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Dinghy Thefts

Posted By: Christo

Dinghy Thefts - 02/09/2019 11:29 AM

I just spotted this article: https://www.bviplatinum.com/news.php?articleId=30129

Whilst it seems to only refer to thefts from marinas I was wondering if anyone on here has ever had issues when on charter in the BVI?

When sailing our own yacht in the Caribbean we always locked the dinghy when going ashore and always locked it to the yacht overnight. Several friends who didn't use a lock had their dinghies stolen in the night...albeit those three thefts were Tobago Cays / St Vincent / St Lucia, not BVI.

When chartering in the BVI we have never locked our dinghy, not when going ashore and not overnight on a mooring. Does anyone? If so, do you bring your own lock? We have never been provided with one from Sunsail/Moorings.
Posted By: warren460

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/09/2019 11:58 AM

We are with TMM, and previously chartered with Horizon.

We always use a lock on shore and lift the dinghy at night.

Problem areas highlighted in the past are trellis and cane garden
Posted By: mcevog

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/09/2019 01:41 PM

TMM supplies a padlock and wire pendant to secure the dinghy. We also tend to remove the kill tab when we leave the dinghy on a dock as that would deter casual “tea leaves”! Having said that... we have never had the problem, touch wood.
Posted By: CaptainJay

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/09/2019 02:36 PM

Originally Posted by Christo
I just spotted this article: https://www.bviplatinum.com/news.php?articleId=30129

Whilst it seems to only refer to thefts from marinas I was wondering if anyone on here has ever had issues when on charter in the BVI?

When sailing our own yacht in the Caribbean we always locked the dinghy when going ashore and always locked it to the yacht overnight. Several friends who didn't use a lock had their dinghies stolen in the night...albeit those three thefts were Tobago Cays / St Vincent / St Lucia, not BVI.

When chartering in the BVI we have never locked our dinghy, not when going ashore and not overnight on a mooring. Does anyone? If so, do you bring your own lock? We have never been provided with one from Sunsail/Moorings.



Please continue to leave yours unlocked . That way a lazy thief will still yours instead of mine. :-) We have provided cables and locks for years and require our guests to lock them as a condition of insurance.

I was recently told by a member of law enforcement on St Thomas that a large number of dinghies are being stolen in Tortola/BVI to smuggle people into the US via St John. The federal government seizes boats when they are caught coming in. So the smugglers are stealing dinghies and having their "clients" dinghy over to St John to avoid bringing the big boats into US Waters.
Posted By: Christo

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/09/2019 03:29 PM

CaptainJay, very happy to oblige! Certainly until such time as Sunsail/Moorings provide cable/lock.

On our own dinghy back in Blighty we have an engine lock also, which prevents the engine being removed from the transom. I've never seen one on a charter dinghy...which would make pinching one of those shiny new Yamaha 15hp engines incredibly easy.

Come to think of it, we've had boats from Sunsail in the past without the ability to lock the actual yacht itself...
Posted By: DaveZ

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/10/2019 04:41 PM

I have chartered from Moorings/Sunsail probably 8X in BVI and many more in other locations and they have never failed to provide a lock and cable for the dinghy.
Posted By: GeorgeC1

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/10/2019 04:57 PM

In the BVI you need to ask at the help desk for a dinghy lock if you desire one with the Moorings.
Posted By: Christo

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/10/2019 05:27 PM

Bizarre, must vary from boat to boat.

Never had one on the yacht. This will be year 7 with Sunsail. First year with Sunsail we asked about it and were told that we didn't need one in the BVI. And well, it's their dinghy! If that's what they tell us then that's what we will do!
Posted By: bailau

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/10/2019 05:41 PM

we have never had an issue either but do bring small brightly colored 1 gallon trash bags to tie on the dinghy handles to reduce the chance of some inebriated person taking the wrong dinghy
Posted By: philthepilot

