I found little information about “personal protection on a boat” on the Internet. We are planning a move onto our boat in July 2015 and we plan to spend the hurricane season in Florida on the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW). We will get underway on our Caribbean voyage as soon as possible and we will be in foreign waters. I wrote this to provide my perspective to others who are in similar situations.
My background is in the military and law enforcement. I am a retired US Army Veteran. Later in life I became a professional tactical trainer and specialized in guns, knives, tactics and Israeli Krav Maga. I have instructed law enforcement officers on all weapons that they carry for defense, custody and control. I taught instructors and students throughout the world in all of the above and more for over 15 years. I have been involved in more than a few dozen handfuls of violent encounters. I firmly believe in a person’s right to defend themselves, their family and anyone they choose to protect in a time of need.
Sailing and cruising the Caribbean is a topic that is loved by many. The lifestyle attracts many of us free spirits who want to find fun, solitude, new cultures and adventure. It has been my life-long dream to have my own boat blowing the trade winds of the Caribbean. I am lucky enough to be able to realize my dream at such an early age and we recently made the decision to set our date to set off. I knew this decision brought many responsibilities, given my personal experience.
My young kids and beautiful wife will accompany me on our journey which will take us throughout the ICW in Florida, all of the island chains in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spanish Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands. We plan to spend about a year cruising our power boat through remote anchorages and we will likely not see others for several days at a time. We will also find port in large towns such as the Nassau. Our plans require a lot of options for our protection while underway. I have been paid to analyze a person’s risk in given situations professionally and I will detail the risk assessment, potential threats and measures that I have undertaken to ensure my family’s safety. Happy reading.
Research has led me to observe that piracy exists in the Caribbean. What is piracy? In my opinion, Caribbean piracy is a kin to a “thug(s) on a boat.” It appears that the vast majority of reported piracy consists of theft motivated crimes. Sometimes people are hurt and sometimes they are just robbed. Many cruisers are forced from their boats and others are left on their vessel after theft.
Unfortunately, when someone is allowed to control you and your family, what ultimately happens to you is up to them. I know a lot of people who say, “I’d just let them take my money.” I have heard this statement from men and women for a decade whom I trained personally. I taught people who a bad guy can only take three things from you.
Money, Body, Life or a combination thereof
Think about it. These are the only options at hand if a person has control of you. What they take is up to them. People ask, “What will they take?” I don’t have the answer. Only the bad guy can answer that question. I know that most crime is opportunistic. I see a lot of crime happening for one motivator, such as money, then turning bad when the bad guy decides he wants something more. Rape happens, not just on a boat in the Caribbean. Just ask 74% of the female population in the United States that has been a victim of some form of it. Murder happens. Not just to be mean. People murder to cover up crimes.
I have often told my private clients “never go to a secondary location with a bad guy because that is where the really bad things happen.”
One problem with living aboard a boat is that it is a convenient and mobile secondary location. Furthermore, boats are valuable resources to people who would board them with bad intentions. How much is your vessel worth? I am certainly not writing this to convince people of the dangers in life. I know some people have to see the world through “rose collared” glasses. I know that many people take a very moderate view on protecting one’s self. Some people choose to live in denial because it is less scary. That is their right. I don’t wish a debate with any of these people. Life has taught me different and I choose to be a happy, smiling guy with a lot of information and several plans when action is required. I suspect that many like-minded people will read this for the same reason that I wrote it.
I hope that this journal proves to be a resource to people in search of information. Please take the time to look for frequent new posts, videos on our YouTube Channel and other useful information about our journey.