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Dinghy Thefts While on your Sailing Charter in the BVI and other Rapidly Growing Annoyances

As tourism rapidly develops in most of the other Caribbean sailing charter destinations, so does insecurity in various forms. What's the point of renting the latest most luxurious catamaran just to feel anxiety over smaller details such as theft and personal security?

The colossal feeling of being only by yourself on a tropical deserted anchorage can only be achieved when certain parameters are met, and safety is the number one priority when out on a catamaran vacation with your loved ones or friends.

Cruiser’s nets and sailing forums are showing more and more reports on stolen dinghies and yacht break ins in the most renowned Caribbean charter destinations such as the BVI or USVI. This theft trend and general sense of insecurity has been on the rise for the past years.

Dinghy theft BVI
Dinghy on a catamaran

Dinghy Theft in the BVI:

As an example, this post of how a client had their dingy worth $8K got stolen while on their yacht charter in the BVI

Worst part of getting your dinghy stolen in major Caribbean charter destinations is that it is not covered by the insurance and that, the charter operator knows. The major sailing charter companies in the Caribbean made this choice to keep the risk out and considering the potential profit loss.

Another example of dinghy theft in Anegada, British Virgin Islands can be found here:

We do not feel the same way and we firmly believe that the dinghy along with other important extras such as water toys are part of the boat chartered in question and an indissoluble part of the charter package and experience that the client has paid for and must be included in the insurance. This type of questionable strategy by charter operators is not happening in the San Blas islands, absolutely not.

Luckily in crime-free San Blas, if a dinghy disappears it is simply because it was not tied to the boat properly and it became loose. The navigation area in San Blas has permanent flat water and any object floating around is easily spotted moments after. 

San Blas sailing safety
Calm waters of the San Blas islands

What makes a sailing destination safe:

  • First and most important is the lack of an easy way in and out for intruders that commit any crime in the anchorages. Small towns in the BVI offer the possibility of an easy escape. Not in San Blas, no. Closest marina is 40 nautical miles away and the impenetrable jungle on the coast is definitely not an easy escape.

  • Closely knit community with permanent vigilance can spot any movement. In San Blas we call it "radio patio".

  • High number of boats at the anchorage makes it easier to spot a vulnerable target. Empty anchorages in or limited neighbours in San Blas is the standard.

  • Distracted (drunk or hangover) captains and crew. Funny to say this, but even mildly intoxicated captains are not able to perform as they should. 

  • Lack of authorities or means in major Caribbean sailing destinations are consistent with safety issues. Who’s going to get rid of the bad guys when even the bad guys are part of the corrupt police? Sorry for being all out on this matter but this is the reality that no one dares talk about and that affects major touristic sailing areas in the Caribbean. We have sailed a lot for many years and seen just about anything, this is why we decided to be based only in the San Blas.

  • Lack of speed boats with insane captains carrying day tourists flying through the anchorages with tragic consequences is also not uncommon in some major Caribbean destinations. Not in San Blas, no. Slow paced indigenous ways in San Blas will shock you.

  • An added extra layer of security is that the ethnicity of the Guna Yala indigenous makes it easy to spot any other ethnic person not from the community.

Is san Blas safe?
Guna friends

A family friendly destination should be absolutely 100% trouble free and the points mentioned above and many others should be addressed and taken care of by both local authorities, charter agencies and boat owners, in order to offer a completely safe environment with all parameters that traveling with your family needs.

Yacht charters in San Blas offer a safe and memorable experience for family and friends. Why not venture out into the outer cays and try this unique Caribbean destination for your next travel plans?


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