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/10/2019 10:46 PM

This year will be our 11th year in a row sailing in the BVI. We always lock our dinghy at the dock and to the boat at night. Last year we were at Leverick in a slip and I pulled the dinghy around and locked it up at the dinghy dock in the corner at the end of the dock . We were up stairs about to eat dinner and I noticed a young local man sitting on the sidewalk with his feet in my dinghy. He just set there for a few minutes watching everyone that walked by. He then steps down into the dinghy and pulls out our paddles and puts them flat on the ground and pushes them against a short wall. At this point I'm heading that way. By the time it took me to get down the stairs he was just walking by with the paddles. I confronted him and I told him those were my paddles. He didn't have anything to say and I took the paddles back and put them in the boat. We never put the paddles back into the dinghy until we arrived back a Horizon. I'm not sure what a set of paddles cost, but I have no doubt if I hadn't been watching the dinghy, I would have bought Horizon a new set.
Posted By: charlie

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/10/2019 11:26 PM

Once a few many years ago we were tied up at a mooring ball at Leverick in North Sound, Virgin Gorda. Got up in the morning, went up top on deck and the dinghy was missing. The wife and I looked all around but did not see it. Uh oh, what to do? A little while later a local in an 18 foot skiff motored up to us towing our dinghy and said he found it floating around loose and would give it back to us for $50. We settled for $20., thanked him for saving our dink, and he left. It was only a short while later while discussing this with some random people at the marina that it came out that this guy drifted up to charter boats before dawn and untied their dinghys and "stole" them only to return them later with a false rescue story in exchange for cash money. I knew our dinghy could not have come untied as I double down on the cleat, so we were ripped off. It was not long after that our charter company (not named) began to offer locks. So, if you have a lock, use it when you are not in sight of your dinghy. Free advice unless you want to send me a check for $20...lol
Posted By: mfringsley

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/11/2019 12:38 PM

Originally Posted by mcevog
TMM supplies a padlock and wire pendant to secure the dinghy. We also tend to remove the kill tab when we leave the dinghy on a dock as that would deter casual “tea leaves”! Having said that... we have never had the problem, touch wood.


We have also used TMM several times and do the same. Better to be safe than sorry!
Posted By: Manpot

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/11/2019 04:03 PM

On a cat..I say get it up on davits for the night..
Posted By: Christo

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/11/2019 04:56 PM

Charlie - that sounds right out of the same playbook as the old 'do you want me to watch your dinghy?' trick!

We got this all the time in St Lucia, St Vincent, Bequia, Union etc...if you gave in and paid the little urchins to watch your dinghy then you would return to find them gone, but the dinghy intact. If you didnt then (as we discovered) you would return to find it slashed to ribbons.
Posted By: Twanger

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/11/2019 07:05 PM

[quote=Christo]On our own dinghy back in Blighty we have an engine lock also, which prevents the engine being removed from the transom. I've never seen one on a charter dinghy...which would make pinching one of those shiny new Yamaha 15hp engines incredibly easy.[quote]

Christo brings up a good point. Usually the lock and cable supplied by the charter company is long enough to secure the dingy, engine, and fuel tank to the dock.
Just loop it through something metal on each that can't be easily broken.
Posted By: captdennyj

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/11/2019 08:15 PM

many of those bare boat charter dinghys all look pretty much the same. Some have numbers to I.D. them,

We lock up the dink with the cable that the bare boat charter company has given us. I also take the shut down cord with me when going ashore.

it would be easy, after a few pain killers to hop in the wrong dinghy, especially when they can get moved around, retied, etc.

In 35 years , we have never had a problem with theft , or any crime. or confrontation in the BVI.

However, with the two hurricanes, some nare-- do wells, may be taking advantage of the rich tourists. Sounds like a little deeper in the Caribbean style.

We always carry our oars, on board the dink due to the mistrust and problems that we have had with dinghy motors. I can secured them on board the boat at night, but not sure what we can do about that when we dink ashore.
We can lock up the dink thru dock cleats or boards, so the major theft is averted.

Thank you all for the up dates, I am very sorry to hear that the visitors are being preyed upon. That situation could expand to boats being broken into, pilferred and valuables and gear stolen.

