CSSN’s primary mission is the collection and dissemination of accurate information about crimes against yachts in the Caribbean. We also provide 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 also on the daily KPK HF voice broadcast. We partner with the SSCA and Noonsite to provide our users with the best available information and access to resources.
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 two well known, well respected organizations. the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) and Noonsite. SSCA sponsors a daily HF broadcast KPK on 8104 USB from 0815-0830 AST. KPK stands by every day to provide assistance with land based resources and provides information of interest to cruisers, including CSSN reports. Noonsite works closely with us when reports are received and vetted, and we share information between our sites. The result is more for you from all of us.
9. How do I make a report?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or make a voice report on the daily HF KPK broadcast (8104 USB 0815-0830AST) when that is required.
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 email@example.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. 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!
16. 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, 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. All in the spirit of KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!
17. 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.
18. What if new information comes up? How do I get it to CSSN?
For simple updates just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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). When you lack connectivity you can also provide input via the daily KPK broadcast (8104 USB 0815-0830 AST).
19. 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.
20. 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 email@example.com. We want our reports to be complete and accurate. We will update our reports as required, we welcome and appreciate your help.
21. 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.
22. Do I need any special browser settings to view your website?
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. How do I use the CSSN database?
Our database now has over ten years of historic data. You can use the CSSN database in many ways. You can research at a country, island or even anchorage level, or by event type. One easy way to research a location is to use the Islands Reports tab and then select the region (country or island group) that you are interested in and then sort by the columns that are most important to you. (date, event, etc.)
26. Can I run reports myself?
Yes, use the [Island Reports] menu option to get started. Or you can use [HOTspots!] to access information for any single year since 2014. If you have specific questions after using these features just get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help.
27. Does CSSN make special reports on request?
Most users are able to create their own reports using our publicly accessible database and [HOTspots!] 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.
[HOTspots!] is a visual info graphic (heat map) that displays the location of incident reports for a given year. We introduced this feature on our website in 2014. It is organized by calendar year. Initially we located the icons only at the island level. In 2015 we began locating the icons at anchorage level, or even more specifically if a GPS location was provided to us. It is a scalable heat map–you can zoom in/out for the view you desire.
The colors indicate year-to-date frequencies of incident reports we receive. Areas colored red have the most reports, then yellow and green. There is also detailed information about the incidents in the tabs below the map. You can review each incident detail, by event type, location, etc. drilling down to the specifics of the incidents that are visually represented in the info graphic. The map, the detail reports and information on the menu options are always current YTD.
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. While many believe that there is a correlation between land based and yacht based crimes, no valid statistical analysis has ever substantiated this claim.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.
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 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, Twitter or RSS feeds). 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, Twitter and social media?
Yes! You can “follow” or “like” us on social media, we have a Facebook page and are on 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.
Please 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?
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 email@example.com. You can select the [Contact Us] button on our website pages. You can also make a verbal report or ask questions on the daily KPK HF radio service net, sponsored in partnership with the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association). KPK operates on 8104 USB, 7 days a week from 0815 to 0830 AST. Check in with Glenn, he logs position reports and appreciates radio checks, and will provide helpful assistance with land based resources.