Lock the Boat!
- July 31st, 2008
- in Yachting
(Don't Lock the Boat, Baby?) – Of all the bummers that can befall a bareboater (or indeed a boater of any stripe) getting robbed has to rank near the bottom (or is that the top?). The common belief about the BVI is that it's a pretty cool place—a kind of innocent backwater whose little secrets are best kept quiet. One of the worst kept secrets about the BVI, though, is that it's getting easier to get robbed, beaten, harassed and generally treated less than honourably. One such victim, charter yacht captain Paul Sowman, was surprised to find his yacht turned over by experts during a recent Full Moon. Anchored happily in Cane Garden Bay, Captain Sowman took his charter guests over to the Bomba Shack at Little Apple Bay for the famous festivities.
“My guests had heard a lot about Bomba's,” Sowman told the BVIYG, “so we had to be there. The silly thing is, we weren't there very long, maybe a couple of hours, max,” he said.
Upon his return, Sowman was shocked to see evidence of entry on his yacht, a 47-foot catamaran. Quickly going through the cabins, he and his guests found several items to be missing, among them music players, cellphones and digital cameras. Also missing was one guest's wallet, containing over $2,000. “That must have been our tip,” Sowman laughed, “because we didn't get anything that trip.”
Early next morning, Captain Sowman asked around yachts anchored and moored nearby. Several disclosed that they, too, had been robbed. “Altogether, I reckon it was at least a half-dozen boats, and they all were missing the same stuff—phones, cameras, iPods, credit cards and money. There was lots of nice boat gear to be had, but it wasn't touched,” he said.
A trip to the local police station didn't raise much hope for recovering any of the lost property. Residents and business owners at Trellis Bay have formed a neighbourhood watch-type committee to keep an eye on things there—also at Full Moon. The regular festivities bring in a large and disparate group of revellers, many of whom have been known to consume psychoactive reagents and other stimulants. A perfect setting for a little piracy and pillage, perhaps.
While it is hard to believe that a group of thieves can journey around an anchorage from boat to boat without attracting attention, it happens regularly and with devastating effect. Sowman told the BVIYG that he usually didn't bother locking his boat since he didn't want to alarm his guests. “I'll be locking it now, mate, believe me,” he said. “The dinghy too.”