Protect Yourself from Common Boat Trip Scams

Published by Maharudra Walke on

Boat Trip Scams
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Do you know the dangers of boat trips and how some scammers take advantage of tourists? Boat trip scam is on the rise and counterfeit tickets, charging above the agreed price, and taking tourists on substandard boats especially those who are enthusiastic to take a boat trip at certain tourist attractions.

To prevent this from happening to you, always ensure that you verify the authenticity of the tour operators, and where you obtain your tours through the right media platforms and ensure that you go through detailed reviews online.

Knowing the propensity of fraudulent schemes at different periods in the year- particularly during the low season and the areas most vulnerable like Thailand, the Caribbean, Greece among others- will go a long way in helping overcome these fraudsters. Be vigilant, be safe and make sure you know about your finances so you can book a great experience where you do not have to be scammed.

What Are Boat Trip Scams?

Boat trip scams are actions of dishonest people or fake companies that aim at defrauding the tourists by taking their money of their identity details.

These scams can come in the form of fake tickets or fake services that charge people more than they expected or offer them other services and experiences that are below what they were told.

The outcomes of these scams may vary from loss of certain sums of money to the spoilage of the otherwise lovely vacation and such scams are rife especially in usual tourist attraction areas.

Common Types of Boat Trip Scams

Fake Ticket Sales

In early 2022, a team of tourists in Thailand bought the tickets for a boat tour in the island through what looked like a company website. Once they got there the realised the company was fake and the tickets were fake as well.

Each of them was unlucky to spend more than 200 dollars for their trip and had to plan the trip with other means. To prevent circumstance where you end up paying for tickets you never receive, order tickets directly through the site or from members of the trusted travel agency. When getting any product make it a point to look at the reviews and customer ratings.

Overcharging and Hidden Fees

A family in the Caribbean for example booked for a boat tour with a price tag of $100 per person. However, when they came on board, they were faced with further charges for facilities, meals and “service fees” that almost tripled the cost of their activities.

Make sure that all additional costs are stated and explained, and get a budget that clearly outlines all expenses covered by the current fee. Do not attract any odd surprises and read the less obvious prints of the agreement since it is common to reap what you did not sow.

Substandard Safety Measures

A man and a woman in Greece decided to go on a cheap boat trip. The vessel was in rather bad shape with no safety equipment that is usually required in case of an emergency. There was some technical problem and the couple had to return midway, the trip almost cost them their lives.

Prioritize safety over cost. Discover more about their safety records as well as do a regulatory safety check on the vessel they propose to use. Ensure that you are checking the reviews particularly the safety standards that the service providers provide.

Non-existent Tours

Indonesian travellers in 2021, used an online service to organise a luxury boat tour. From here it looks there was no boat on the shore when we arrived and the so called tour operator could not be reached.

The travelers lost their $5,500 . Check if the tour operator is legal. Book with recognized service providers that have the consumer protection measures in place. It is best to give a direct call to the operator before making the booking to get specifics.

Who Are the Usual Victims of Boat Trip Scams?

The target person for the boat trip scams is tourists and especially those who are new to that area and do not know anyone who can tell them about the scam. Many of them have an online booking platform and might lack the local contacts to undertake the necessary investigations to identifying the rogue operators.

The direct targets include; families, couples, and individuals who seek for special and different experiences. Muggers take advantage of this by duping them due to their inexperience with the area which they look forward to exploring.

Who Typically Perpetrates These Scams?

These are people or organizations that engage in criminal activities by venturing into fake business or taking advantage of genuine ones with an intention of duping tourists.

They usually set base in major tourist attractions mainly because there is a changing population of people they can ensnare timelessly. Such performers may be the inhabitants that know the Tourist industry or the international fraud groups that are specialized in Travel scams.

When Do Boat Trip Scams Usually Occur?

Travel rip offs can occur at any time though they are most prevalent during the height of the tourism seasons. This ranges from June- August; Christmas holiday, Easter holiday, and any other public holidays, and that period surrounding any event that would bring a lot of people.

It only takes the scammers to sit back and exploit the busy times for tourist activities like boat hire, knowing fully well that tourists perhaps be very keen on the activities to book and explore than to ascertain that there is the existence of cons.

Seasonal Patterns in Boat Trip Scams

There is always a increase in frauds during summer and the major holidays. At these time, there is always a HIGH demand for boat trips and it becomes hard for the con artists to go unnoticed as they make their way to getting as many tourists as possible in their clutches.

On the other hand, if the particular type of a con artist is active during the off-peak tourist time, besides being excessively aggressive , the prices will also be comparatively lower, and this should alert any tourist.

Where Are Boat Trip Scams Most Common?

These cases are more common in areas that attract many tourists, for instance, attractive water bodies and attractions. The countries with higher rates of this kind of fraud are Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean coast, any country that is associated with big river cruises.

