burglaries and 10 thefts eventually reported principally from the Hog Island and Clarkes Court bay anchorages. Cruisers and the Coast Guard responded with nighttime patrols and police collected forensics from some of the victim yachts. A reward was offered, but no arrests or recoveries were made.
SVG – A regular member of the top group had no violent incidents in 2019, but did increase significantly in total incidents from 12 in 2018 to 21 in 2019. The locations in this multi island country shifted and include an uptick in incidents in Union and Bequia.
Martinique – Makes its first appearance in the top group this year. 17 incidents were reported in 2019, (none violent) up from 5 in 2019. Improved rates of reporting likely underlie some portion of this increase as bilingual French speaking cruisers have helped by introducing their compatriots to CSSN and our services, helping with outreach, and then assisting with translations and reports. A great thanks goes out to those in our community who took the time to help in this important way, helping CSSN serve the larger cruising community better.
Panama – Reported 16 incidents in 2019, 7 of them violent, up from 10 total /1 violent in 2018. Panama’s 7 violent incidents comprise half of the reported 2019 violent events, and generally occurred when yachts anchored alone in isolated areas. The single but tragic report of assault resulting in death occurred in the usually tranquil San Blas islands region. The balance of the violent incidents occurred in coastal bays between the San Blas and the Panama Canal. In the 2 most violent cases (death and sexual assault) some arrests were made after federal level Panamanian police became involved when international press reporting posed a threat to general tourism. Those charged remain in custody but prosecution in these two cases is moving at a typically slow Caribbean pace. Some additional resources have been made available to marine authorities along the northern coast, and some bays (Nombre de Dios) closed to anchoring by visiting yachts.
First hand reports bring the most complete and best quality information to our community. We all depend on each other to self-report, and there is more to do. Please, help everyone by getting the word out. We 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 and private online incident report, or contact net control during the daily SSCA HF broadcast (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 all the facts available). CSSN’s site, data and resources are tools for our cruising community, and 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.