As much as we love the BVI, we did not spend all that money, airlines, boats , hotels, partying and dining ashore cash, to have some one steal from us. It does not sound like the BVI govt much cares. There will be our 2019 BVI sailing vacation,
and we will ask around . Who knows if there will be a 2020 BVI trip. That actually hurts the heart, since there are so many wonderful people in the BVI. That stealing is very sad to comprehend. That turkey who stole the oars, did not appear to be the least bit worried about being busted. No penalty, no fear, the stealing will continue to expand.
Posted By: LocalSailor

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/11/2019 10:54 PM

I find that the 2 turning/mounting bolts on outboard engines have handles with holes in them and can be rotated to align to fit a regular lock . have always done that on my dinghy.
Posted By: warren460

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/11/2019 10:55 PM

Dinghy theft has been around for years. Nothing new. Lock it up and enjoy.
Posted By: sail445

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/12/2019 12:51 AM

Capt Denny,
Your quote about being around fo 35 years::
As much as we love the BVI, we did not spend all that money, airlines, boats , hotels, partying and dining ashore cash, to have some one steal from us. It does not sound like the BVI govt much cares. There will be our 2019 BVI sailing vacation,
and we will ask around . Who knows if there will be a 2020 BVI trip. That actually hurts the heart, since there are so many wonderful people in the BVI. That stealing is very sad to comprehend. That turkey who stole the oars, did not appear to be the least bit worried about being busted. No penalty, no fear, the stealing will continue to expand.

Don’t expect much from the government because the government doesn’t have a clue about the definition of business in any sense.
There will be a big huff and puff about crime and for a few weeks they’ll send out their so called crime preventers and then it starts all over again.
Posted By: captdennyj

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/12/2019 01:13 PM

sail

I guess all we can do, is to have our usual great sails and good times, and do our best to stay smart, have situational awareness, remain positive and respectful. I told Erica, we are going to make this next trip
the absolute best BVI TIME, ever.

Our usual practice , when on board, and securing the dink, is to use a proper cleat hitch to the stern quarter deck cleat and a back up bowline to a bight on to the stern pulpit. Maybe this time, talk to the conch crew, and see if I can get two
of those cables and locks, and extend the length, secure them to the boat to give us some additional distance so that the dink does not thud into the stern during the evenings . No BS, about the dink coming loose and the evil doer saying he found it adrift.

Also, is anyone aware of certain areas that are more prone to stealing or holding the dinghy for ransom. Sounds like Tortola, and Virgin Gorda from the posts. ,Regardless, we will be locking the dink up as best we can. I can also , when at the boat,
remove the fuel line. Just anything to make stealing our dink a bit more of a problem. ,

Less worry, and more party .

Denny and Erica
Posted By: GeorgeC1

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/12/2019 01:31 PM

I can verify one thing about crime in the BVI. If it’s a crime against a tourist you can expect the police to do little to nothing unless it’s going to get high visibility. We were victims of our boat being boarded and a substantial theft. The police refused to even discuss the case or give us any information. In 30 years of sailing in the BVI we have had two issues however so it’s not a routine occurrence.
G
Posted By: warren460

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/12/2019 11:23 PM

Trellis Bay and Cane Garden Bay have been problems for years
Posted By: steve74

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/13/2019 03:26 AM

George, where were you when you were boarded? We travel with our kids and this is scary. Is there anything you do now to protect from this?
Posted By: captdennyj

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/13/2019 11:53 AM

Steve,

How old are the kids ?

You may have to have a good common sense talk with them. Not to scare them witless, but to call their attention to their surroundings and make some specific rules. On board, ashore, snorkeling, swimming, hiking, exploring, etc.

You may also have to maintain the integrity of the family, and not leave them on board on their own .

Erica and I were talking last night, and without prior knowledge, mentioned Trellis Bay as a possible problem as to places on Tortola to be especially alert. Trellis , for us is not much of a problem, since, we are not big fans of the mooring area, and have other islands and cays that are more to our personal liking.

We will be doing our best to not make our vessel or dink a target. Lock up the vessel when not on board. Also, before going ashore for an evening , turn on spreader lights and leave a cabin light on down below .. Maybe, hook up the coconut light in the cockpit as well We turn off any un necessary lights or breakers when back on board. Anchor lights drain batteries big time, so we do not use that when on a mooring. Also, lock up the dink when going ashore, with the cable through the out board as well.



Additional idea.

We have found , at night , in crowded anchorages all of the same type of vessels look , well pretty much the same. Which of the fleet on moorings is ours ? To find our boat easily, we know roughly where it is moored. We also have different flags on our flag halyard that helps I.D. our vessel, two large different U.S.A state flags, and Pirate cocktail happy hour flag, as well as different lights illuminated. I know this is a little off topic but it flows in with illuminating the decks and cockpit to discourage anyone from breaking into the vessel. There are easier pickings from boats that are dark, and un-locked dinghys,and dinks that are not properly secured . .

