Self Defense at Sea

There has been a very valuable discussion on the “World Cruising Forum” on Yahoo about protecting yourself while cruising in potentially dangerous places. I would love to post the entire thread here, but can’t for copyright reasons. Those with an interest in this topic will find it worthwhile to join the Yahoo Group:

That said, I will cheat and post an excerpt from one posting because it gives a bit more information about the cruiser who was murdered in Guatemala a couple weeks ago:

There has been a crusier murdered on the Rio Dulce while anchored out not more than a mile from the marina we are in.

Also, just a day after the crusier murder, several armed robberies were conducted against cruisers anchored out on the Rio.Local Guatemalans responded by killing two of the murder suspects and also killing an alleged local “fence” for stolen property and her fourteen year old son (they were shot in the streets). The Guatemalan
Police arrested the other two murder suspects in the small village that is directly adjacent to our marina!


One of the most interesting posts had to do with the topic of “guns on board a vessel.” One person listed various countries and the likely outcome if you ever used the gun, even in self defense, in another country. In virtually every case you were as likely, or more likely, to wind up in prison (or worse) than the person attacking you.

OK .. I can’t resist telling this story, which is only vaguely related, about a sign I saw in baggage claim at Cairo a few years back. It has nothing to do with boating, but is a reminder that as we travel around the world, we need to remember that we are in different countries, with different rules, and it’s a whole new ballgame.

According to the sign, if you are caught with drugs, you will be (and, I am paraphrasing from memory):

 “If you are caught with drugs in your possession,
you will be hanged until dead, and fined $100″

 One would have thought being given the death penalty would already have your attention, and the $100 fine wouldn’t make a huge difference…

-Ken W

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