FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is CSSN?

CSSN’s primary mission is the collection and dissemination of accurate information about crimes against yachts in the Caribbean. We also provide for some basic precautions based on broadly collected cruiser input, often as a result of lessons learned by victims during an incident. In addition, we offer links to other useful internet resources, like Boat Watch Net. In the safety and security sphere, “one size does not fit all.” Our reports and news items are meant to provide factual input to improve awareness and stimulate independent thinking, leading to better preparedness, for captains and their crews. Users tell us that they review our reports with an eye toward “what if this had happened to me? What would/should I have done, either before, during or after the event.” We want captains and crew to discuss and agree on how and where they cruise, using all the information that is available. We have learned over time that the best predictor of a good outcome during an emergency or event is a well thought out, understood and agreed plan amongst the crew. We deliver our content electronically and partner with  Noonsite , SSCA and Noforeignland to provide our users with the best available information and access to resources and our valuable data through multiple distribution channels.

2. What countries does CSSN cover?

We cover all 38 countries in and around the Caribbean basin.

3. Does CSSN cover Cuba now that travel restrictions are being modified?

Yes, Cuba is included in the CSSN coverage area. More boats (especially from the USA) are now visiting there, and during 2016 we received our first incident report from Cuba. To quickly view the most recent incidents and news from Cuba (or any country); just select that country on the CSSN Home page area “Incident Reports By Country” or type “Cuba” in the search box at the top right of the CSSN Home page.

4. Why not cover the Bahamas, Surinam, Guyana, Brazil?

CSSN is an all-volunteer organization and our resources are limited. We have to draw the line somewhere. Our information sharing partner, Noonsite does cover these countries, visit their website and choose the [Countries] menu option to learn more about any location and learn what has been happening there.

5. Who runs CSSN?

CSSN is a small, all-volunteer team. Select the [History] menu option on any page to see those who have helped over the years and those who are volunteering their time to the cruising community now.

6. How is CSSN funded?

We are autonomous and self-funded, our volunteers pay for website hosting and expenses, security reviews, website tools, etc.

7. Is CSSN a commercial business?

No, we don’t sell anything, to anyone, including advertising. We receive no monies from anyone (other than contributions toward operating expenses made by our own all-volunteer staff), all our reports are free. Really, and free of the influences advertisers and sponsors often exert on publishers.

8. Partners - why do you have them?

We have partnered selectively with four well known, well respected organizations. The Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) since 2015, Noonsite beginning in 2016,  Boatwatch in 2019, and Noforeignland in 2023.   Noonsite continues to work closely with us when reports are received and vetted, and we share substantial information/content between our sites. Noforeignland offers our data to their users via a third party (Free) subscription.  The result is more for you from all of us.

9. How do I make a report?

Incident Reporting
The easiest and best way to file an incident report is to select the [Submit an Incident Report] icon located on the home page (and many other places as well) on the CSSN website. It will lead you through some simple but important questions, and takes only a few minutes to complete. You can also make a report  by using the  Submit a Report link from any published report in the Noforeignland app or website.

10. What kind of information is asked for on the Incident Report Form?

Our online form collects important basic information, like time, date, location and type of incident, plus other details specific to the type of incident you report. There is also a details field when you can provide whatever additional information in narrative form that you feel is important. The structured format of the form allows us to compile reports and collect and populate the database in a complete and consistent way.

11. Can I make a report if I don't have all the information?

Yes, we will work with you to get the best information that is available. We will follow up with you during the vetting process. Since early/mid 2015 each incident report is clearly identified as first, second or third hand. This helps everyone understand the nature of our source information.

12. Is online reporting the only way to make a report?

No, but it is the preferred method. It allows us to systematically collect the right information. You can also use email safetyandsecuritynet@gmail.com.

13. Can I send photos or videos of incidents with a report?

Of course, we welcome all input in support of an incident report. You can send photos, etc. to us by email at safetyandsecuritynet@gmail.com. If your report involves piracy or attempted piracy at sea, we will ask you for a GPS coordinate or chart plotter track so we can accurately and properly communicate the location of the incident.

14. What is an Alert?

An alert is a report or news item that we distribute to subscribers by email and through our social media channels. Alerts include information about safety and security incidents as they occur or news of general interest to the cruising community concerning a safety or security matter.

