⛵ Tragedy in Grenada

Hi Reader,

You may have heard the news already, but last week an incident occurred in Grenada that has sent ripples through the yachting and cruising community. In light of this, I want to offer our support to their family and guidance on charter safety.

What happened?

A catamaran located in Grenada, with two beloved members of the cruising community, was boarded by three recent prison escapees. The cat was later discovered by a good Samaritan abandoned off a beach on the southern coast of St. Vincent.

The fugitives are now in custody in St. Vincent, and while the investigation is still underway, reports suggest it is likely that the couple was thrown overboard and are presumed dead.

You can read more about the details of the tragedy here.

Implications for bareboat charter crews

This incident, while involving full-time cruisers, highlights vulnerabilities that could just as easily impact a bareboat charter crew. The reality is that such occurrences, though rare, can happen to anyone on the water, regardless of experience or preparedness.

I believe this was a case of wrong place, wrong time, but it is also a sobering reminder of the need for vigilance and the importance of taking proactive steps to ensure safety.

Considerations for being vigilant on charter

I’ve been chartering for over 10 years and I have never experienced an incident where I felt unsafe. But, incidents do occur, and the vast majority are non-violent in nature, often involving petty theft.

Here are some strategies to help mitigate risks out there on the water.

Destination selection

Knowledge is power. Choose your charter destination wisely, informed by up-to-date safety and security information.

The Caribbean Safety and Security Net (CSSN) is an invaluable resource, offering real-time reports and historical data on incidents across different locations.

Make yourself a hard target

Simple precautions can deter opportunistic crimes. Avoid leaving your dinghy accessible overnight - raise it up and secure it if you can. Use the dinghy lock when you go ashore.

Everyone knows locked doors on a boat can be easily bypassed, but it could slow down a potential intruder or encourage them to move on.

Safety in numbers

While I do enjoy secluded anchorages, it could make you more of a target. Consider buddy boating or choosing mooring fields with other yachts.

Communication plan

Have a plan for staying in touch with the outside world. Good cell phone coverage makes this easy in many popular charter destinations. Consider regular check-ins with family or friends and also know how to get in touch with local authorities.

Trust your instincts

If something feels off, trust your gut. It's better to err on the side of caution and relocate to a safer anchorage or alter your plans.

Kathy and Ralph were well-known and regarded throughout the cruising community, and it's a reminder of the importance of mutual support.

To help their family during this difficult time, please consider donating to the GoFundMe organized by family friends.

- Matt Weidert

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