These are preventive measures that you can take, As to family members, you are responsible as to how to handle their safety, and that includes all categories of your vacation.

What are your families safety rules at home ? Maybe expand on those a bit for your sailing vacation .

As far as we are aware, there have been no abductions or attacks on children, but tourist oriented countries , sometimes keep that info very quiet. Never heard of any of those types of situations in the BVI with visitors.

Again, we have had 35 years of absolutely marvelous trouble free BVI sailing vacations. But, we do have situational awareness, and endeavor to stop the problems before they arise.
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Note: Only one problem on all of our world wide sailing. That was during a delivery from Cabo , Mexico, to Los Angeles, and were boarded by a pirate. I greeted him with a large metal flare gun pointed at his chest. End of problem. Nothing in the BVI ,

Just stay ahead of the power curve, make and follow ships rules, maintain situational awareness in a relaxed mode, and all should be perfect or a fantastic family BVI sailing vacation.

Posted By: warren460

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/13/2019 01:25 PM

A typical modern anchor light is led and uses little energy.
Posted By: Christo

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/13/2019 02:14 PM

I can't find the specific wording but my hazy memory of the regs is that for vessels under 20m there is no requirement for you to have your anchor light on when moored in a designated mooring field.

What exactly a 'Designated mooring field' is, I recall is open to interpretation in different parts of the world.

Regulations aside...having your anchor light, or a cockpit light on can only assist you in not getting hit by rum-filled hooligans in dinghys...or even staff shuttles returning to Tortola from places like Norman Island late at night.

Our experience is that around 75% of boats in mooring fields in the BVI have their light on when on a ball...but i'd also add that a fair few of those seem to turn it on at the start of their charter and off again at the end of the week!
Posted By: mainesailor

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/13/2019 02:39 PM

Quote
Our experience is that around 75% of boats in mooring fields in the BVI have their light on when on a ball...but i'd also add that a fair few of those seem to turn it on at the start of their charter and off again at the end of the week!


You got that right......I suspect that when we go in March we might be the only boat without our mast light on...probably easier to spot our boat....we might be the only monohull in most harbors too. smile
Posted By: Christo

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/13/2019 02:42 PM

Mainesailor - sounds like we're part of the same club in that case!
Posted By: Midsouth

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/13/2019 04:34 PM

Originally Posted by mainesailor
Quote
Our experience is that around 75% of boats in mooring fields in the BVI have their light on when on a ball...but i'd also add that a fair few of those seem to turn it on at the start of their charter and off again at the end of the week!


You got that right......I suspect that when we go in March we might be the only boat without our mast light on...probably easier to spot our boat....we might be the only monohull in most harbors too. smile

What part of March are you headed down? We’ll be there the last week, 22-30. We’ll be sailing a Beneteau 32.
Posted By: mainesailor

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/13/2019 06:09 PM

First two weeks...
Posted By: bailau

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/13/2019 07:24 PM

COLREGS Rule 30 indicates that a boat at anchor in a specialized area under 20m does need the anchor light illuminated. Given that the whole purpose of the COLREGS are to "avoid collisions" I routinely have mine on at a mooring.

Last October at the Great Harbour PI around 200 am 2 power boats of islanders started fighting on the Willie T, hopped in their boats and then chased each other through the mooring field in their boats for about 10 minutes. I turned on every light we had until hey headed to Tortolla.

I very much apologize to the star gazers among us.
Posted By: Midsouth

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/14/2019 02:20 AM

Originally Posted by mainesailor
First two weeks...


Of course we’ll miss you. I’m very interested in meeting people from Maine, as my son, DIL, and granddaughter just moved to Portland. We’ve been to visit three times since June!
Posted By: steve74

Re: Dinghy Thefts - 02/15/2019 02:25 PM

captdennyj, our kids are 13 and 15. Thank you for all of the helpful information. This will be our 4th annual trip and we take a number of precautions, but I usually worry a little when we are in more secluded spots. George’s post was the first I have heard of a boarding in the BVI.
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