15. What is the difference between a News item and an Incident report?

Both News items and Incident reports inform readers of items of interest and are distributed using different formats to our readers via our website, as email ALERTS!, or on social media via the CSSN Facebook and CSSN X (Twitter) pages. The 5 most recent News items and the 5 most recent Incident reports are found separately on the CSSN Homepage. The News and Reports tab details the most recent 20 combined News and Incident reports. News items can be point-in- time specific or situational and are usually general in nature. They describe items of general interest related to safety and security but are not actual incident reports. They necessarily vary considerably in content and can describe things as diverse as temporary navigation hazards, product safety recalls and travel warnings issued by various governments. Sources are diverse and usually not victims. They are sometimes used to alert readers when we make an update to a previously published Incident report or announce a new feature on our website. You can find News item posts on the Homepage, in the combined News and Reports tab, in the monthly archives or by utilizing the site keyword search feature. Incident reports are submitted to CSSN by victims, usually by means of our structured online Incident reporting form. They generally describe a specific crime against a specific yacht(s) or cruiser. They also sometimes describe suspicious activity related to piracy. All reports are received, reviewed, and vetted in a structured manner (see the remaining FAQ list for details). Incident reports describe the full spectrum of activity and crimes against yachts, from simple vandalism to the more serious and complex crimes such as piracy or assault. We began characterizing the source of Incident reports as 1st, 2nd or 3rd hand in 2015. Full details of each incident are displayed in our Zoom – Tap, Know & Go Infographic maps and are retained in our permanent database, where they can be easily accessed/sorted by all for risk assessment purposes. You can find the Incident Reports posts and News items on the Homepage, in the combined News and Reports tab, in the monthly archives or by utilizing the site keyword search feature.  You can also see all CSSN incident reports if you subscribe to our data inside the Noforeignland website or app.

16. Why doesn't CSSN give more information in the brief reports?

We balance detail with time and space. Our objective is to provide sufficient factual detail for users to understand what occurred with a desire to keep it brief. We are cruisers, with cruising and sailing to enjoy, too!

17. What happens to a report I make?

Your report helps other cruisers. We review the information you provide and then ask follow up questions, if necessary. We then create and publish a report, summarizing the event and sharing it with other cruisers via our alerts and our social media channels (Facebook, X (Twitter), and RSS feeds). We also send you a personal link for the report. Your report is widely distributed to other cruisers who subscribe (free) to [Subscribe to Email Alerts] or follow us on social media.  Incident reports feed our website archives and are displayed on the relevant Zoom-Tap Know and Go Maps. All CSSN incident reports are shared with Information Sharing Partner Noforeignland, simply subscribe to CSSN data inside their website and/or app.  All in the spirit of Know Before You Go!

18. How does CSSN investigate reports?

We ask follow up and clarifying questions (usually) by email, to those who submit reports and sometimes others who may have knowledge of the event as well. Vetting is done to ensure our reports are as accurate and complete as we can reasonably ensure. First hand reports are our gold standard, but when they are not available we will work with others to complete a “best available” report, always identified as either second or third hand as the situation dictates. We classify as first hand any report that is made by a deceased victim’s family member or their appointed representative.

19. What if new information comes up? How do I get it to CSSN?

For simple updates just send us an email at safetyandsecuritynet@gmail.com. We will update our reports as new information becomes available (for example when a navigation hazard is corrected or removed, or criminals are apprehended/prosecuted).

20. How do I know the reports are true?

We rely on self-reporting, so it is most often the basic viewpoint and integrity of the victims themselves that is manifest in our reports. We may also contact police or other involved officials, or other sources with knowledge of the event. For more complex or violent incidents the vetting process can take a few days as victims recover and important details are clarified and confirmed. We don’t publish a report until we are satisfied that it is as complete and correct as we can reasonably make it. We will always update a report if new or additional information becomes available. We upgrade incident reports from second/third hand to first hand when victims contact us directly to confirm and help us complete an updated report. When the situation indicates we ask hard questions during the vetting process, but we always maintain the privacy preferences of the victims who make firsthand reports. Some details don’t need to be shared, it is always the victims’ choice. Our editorial goal is to share relevant and useful information while protecting the privacy of the victims, to help others understand the event. We want each captain and crew to evaluate their own circumstances and prepare as they best deem appropriate. We recognize that “one size does not fit all” in the risk assessment and planning arena. We are not in the business of telling cruisers what to do, or not to do, or where to go or not go. Know Before You Go! is our tagline.

21. What if I find wrong information in a report?

If you believe there is an error in a report (or anywhere on our site) please contact us immediately by email at safetyandsecuritynet@gmail.com. We want our reports to be complete and accurate. We will update our reports as required, we welcome and appreciate your help.

22. What about my privacy?

We respect and protect everyone’s privacy–those who are victims, and those who make reports. We collect names, emails, and boat names during the vetting process, but they are never disclosed to anyone. We use this information to communicate with those who report to us and internally to ensure that reports are not duplicated. We never share your email address or any identifying details with anyone, ever. The CSSN website uses the HTTPS protocol to better protect our data, and yours. We also strive to be in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. Visit our Privacy Policy and Cookies In Use On This Site for more information.

