- March 31st, 2010
- in Yachting
Black Market – I was recently sailing with friends on a jolly up to North Sound. The guys bought the boat off a couple who had decided to take time away from the rat race to cruise for a year around the Caribbean and ended up in the BVI. After their year, they sold the boat— lock, stock and dinghy and about as ready to go as you can imagine. It’s a cruiser’s dream, and they passed it on. The couple then went back into the rat race with a sum of money, having avoided the storm of the recession.
The boat itself needs very little work, it’s a “maybe, when we’re ready we’ll upgrade” type of boat. The yacht is owned by my buddies, Dan and Andrew— it’s their getaway from the rat race. They sail it with their buddies, and it is great fun. Unfortunately, someone stole their brand new dinghy which is worth around $6000. It is unlikely to be found or resold for the amount it is worth. The theft is part of a whole crime ring that revolves around a black market for stolen goods in yachting. Those that buy the goods make it profitable for the thieves.
Whilst we were out sailing and having fun, the guys talked about redoing the deck and upgrading sails and a haul out to redo the bottom. It’s going to be a while, though, because a new dinghy is pretty much a necessity. So, it will be done later when it seems to be last minute or absolutely necessary. I hear talk amongst the charter industry and yards that things are not as good as they were in yesteryear, it’s a recession in recovery, and charters are booked last minute. My buddies can’t give the yard work because someone stole their dinghy.
Every time someone steals a winch handle, a fender, a dinghy or strips electronics, it has a knock-on effect. It’s a recession, and not all boat owners are millionaires that can replace items immediately and keep a chandlery or yard in business. Buying boat equipment for less money on the black market hurts everyone in the boating business, except the thieves. Recently the police have been increasing measures to completely eliminate crime at sea by destroying the stolen goods market. The BVI has a good reputation for zero tolerance when enforced. It’s April; it’s Spring Regatta, and boats have been hauled out and had the makeovers they need to be on the water in pristine condition. Normally, we would talk about an interesting product in Yard Talk, but we are taking the opportunity to tell you to be careful and play your part. Don’t let the thieves take advantage. Lock your boat and protect your assets, and help the police drive out the black market. If you don’t, then it will never end, and we are happy to say that in the following months we will be giving you up-to-date information on the police and charter company efforts to end crime. For now, lock it up and lock it again.