Welcome to the Caribbean Security Index!

The Caribbean Security Index (CSI), has been devised to help cruisers in the Caribbean make informed decisions as to routes and destinations; and designed to complement cruising the Caribbean quadrant by quadrant. (For more information on experiencing the Caribbean quadrant by quadrant , see A Thinking Man’s Guide to Voyages South: the Many Facets of Caribbean Cruising on www.freecruisingguides.com ) or at Amazon.com (Kindle edition). 

What Dr. Hebson has accomplished, given her background, education and professional experience, is to capture a variety of factors and their attendant circumstances for each country in the Caribbean and weight them to produce an index that can provide insight into the amount of risk a cruising boat may encounter in a given area. Vastly improved navigation technology has reduced risk regarding weather and other cruising challenges; the CSI is intended to do the same for security risk assessment.

The CSI will be updated monthly, including a discussion of a particular country or issue.

Caribbean Security Index

V.11 No. 12


The Caribbean Security Index (CSI) has been created as a tool to assist cruisers in assessing the risk from crime at ports of call in the Caribbean. The CSI provides a straightforward means of assessing risk in a given area as well as ensuing changes in those risks. The index is stated in a numerical scale (1-10) with mitigating factors listed.

The index is derived from the examination of the relationship between crime, unemployment, levels of education and literacy. Additional factors include average income, distribution of income, presence of security, infrastructure and past record and history of crimes in a given area.

While nothing can guarantee future incidents of crime in a given area, the above factors carefully considered over a number of years can provide valuable insight as to what to expect and what to avoid.

Ratings for each country on a scale of 1-10 (10, safest) can be used an indicator of the factors mentioned above condensed into one number. Mitigating factors relate to extraordinary circumstances and may not appear in every case. Charts are included where helpful. Pie charts, for example, take into account the many harbors, marinas, and anchorages in some countries and appear for those countries where the distribution of types of crime by area is considered pertinent.

Report by: Dr. Catherine Hebson

Dr. Hebson holds a PhD in economic geography and regional economics from Rutgers University as well as degrees from Chestnut Hill College and the University of Wyoming. She has undertaken numerous analyses over the past thirty years; she has chaired economic development organizations and taught economics.

NOTE: CSI ratings are not based solely on the number of reported crimes in a given area; they take into account many other diverse but relevant factors.




Ratings:  Anchored out  9.8

Mitigating factors Grand Cayman has marine infrastructure in North Sound, and around the island, an ample distribution of (free) mooring balls, well maintained and monitored. In addition, Grand Cayman scores high scores high in all stability factors.


Ratings: In harbor 9.8  Anchored out  9.8

Mitigating factors Cayman Brac sports a wharf; both Sisters enjoy ample (free) mooring balls, well maintained and monitored. Like Grand Cayman, the Sisters score high in all stability factors.


Ratings:  At marinas 9.8 Anchored out  9.6

Mitigating factors Cuba has significant yacht traffic. There is virtually no crime against yachtsmen.


Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 8.8

Mitigating factors Troublesome harbors for theft have been Luperon and Samana.



HAITI In harbors  5.8  Anchored out  N/A

Ile à Vache  In harbor  9.6  Anchored out  N/A

Mitigating factors… The devastation of the 2009 earthquake has compounded Haiti’s chronic lack of rule of law. Ile à Vache has a long history of serving cruisers and should be considered reasonably safe.


Ratings:  At Marinas 9.6 Anchored out  7.8

Mitigating factors If anchored out in less heavily trafficked areas, consider the rating to drop to 6.6. Do not anchor immediately E or W of Kingston.


Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 9.0

Mitigating factors The islands of Vieques and Culebra are very safe and offer free moorings as well.

See Chart 1.

1. Puerto Rico: All Reported Events, 2008-2011








Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 9.8

Mitigating factors Reported crimes very low; take extra care in marinas on Tortola.


Ratings:  At marinas 8.8  Anchored out 7.8

Mitigating factors Of 5 reported incidents in the past 3 years, 3 occurred at different locations on St. Thomas, 1 on St. John’s, and 1 on St. Croix. If St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John’s were rated separately, St. John’s would rate higher, due to its extensive national park and attendant personnel.




Ratings: At Marinas  n/a Anchored out  9.8

Mitigating factors No reported crime in past 3 years.


Ratings: At Marinas  9.2 Anchored out 9.2

Mitigating factors Marine infrastructure. There have been incidents of violent crime upland that warrant caution


Ratings:  At Marinas  n/a Anchored out  9.8

Mitigating factors Laid back environment, safe.


Ratings:  At marinas  n/a  Anchored out  7.8

Mitigating factors No marine infrastructure; a couple of anchorages. Reported crimes have included violent assaults in Prince Rupert Bay at anchor.


Ratings: At marinas  9.4  Anchored out  9.7

Mitigating factors Marine infrastructure is anchored by a government marina with 500 slips at Pointe à Piedre. Ile des Saints continues to be a safe mecca for cruising yachts in search of a French Mediterranean experience.. Reporting history is one theft a year, 2008-2010, and one burglary thus far in 2011.


Ratings: At marinas n/a Anchored out  n/a

Mitigating factors  The emerald isles active volcano has discouraged yachtsmen for a number of years. However, facilities are under development on the west side to reverse that trend. No reported incidents.


Ratings: On moorings 9.8 Anchored out 9.8

Mitigating factors Yachts visit infrequently; no reported crime.


Ratings:  In harbor 9.8 Anchored out  9.8

Mitigating factors This jewel of France has a strong but invisible police presence that discourages so much as a criminal thought.


Ratings:  In harbor n/a  Anchored out 9.4

Mitigating factors Old plantation island with light cruiser traffic.


