Costa Rica, Golfito: Outboard Theft – March 2013

Before having actually cleared into Costa Rica, SY Cypraea was robbed of her locked outboard motor whilst the owners were still on board.

Published 10 years ago, updated 4 years ago

We pulled in to Golfito one day in early March around 1 pm and set the hook near the pier where we saw another boat with their Q flag anchored. We then we spent 3 hrs radioing the Port Captain who didn’t answer us. We concluded to go into town in the morning.

I woke up at 6 am to find our outboard had been pried off the transom of our sailboat which is 6 ft above the water (where it was locked). We hadn’t even cleared into the country and our outboard had been stolen, a 6 hp 4-stroke Yamaha (which they don’t sell or provide parts for down here in Central America).

The thieves were pros: they stole the outboard while we had our aggressive English staffie onboard – who barks at everything and the hatches were open so he can run out if he hears things. They might have done it during a squall.

After talking to the locals, it seems these guys will steal from locals and cruisers alike, and they usually hit boats at dusk while everyone is at dinner. They will also hire kids to watch your boat, and they will go on and rob it while you are away (even if you leave lights on).

If there is an issue or something that looks suspicious, radio it on Ch. 16 and Tim from Land and Sea will rush out in his Panga.

We went ashore to the police station, before clearing in, and spent the morning dealing with apathetic Central American Bureaucracy.

Be extra careful in Golfito to lock you motor or dinghy and do so with extra due diligence. These thieves are running unencumbered by officials. Use a big chain so they cannot just cut the cables and pry things off with crowbars. Outboard theft is a huge problem here, and lately, it has been bad. Take maximum precautions.

Dave Wyness

S/V Cypraea

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