23. Do I need any special browser settings to view your website?

No, but enabling cookies and javascript will improve your experience. We truly respect your privacy but some browser extensions, such as “Privacy Badger” may prevent various graphics or features from loading because we are importing them from elsewhere on the web.

24. Does CSSN make police reports for victims?

No. We cannot make reports for victims. It is a victim’s responsibility to make a report to local officials, and we always encourage victims to do so. When no report to local officials is made, the incident essentially never happened. Public agencies can’t respond, or put the appropriate resources in place to do so in the future, if they don’t know what has happened. Some officials/agencies do subscribe to our alerts, but we do not provide any other personal information about you to them. When multiple reports are made in the same location over a reasonably short period of time we have made summarized reports (no personal or identifying details) available to the responsible officials, with the expectation that they will use the information to take some action to address the situation.

25. How should a captain use CSSN reports?

Every captain has their own unique circumstances and risk profile, and our information is presented in a factual way to keep captains well informed and provide them with current (and historic) information. Captains must consider many factors including the specifics of their yacht, the capabilities of their crew and then make their own well informed choices about how and where they cruise. Know Before You Go! is our tagline.

26. How do I use incident data CSSN has collected?

CSSN has collected detailed information about safety and security incidents for many, many years. In recent years, this has principally been accomplished through firsthand reports made by the victims themselves. How you best access and use CSSN incident information depends primarily on the time-frame and geographic scope you wish to review or research. Our popular feature, Zoom-Tap, Know & Go is an interactive graphical interface (map), and location specific. We present Zoom-Tap, Know & Go information in an annual manner. Select the map of interest and navigate – just zoom in close to locations of interest. Colored markers identify violent (red = assault, piracy and robbery) or non-violent (yellow = burglary, theft, vandalism, and other) incidents. After zooming in, just tap on any marker to view all the important details that describe that incident, including updates. Watch this 30 second video for a demo of how Zoom-Tap, Know & Go is used. Geocodes were collected/assigned beginning in 2014 and underlie this easy to navigate and understand visual user interface and format. You can filter by date using the annual Zoom-Tap, Know & Go maps if you desire. We have also created 2 specialized Zoom-Tap, Know & Go interactive infographics focused specifically on Regional Piracy, using the same user friendly interface.  The search box located at the top right of CSSN webpages will find Incident Reports and News items based on your selected keyword, or use the “Incident Reports by Country” or “Monthly Archive of CSSN Posts” options on the Home page . Our Information Sharing Partner Noforeignland has excellent tools on their website and app for accessing all CSSN Incident Reports, simply subscribe to our 3rd party data inside the app/website.

27. Can I run reports myself?

Yes! Define your area of interest and timeframe and select the appropriate tool (see previous FAQ for more information).  Noforeignland facilitates various data searches thru their subscription features.  If you have specific questions after using these options or want to look at older data just get in touch by email safetyandsecutiynet@gmail.com and we will help. We ask only that you properly credit CSSN as your source if you republish our information.

28. Does CSSN make special reports on request?

Most users are able to investigate crimes against yachts using Zoom-Tap, Know & Go or some subset of the larger database, or the subscription options available on Noforeignland. We have and will respond to requests for data from individuals, government agencies, and other media publishers. In 2014 we began publishing an annual report.

We ask only that you properly credit CSSN as your source if you republish our information/content. Please include our full name, Caribbean Safety and Security Net, and include our website address/link https://safetyandsecuritynet.org 

29. Why doesn't CSSN report number of incidents per country population, per number of cruiser boats or incidents per number of cruiser days?

Great idea! Sadly such ratios are either misleading or not possible to calculate at this time. Total local country population is somewhat useful for land based local crime to population statistics. Using total country population to calculate crime rates against yachts (or even transient land tourists) is very misleading, it’s mixing apples and oranges. There is no relationship between the size of the local population and the number of visiting yachts, visiting tourists, or even local yachts.    Most importantly, there is no data available for the number of cruising boats, number of cruisers, by country, by anchorage or by time frame from any source in any of the 38 countries CSSN covers. Therefore, ratios of yacht crime relative to the number of visiting yachts in a location is impossible to calculate. It’s simply just not possible to calculate a valid and actionable ratio that would help cruisers assess risk.  Crime happens where those with criminal intent believe they can operate with little or no concern about detection, apprehension or prosecution.  CSSN continuously searches for systematically collected data suitable for calculating helpful ratios, but at this time there are none. If anyone has a source for such information please [CONTACT US]. What every cruiser can and should do is make a timely first-hand report to CSSN if they are a victim, and encourage and support others to do so. It’s the best information available, and it’s our individual and collective responsibility to make it as accurate and complete as possible.

30. Can I search the entire CSSN website?

Yes. There is a powerful search engine on the CSSN site. Use the search box in the upper right area of any CSSN web page. It will select the most recent and relevant content from anywhere on our site (including news items, incident reports, etc.)

