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Grenada, Prickly Bay: Dinghy and Outboard Thefts 2012 - Updated

By Edited by Sue with reports from Olivier Meurzec of SY Mary Ann and Denise of SV Nauti Cat. — last modified Sep 26, 2012 09:43 PM
Contributors: Original report posted 31 July included a reference by Olivier to "Trinidad Syndrome". One month later several concerned emails received from cruisers and Trinidad marine businesses taking offence to this term. 20 September the term was removed and the sentence re-worded. A report of all emails received in support of Trinidad for cruisers was published.

Published: 2012-09-20 12:00:00
Topics: Piracy Reports 2012
Countries: Grenada

Editor's Note - 20 September, 2012
The original report below has been edited to remove any reference to Trinidad and the problems with cruiser-security that the island has experienced in the past. These issues have been addressed over the past few years by the cruising, business communities, the police and the marine authorities in Trinidad, which has improved the situation significantly. A great many cruisers wrote to noonsite in support of Trinidad and you can read their comments here.

See Cruisers' Feedback to this Report at the bottom with updates from Grenada.

Original Report - Posted 31 July, 2012
Grenada: Lock your Dinghy with a big chain, or risk losing it.

It seems the security situation for yachties in Grenada is worsening, with a significant increase in thefts (in particular dinghies and outboards).

Olivier Meurzec of SY Mary Ann who visited Prickly Bay for a few months at the end of last year's hurricane season and has been based there since June this year reports;

"The security situation (dinghys, outboards) has become a lot worse lately, and clearly the authorities don't seem to care: in the last month alone, 2 dinghys, 2 outboards, one gasoline tank - mine! - and a speedboat have been stolen in Prickly Bay. The speedboat has been recovered thanks to the yachting community's involvement (it was found in the mangroves by a very nice couple who spent a day looking for it), but the rest is gone.

"The coastguards (under whose nose these thefts are taking place) takes note but clearly does nothing. The Police take the report, but to my knowledge, equally does nothing. The perpetrators are known to come from a nearby bay (Woburn), and as carnival approaches (it's in August here), the need for new money even led to fishermen's outboards being stolen. If Grenada wants the yachting community to come and stay during the hurricane season, they must (address these) security issues. The economy here is very bad, and yachting is a significant source of income. If the current mindset of "don't know, don't care, don't act" continues, yachts will move on.

"I have now 5 locks on my dinghy, with 2 big stainless steel chains and a strong cable, plus 2 motion activated lights on the aft deck. It would take about half an hour for the "authorities" to book the perpetrators, but nothing is done, and meanwhile everyone is worried about what is going to happen next".

It seems Grenada has now become "lock your dinghy with a big chain" or else it is gone. Surprisingly, many cruisers still ignore this advice and a glance at the dinghy dock shows a number of dinghies just tied on with their painters. This makes it easy for the criminals to steal and of course they always return to the scene of a crime as it is easy pickings.

Best advice is to invest in a substantial chain/cable and lock for both your dinghy and your outboard. Always lock both when leaving the dinghy ashore and remove any loose items, and when on board, be sure to hoist the dinghy on deck, remove the outboard and secure both items. These security measures should be taken throughout the Caribbean.

Cruisers' Feedback

10 August, 2012
We too had our Zodiak stolen in Prickly Bay. They cut the 6mm cable which we had used to tie the dinghy behind the boat overnight. It happened on the 5 July, 2012.

14 September, 2012
This post is somewhat incorrect, and out-dated.

The thefts of the two dinghys and outboards this summer occurred in Hog Island and Lower Woburn. One dinghy was hauled up on a remote beach near Roger's Beach Bar on Hog Island. The owner admits that the outboard was either poorly secured or not locked at all to the dinghy, and so it was easily carried off. The other outboard motor was stolen from a dinghy whose owner had made a practice of leaving it at a small local remote dock every day for a month. This dock is very out of the way and not well frequented. The outboard was removed from this dinghy with tools, and, as the place was deserted, this thief had plenty of time. The unlocked speedboat was stolen from Prickly Bay and recovered in Clarkes Court Bay by cruisers.

Can you see a pattern here? UNLOCKED! As the writer has said, many cruisers are leaving their dinghys simply tied up, whether at a dock or behind the boat at night. Many folks believe that a slim steel cable will keep their dinghies safe. One friend of ours lost his key, and managed to whittle through his "security tether" in 15 minutes with a sharp knife.

Grenada Police has acted, and together with local information, both outboards have been recovered. In fact, police may still have a collection of outboards which have been successfully recovered. Grenada Police are anything but complacent in these matters.

Heavy 8-10mm stainless steel chains on dinghys and outboards? High security padlocks? Absolutely! This should be standard practice in any country. In any city of the world, would you walk away from a $3,500 bicycle without taking serious steps to make sure that it was in a place well frequented by passers by, and fully locked with robust tethers as well? Thieves are generally opportunists. Make your gear as theft proof as you can. Be proactive rather than reactive.

Ken Goodings
Silverheels III      
Mt Hartman Bay, Grenada