Large yachts provide their owners with a home or office away from home with the technology to allow the owner and passengers worldwide connectivity. Until the past few years, security systems onboard these large yachts have been almost non-existent. Owners and captains are realizing security of the past is not adequate to protect the yacht, crew, and passengers. Yachts worldwide are experiencing unwanted boardings whether in port, underway, or at anchor, at an alarming rate. The number of attacks on yachts is also increasing worldwide and not just in the piracy hot-spots. Yachts have experienced attacks against their vessels and crews in various ports in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Asia. Owners and captains are designing security systems into the initial vessel design to minimize overt perception of security to passengers. Today yacht security systems have a slew of capabilities and are much more complex than their predecessors. Security systems today have the ability to manage all aspects of the vessel’s security from onboard the vessel or from remote locations worldwide. Owners can not only track their vessels, but call up security cameras to view different areas onboard their vessels and in some cases control their vessels.
These shipboard security systems rival systems used to protect politicians and dignitaries in secure facilities. High-tech and complex security systems come with a high price and are expensive to install. There are some simple plans yacht owners can put in place to protect their vessel and crew without all the expense of a technical system. Ship owners and captains should always consult with a reputable company like Secure Waters Security Group, before purchasing or installing a security system. Security companies provide a level of expertise that owners and captains sometimes do not possess and can provide an overall view of the threats and vulnerabilities of the vessel and the steps to take to protect the vessel. Security equipment manufacturers are very knowledgeable about their equipment, but do not always understand the total security picture.
Captains and crews should also consider the facility security at the marinas they use worldwide. Many facilities around the world, including those inside the U.S., do not provide adequate protection for the yacht and crews. Security guards at many facilities are from companies that do not understand marine operations and how to adequately protect vessels. Many facilities advertise adequate security but only have a few cameras and no shore-side or waterside security personnel. Always check local crime statistics and ask the facility about the type of security they employ. The captain, crew and owner can be confident in the facilities with Secure Waters personnel or the Secure Waters “Seal of Approval”.
Owners and captains should work with a reputable company to put plans in place of how to deal with unwanted boardings and other common security situations. Commonsense should always be part of the plan and a budget should be developed to help guide the discussions. Once the program is in place the captain and crew should practice the plan just like other onboard drills and exercises. There are some circumstances where yacht owners should consider hiring a private security team to escort the vessel through high risk areas of the world. The security team should be well trained and understand maritime security related operations and international rules regarding vessel security. Secure Waters can provide the training, consultation, security plan compliance and security personnel needed for any maritime security situation. Piracy worldwide and unwanted boardings along with kidnappings will continue on this upward trend for the foreseeable future. Be sure your vessel is protected.