Security Issues to Consider while Cruising

We’re headed back to the boat (in Norfolk, VA) in the next few days and are in our usual pre-going-away period of trying to get our respective desks cleared off. It will be really nice to get away from the daily overdose of news to which we subject ourselves when there are televisions close at hand. (Such equipment is banned from the boat for exactly this reason.) And, of course, the usual list of pre-departure projects, check lists and stocking up will keep us occupied and away from the news.

The two of us have been having some dialog about our philosophy of self-defense, in light of the “new reality” in which we all find ourselves. When we cruised years ago, and the kids were little, we looked at this in the same way we dealt with our medical kit. We were well prepared for almost any eventuality, and hoped like hell we’d never have to use that preparedness.

But with the kids on their own, the defense mechanism tends to moderate. On the other hand, the hassle of carrying an arsenal continues-there can be a lot of paperwork and running around when clearing in and out-if you have guns aboard. So, in recent times we’ve changed our approach to this very controversial subject.

The “threat matrix” (heard that term on TV-another reason not to watch) for cruisers probably has not directly changed. And we’re certainly not going to worry about terrorists while we are cruising. But it would be foolish to ignore the fact that there is probably going to be a significant economic disruption over the coming year or two, and this will hit especially hard in the areas dependent on tourism. To the extent that this forces or encourages more locals to look for ways of increasing their livelihood by a forceful transfer of wealth from cruising yachts to themselves, the situation does concern us.

The next question is how do we define the threats against which we want to guard, and what is the most efficient manner of dealing with those threats? We don’t claim to be experts in this area, but through the good offices of our son-in-law Todd, a former Navy combat cameraman, we’ve been introduced to some actual professionals in this subject. We’ll be discussing self-defense issues with them in Norfolk, and we’ll bring you up to speed on what we find out.

In the meantime, we are both really looking forward to sailing and then just sitting at anchor with the news turned off!

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 26, 2001)

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