Pirates may sound like they belong in a storybook or a blockbuster film but the reality is much different. According to the U.S. Department of State, the number of pirate attacks has risen significantly. Americans travelling by sea should be careful when sailing through certain coastal danger zones.

Piracy happens all over the world but the coasts of Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Venezuela and Yemen are particularly problematic. In Africa, most attacks happen in the Gulf of Arden off the coast of Somalia.

Pirates, while most often targeting commercial ships, do attack private yachts. First, make sure your marine yacht crew insurance is comprehensive and up-to-date. Heed advice about piracy countermeasures such as adding extra security and sailing at the highest practicable speed through problem areas.

Attacks against cruise ships are rare. But better to be safe than sorry – to protect yourself from the after-effects of a marine attack, take out travel medical insurance. Review travel advice before your trip and consult with your travel company if you’re worried about your route.