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How would a panic room on a superyacht actually work?

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Alina Andriyanova
February 19, 2019

Piracy, an extremely rare, yet often talked about hazard in the boating space, has yielded few solutions other than armed security whilst cruising in dangerous areas. The real estate market has come up decades ago with the concept of a panic room where owners could hide in the event of an armed robbery, according to Yacht Harbour. How could this actually work in yachting?

Simon Rowland, CEO of Veritas International Consultants, indicates that while the general concern with security matters in the world is growing, it is not surprising that these issues transmit into the yachting industry. “If you go back five years, it would have been a hard justification to have a panic room on board, but now it is becoming more of a requirement,” claims Rowland.

There are two significant functions that a panic room should perform. It should not only support life, but also enable communication between the sheltered ones and the outer world. That is why the consultants from Veritas company normally recommend to locate a panic room at the crew mess, and it is important to think over all security measures on design stage. It is also cheaper to equip a safe room within that area, as a lot of important facilities such as water supply and toilets are already fit into the mess room.

However, the locations, where a completely secure room can be equipped, are not limited to the crew mess. Rowland reports that they have advised several clients to equip their room or bathroom as secondary safe rooms, so that they could hide themselves in case they feel anxious or if the boat is being robbed.

It is natural, that most of the owners would not stay on board while the boat passes through dangerous zones, therefore panic rooms are in a greater degree a measure aimed to protect the crew rather than the owners. The yachts themselves might be comparatively vulnerable against piracy, as conventional defense mechanisms applied to many vessels do not seem that effective. For instance, many rely on razor wire, but in fact this measure would not normally prevent the criminals from getting on board.

That is why the need of taking security measures on-board is becoming more vital these days. Rowland stresses, that it is much more common to have a fully equipped safe room on larger vessels of 70 metres and above, as it might be quite problematic to fit such room onto a smaller yacht. 

All in all, the danger of piracy or any other form of attack on a large vessel is very low in our time. Nonetheless, panic rooms have become one of the latest trends the owners would not want to overlook in their superyacht design.

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