Skip to main content

TMM Yacht Charters takes a stand against crime

In an attempt to provide increased security for Caribbean charter companies, TMM Yacht Charters in Tortola has launched a state-of-the-art security system to protect its property from would-be thieves. The BVI-police-backed "Marine Marking Initiative" combines covert and overt methods from

In an attempt to provide increased security for Caribbean charter companies, TMM Yacht Charters in Tortola has launched a state-of-the-art security system to protect its property from would-be thieves. The BVI-police-backed "Marine Marking Initiative" combines covert and overt methods from Selectamark Security Systems to permanently mark property with etching kits.

“Marine equipment will no longer be as valuable to the criminal as it will bear permanent markings which can be easily spotted by any law enforcement officer," explained Reynell Fraser, the Police Commission of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. "It is virtually impossible to remove the markings and any attempt would seriously deface and devalue the items for resale.”

His comments were received well at last month's press conference, where TMM, Selectamark, the BVI Tourism Board, the Marine Association, the BVI Charter Yacht Society and both marine- and shore-based police departments revealed the Marine Marking Kit to an enthused audience. TMM's base manager Mark Sanders was pleased to see so many island organizations coming together to combat theft, particularly in charter bases.

Selectamark's technology involves covertly marking boats, dinghies, outboards and electronics with a unique HIN that allows that piece of property to be traced back to TMM permanently. These HINs will be applied using RFID transponder tags, a type of stamp that is invisible to the human eye and only viewable using a special data reader. The idea is that if an item is stolen from the charter company and found in another location, the data reader will be able to scan the stamp and trace the property back to TMM.

Just looking at the marked vessels, you would never know they were tagged, because the HIN is impossible to see without the data reader. These data readers are expensive, so it took the support of the whole island to help TMM launch this initiative. Caribbean Insurers Ltd donated two data readers and the Marine Association donated a third. The data readers are dual-purpose UV light/ flashlights and will be used by island police forces when checking car radios that they suspect were stolen from a boat.

In addition to the covert markings, Selectamark has also placed personalized "Thieves Beware" signs around the charter base to deter thieves.

A marking kit for a dinghy and an outboard costs $100, but because the cost of installation has been absorbed by boat owners and the charter company, charter guests will see no change in the price of their booking, just an improved peace of mind.

Over the next few months, TMM will measure the effectiveness of their new Marine Marking Kit system. If all goes well, and many island organizations are hoping it will, the system could inspire a trend across the charter industry, eventually leading to a decrease in dinghy and boat theft.



11th Hour Racing Team's Green Mission

“I’ll admit, it’s still hard to watch the boat leave the dock sometimes,” says former Volvo Ocean Race sailor Mark Towill. Since meeting during a Transpac campaign over 15 years ago, he and his teammate Charlie Enright have sailed thousands of miles together aboard two Volvo more


Boat Review: Dufour 61

Dufour, long one of France’s most well-respected builders, has been producing sailboats in La Rochelle since the dawn of fiberglass boatbuilding. Having recently merged with another La Rochelle-based builder, Fountaine Pajot, Dufour has now joined other European mass-production more


The Ocean Race to be “Climate Positive”

The 2023 Ocean Race intends to be one of the world’s first climate positive sporting events, offsetting more greenhouse gasses than are produced. The two-fold effort means cutting emissions by 75 percent and investing in ocean projects that sequester carbon and restore ocean more


Cruising Lake Superior

Almost anywhere a sailor drops the hook someone else has been there before. We are hardly ever the first. That remote Maine harbor without a soul in sight: there’s a lobster trap. The south coast of Newfoundland: the crumbling remains of a fisherman’s cabin lie hidden among the more


Fabricating a Tablet Holder

During the pandemic, I was stuck aboard Guiding Light, a Lagoon 410, in St. Lucia for over a month. During that time, as I worked on the boat, I started by doing a spring cleaning in my spares locker and finding some parts and material that I forgot I had. As soon as I saw them, more


A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the more


Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s more


Cruising: Offshore Prep Talk

When I began preparing Minx, my 1987 Pearson 39-2, for extended Caribbean cruising, I had to balance my champagne wish list against my beer budget. Every buck spent on the boat before leaving would be one less frosty can of Carib down in the islands. On the other hand, I had to more