Ratings: In harbor n/a Anchored out  9.5

Mitigating factors Old plantation island with light cruiser traffic.


Ratings: At marinas 9.8 Anchored out  9.5

Mitigating factors Lots of yachting activity; safe yachting hub. The presence of mega yachts makes for added security. NOTE: Probably best for now to avoid anchoring near airport in Simpson Bay due to isolated location and prior event.


Ratings:  In harbor  n/a Anchored out  9.6

Mitigating factors Mainly commercial harbor activity. Yachts visit infrequently; no reported crime.




Ratings:  At marinas n/a  Anchored out  9.6

Mitigating factors Light cruiser activity.


Ratings:  At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 8.6

RECOMMENDATION: Good place to visit with low crime, good yachting facilities and repair opportunities. Nice anchorages and harbors, and the company of many other cruisers.

Mitigating factors Grenada has a small population with a high literacy rate and a long and profitable history of catering to cruisers.

See Charts 2 & 3.

2. Grenada: All Reported events, 2008-2011









3. Grenada: Reported Events by Place, 2010









Ratings:  At marinas 9.5 Anchored out 9.5

Mitigating factors Extensive marine infrastructure; little reported crime to date.


Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 7.0

Mitigating factors In harbor at marinas safe; anchoring out increasingly less safe. The country has been ill managed in recent years. The geographic trend since 2008 is away from Rodney Bay Lagoon and environs toward other locations (e.g., Vieux Fort).

See Charts 4, 5, & 6.

4. St Lucia: All Events, 2008-2011










5. St Lucia: All Reported Events by Place, 2008-2011





6. St Lucia: Events by Place & Year, 2008-2011


Ratings:  At marinas n/a Anchored out 5.6

Mitigating factors Land and seascape beautiful and popular with cruisers, but crimes against cruisers have a well documented record.

See Charts 7, 8, 9, & 10.

7. St Vincent & Grenadines: All Reported Events, 2008-2011









8. St. Vincent & Grenadines: All Reported Events by Type & Year, 2008-2011









9. St Vincent & Grenadines: All Reported Events by Place and Year, 2008-2011








10. Bequia: All Reported Events by Place, 2008-2011









Ratings: At marinas  n/a Anchored out 8.8

Mitigating factors Land and seascape beautiful and popular with cruisers, but crimes against cruisers appear to be on the rise.

See Charts 7, 8, 9, & 10 above.


Ratings: At marinas  9.0 Anchored out  8.0

TTSA  7.0

Mitigating factors For all intents and purposes, to speak of Trinidad is to speak only of Chaguaramas as the sheer number of boats and concentrated service infrastructure make that area an inviting target. Three major factors include: TTSA where the mooring area is dark and extensive; during hurricane season when most boat are untenanted; and upland. The quality (and cost) of marine facilities appears to be inversely related to the amount of crime.

See Charts 11 & 12.

11. Trinidad (Chaguaramas) & Tobago: All Reported Events, 2088-2011





12. Trinidad (Chaguaramas): Reported Events by Place, 2010


Ratings: At marinas n/a Anchored out  9.0

Mitigating factors Consistent history of safety for cruisers until crimes were first reported this year.




Ratings: At marinas  9.6  Anchored out 9.6

Mitigating factors Country’s investment in tourist industry, specifically big cruise ship traffic, translates into more security with a welcome spillover effect for cruisers.


Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 9.6

Mitigating factors No crimes reported since 2009.


Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 9.2

Mitigating factors Curacao safe for cruisers, but be alert for theft if anchored in Spanish Waters.

See Chart 13.

Curacao (Spanish Waters): Reported Thefts by Year






Ratings: In harbor  6.8 Anchored out 4.5


Mitigating factors Venezuela is a country in chaos without a rule of law or a process that allows for redress in the event of a crime. The government recently announced they will appropriate yachts of Venezuelan citizens. Uncertainty surrounding government policies, coupled with high unemployment (nearing 50%), has led to a heightened level of criminal activity.

See Charts 14 & 15. While the graphs below indicate that the offlying islands have experienced less crime against cruisers than the mainland, CSI recommends complete avoidance of Venezuelan waters at this time.

Venezuela, mainland: All Reported Events, 2008-2011










15. Venezuela, islands: All Reported Events, 2008-2011










Venezuela, islands: Reported Events by Place & Year, 2008-2011












Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 9.0

Mitigating factors Light cruising traffic, mostly directed toward SCUBA diving.


Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 8.8

Mitigating factors Strong Coast Guard presence and expansion of marine infrastructure has resulted in cruisers returning to this country; significantly reduced crime.


Ratings: At marinas  9.6  Anchored out 9.6


Mitigating factors Light cruiser traffic.


Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 5.8

Mitigating factors VERY dangerous if anchoring out.


Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out – See mitigating factors

Mitigating factors Cruiser traffic is light along this coast. The few reported incidents of crime do include a violent attack resulting in murder. When coupled with lack of infrastructure this suggests avoidance of this coast at this time.


(Utilia, Guanaja, Roatan and the Cayos Cochinos)

Ratings: At marinas n/a Anchored out  8.8

Mitigating factors Magnet for cruisers and divers; Only mooring is permitted in Cayos Cochinos, a national park. Increasing crime reported.


Ratings: At marinas 9.6 Anchored out 9.0

Mitigating factors Marinas on Isla Mujeres have been the preference of the cruising community.


Ratings: At marinas n/a Anchored out n/a

Mitigating factors Light cruiser traffic on Miskito coast and lack of marine infrastructure; can be dangerous.


Ratings: At marinas  9.6 Anchored out 9.4

Mitigating factors New marina infrastructure. Most cruisers choose marina berthage.


Ratings: At marinas  n/a Anchored out 9.5

Mitigating factors Local chieftains keep anchorages safe.





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