31. How can I know when an incident is reported?

It’s easy, and you have choices. You can subscribe to [ Alerts] and get an email in your inbox on whatever schedule you desire (instant, daily, weekly, or monthly). You can choose fully featured (includes helpful graphics) or Low Band Width options if you are in an area where internet/Wi-Fi is difficult or expensive. You can change your subscription at any time, easily. You can also receive our reports directly in your personal social media accounts (Facebook, X (Twitter) or RSS feeds).  Since November 2023 you can also integrate and access CSSN Incident Reports on Noforeignland,  which is updated daily, simply subscribe inside to our 3rd party data inside the app. You can also use the various facilities We deliver the reports you want when, where, and in the format you choose. Our reports and site are device friendly.

32. Is CSSN on Facebook, X (Twitter) and social media?

Yes! You can “follow” or “like” us on social media, we have a Facebook page and are on X (formerly Twitter). You can also subscribe via RSS feeds. You can easily share our reports with your Facebook friends, pages or groups and other personal social media channels.Facebook Twitter RSSPlease feel free to share our reports, but be mindful when you do so, be respectful of the victims and those who have made reports.

33. Why can't I comment on CSSN’s Facebook page posts?

It’s about resources. We are a small all-volunteer team, and it’s just not possible to monitor/manage all the Facebook traffic.

34. Is CSSN a member of any cruiser groups?

CSSN is a member of many Facebook groups, and other online groups and forums as well. We post our monthly Alerts! summary in a select few of these groups.

35. Can I share your reports in Facebook?

Yes, but we ask that you be mindful of the reports you share. Respect the victims who made the report.

36. What is the best way to contact CSSN?

Incident Reporting
There are several ways to contact us. If you are reporting an incident please use the online incident report, or send us an email at safetyandsecuritynet@gmail.com. You can select the [Contact Us] button on our website pages.

37. Why did CSSN add a new event category Suspicious Activity?

Accurate, fact based reports about events have always been fundamental to the risk assessment process. CSSN vets reports from our community and then publishes this essential information in a standardized and consistent format as a service to our cruising community. CSSN has long understood that one size will never fit all in the risk assessment process. It is no different for piracy related suspicious activity.

The Suspicious Activity category was defined and added to our event type menu in May 2018, after users contacted CSSN and raised concerns about a specific incident that had been classified as attempted piracy. The News item announcing the Suspicious Activity category contains significant and helpful background information, and can be read here. CSSN uses it ONLY for reports related to piracy, it is a subcategory on the piracy spectrum … piracy, attempted piracy, suspicious activity.

The suspicious activity category was not invented by CSSN. Because of its informative value it is used widely and broadly by law enforcement organizations. CSSN, in contrast, has restricted usage of the Suspicious Activity category to the high impact, high interest Piracy category. A small, but important subset of reports.

Grown accustomed to our factual incident reports, some fail to consider what happens if CSSN doesn’t publish reports. Certainly, captains are denied the opportunity to evaluate the known facts. Also importantly, particularly for high interest piracy related events including suspicious activity, the inevitable rumor mill/happy hour/social media circus starts cranking out misinformation. Distorted intentionally or unintentionally, it cycles endlessly, morphing into opinion and conjecture masquerading as fact, no longer even recognizable. A single event can become so distorted it multiplies into several.

CSSN’s fact based reports set some bounds, and level the information field for all. Particularly important on the piracy spectrum, CSSN reports of piracy related Suspicious Activity provide a baseline of the best available facts, described by those who were actually present – what did, and what did not happen, and purposely opinion free. As always, with facts provided by our community, CSSN informs, captains decide.

38. How many piracy related suspicious activity reports have you published?

It’s a small number. It is easy to know how many, and it of course will change over time. Simply type “suspicious activity” into the search box on our website and it will return an up to date listing of all the CSSN piracy related suspicious activity reports. It is easy to click/expand and read the individual reports, understanding the specifics of each event. Reviewing the dedicated Regional Piracy Zoom-Tap, Know & Go interactive maps will also display the suspicious activity events in those areas. The informative infographic is interactive, just click any marker to read the details. CSSN makes it easy to Know Before You Go!

39. What Software Is Used to Run the CSSN Website?

The CSSN site is built upon WordPress and is currently using the Twenty Seventeen theme. In addition, we use a wide variety of plugins (add-ons or extensions that add extra features). Some of the more critical plugins include: WP Geo Maps, Contact Form 7, MailPoet and Wordfence. SendGrid does our emailing. We also rely on the following Google products and services: Maps, Spreadsheets, Forms, Docs and Drive. We’re continually evaluating all aspects of the site in an effort to help improve the user experience. If you have any questions or comments please email webmaster@safetyandsecuritynet.org.