The high levels of activity involving the different ports, the famous islands with tourists’ attractions, and areas that have more independent travel agents attract the different fraudsters.

Popular Tourist Destinations with High Rates of Boat Trip Scams

Some areas are more notorious for enabling boat trip cons. Countries in the South East Asia such as Thailand which is widely known for island tour scams frequently record cases of fake tickets and extortionate charges.

This type of tourists is particularly numerous in the Caribbean islands; thus, they are easy targets for scammers who charge unreasonable fees and provide low-quality services. Mediterranean coastal areas popular with tourist attractions such as Greece do feature cases of budget tours sometimes sacrificing safety and service.

Why Do Scammers Target Boat Trips?

Boat trips are popular among tourists, which is why fraudsters take a particular interest in them as they know that this is a highly profitable business.

This reduces the traveller’s guard when on a boat trip hence increases chances of being duped. Also, as boat trips can cost considerably even at the lowest, the amount of money that a successful scam would bring to its perpetrators would still be a lot.

Reasons Behind the Prevalence of Boat Trip Scams

One cannot help but wonder why boat trip scams are very rampant in this field of travelling. The social exploits reveal that high demand from the tourists who want to visit the coastlines and islands leads to fake travel agents surfacing.

Then there are the high profit margins that can be made, not to mention the fact that the transient population associated with tourism is easy to dupe. Sometimes regulation of scams is lax and no enforcement action is taken to tackle the problem as loopholes in consumer protection laws in certain geographical regions allow this to happen.

How Do Boat Trip Scams Typically Unfold?

Boat trip scams start with tempting offers with nice and potentially life-changing tours at a very cheap price. Attraction mostly includes bogus websites, social media networks, travel discussion forums, among other internet mediums.

These people will as soon as the traveler displays interest in their offers, will proceed to demand immediate payments, and in the process, give half baked or even misleading information.

Among the problems victims might face is discovering on the day of travel that there is no such ship, that the quality of service offered is far below the expected standard or that they are faced with hidden charges.

How to Identify and Avoid Boat Trip Scams

I have learned that for one to effectively guard against common boat trip scams, then one has research a lot and be extremely careful. Some of the commonly used tactics include posting attractive advertisements that make the travelers believe that they are going to get a great bargain or experience something rare.

To protect yourself, it is recommended to check reviews about the certain tour operator in special websites like TripAdvisor or Google Reviews. Some of the things that you should observe are to confirm if they have the correct paperwork to practice, their licenses to practice and to also ensure that they work according to the set safety measures as well as the regulatory measures that are present.

To avoid fraud, always book directly through the company’s website or through a travel agency that you trust and that has a good reputation. Check all the details of the trip and the costs as well as the services offered before you pay for the trip. Use your common sense. Sometimes it’s better not to second-guess yourself, and if something is offered that seems unreliable or suspicious, it’s better to look for another product or service.

Personal Experience

When I was once on a trip to India, I once arranged for a boat cruise along the Ganges in Varanasi. The internet offer appeared to be good, where one could have a sunset ride and a native meal for a fairly cheap price.

However, upon arrival it was significantly worse than what they had expected, based on the advertisements. The boat had too many people, had no life jackets, no fire extinguishers even the dinner provided was more like a supper.

Surprisingly, we had to pay more money for some “services” that were included in our package. I learned that you have to make sure you research the information before you act on it. You should book through multiple platforms and make sure you are booking with the right provider.


What are boat trip scams?

Boat trip scams involve deceptive practices by individuals or companies to cheat tourists out of money or personal information, often through fake tickets, overcharging, or substandard services.

Who are the usual victims of boat trip scams?

Tourists, particularly first-time visitors, families, couples, and solo travelers, are common targets due to their excitement and lack of local knowledge.

Who typically perpetrates these scams?

Scammers can be individuals or organized groups, including locals familiar with the tourist industry or international fraud rings specializing in travel scams.

When do boat trip scams usually occur?

These scams are common during peak tourist seasons, such as summer, holidays, and local festivals when the influx of travelers is highest.

Where are boat trip scams most common?

Scams are prevalent in popular tourist destinations like Thailand, the Caribbean, Greece, and Indonesia, particularly in busy ports and famous island getaways.

Why do scammers target boat trips?

Scammers target boat trips due to high demand, substantial fees, anonymity, and weak regulatory oversight in some regions.

How do boat trip scams typically unfold?

Scams often start with enticing advertisements, quick payment demands, and misleading information, leading to fake or substandard experiences and unexpected charges.

How to identify and avoid boat trip scams?

Research thoroughly, verify credentials, book through reputable channels, confirm details and costs, prioritize safety, and trust your instincts. Seeking recommendations and using travel insurance can also help.

Categories: Beach

Maharudra Walke

I am a seasoned traveler with over 10 years of experience in beach vacations, water activities, solo travel, and villa stays.


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