By Jason Knowles
Hard Target Security Group
July 28, 2009

With what seems like a daily increase in reports of piracy there are many questions and concerns about how to increase security for vessel owners, their guests, Captain and crew.  Many countries have released guidelines for vessels traveling in High Risk Waters (HRW), and it is a good idea to review and become familiar with these governmental releases. What you will find is that there are some similarities that may prove beneficial to you as you adapt your Vessel Security Plan (VSP) to fit our current environment.

There are a number of companies that offer protective services for the maritime environment. Each of these companies have different methods to meet your security needs. Some are more innovative than others, Some more flexible than others, some come with more assets and toys at a higher price than others, but all are well worth the money opposed to the loss of life and/or millions of dollars in assets. Professionals will virtually instantly make you and your vessel a hard target, which means the bad guys go after someone else. In essence they are your sheepdogs.

Depending on the size of your vessel and your wallet you may not be able to hire Security Professionals for your protection. A Portion of HTSG is geared towards training the captain and crew in the techniques to avoid unwanted boarding’s. This is usually when the question of weapons onboard comes up. There is much more to vessel security or defense than fighting and weaponry. True vessel security training should encompass training with the Captain and crew on topics such as mind set, demeanor, awareness, presence, confidence, discipline, then perhaps get into practical lessons on weaponry, empty hand strikes, control techniques, and close quarter battle. By adding reality based training, you will be successful in an essential element of survival called stress inoculation. The Captain and crew will have rehearsed the execution of their VSP in a controlled yet realistic role-player scenario so that the first dry run is not the real life and death situation.