It's that time of year again when using your head will keep you safe while looking for work. Actually, staying safe should be a primary concern any time of the year but especially now, for newer crew who may be leaving the nest for the first time, flocking to the French and Italian Riviera regions, or to other ports in the world.
What do we mean by staying safe? Well, marinas and other ports host some of the most expensive toys in the world (the yacht on which you work!) and with expensive toys comes all kinds of vision of opportunity, including those of the wrong types of people. These people can include thieves, muggers, kidnappers and even rapists and murderers. And nope, we're not kidding. Over the years, there have been reports of yacht crew getting tangled up with the wrong people, through no real fault of their own, other than they weren't paying close enough attention to their surroundings. If this surprises you, please read on. This information could save you from getting in hot water, no matter where you are.
In Antibes and other South of France regions, almost EVERY YEAR there are reports of yacht crew getting in to trouble. In the Caribbean, reports also filter in - have a read at how to stay safe, where ever you are:
- Your watch, sunnies (sunglasses), jewelry, cell phones, computers, etc. are all targets for thieves! Leave these at home whenever you go out in the evening. Even leave your purses at home and pocket only your ID and cash. Too many times we hear about a passport gone missing within a stolen purse from a pub and you can avoid this!
- When leaving your valuables in your crew house or rental, HIDE them WELL! Break ins happen and happen often. It's tough to bring it all with you only to leave it all somewhere safe. Talk to your crew house owners about a safe or find yourself a good hiding place within your accommodation.
- Make a plan for a night out. Travel in groups and always have a buddy to make sure you get home safely! This is SUPER important. Several crew members, over the years, didn't make it back to their boats and were found in the water the next day. It does happen. Others were mugged and were either badly beaten or had personal items stolen from them. Still others have disappeared and are later heard about in the news.
- Please drink in moderation!!! Yes, we can write this all day long and it won't make a real difference, but know this - most incidents happen to someone who's been drinking or partying. And most poor decisions (such as that to walk home alone) are made afterwards.
- Don't forget you might be partying right beside the crew from a yacht you plan to visit tomorrow to ask about work. Eyes and ears are everywhere! They will remember you if you're overly-hydrated on the 'good stuff'! Your reputation starts now!
- Your plan for the night to travel in groups should include WATCHING your DRINKS! There are often reports of spiked drinks and you don't want this to happen to you.
- DO NOT go to a bank machine during a night out! Get your cash out during the day (with a friend would be best) as there are always new reports of clever ways to tamper with bank machines and there are often reports of people getting mugged when banking alone. Again, carry a defined amount of cash and one ID and hey, this will save you money as well.
Remember, in some less advantaged parts of the world, YOU look like the yacht owner! You step off the boat and someone might be watching, especially if you're sporting your Maui Jims, Rolex, Coach purse or other fashionable accessories. Leave them at home if at all possible and use your head.
Take care of yourself and we hope reports of incidents stay low this season and beyond.