A common concern of miners across New Eden is how to do so safely. While there is no such thing as complete safety in this galaxy (and what a boring place it would be if there were) there are things that you can do to reduce the likelihood that you will receive a failure on an unscheduled tank check. Although the advice below is meant specifically for our particular brand of High-Sec mining, much of this advice could be applied to other situations. I leave this an exercise for the reader.
Know Your Enemy. This is both literal in the sense of making sure to add known ganking characters and organizations to your Contacts but also somewhat metaphorical. By learning how gankers think and behave, you will significantly increase your odds of survival And, there is no better way to learn how gankers operate than to take part in ganking yourself.
Stay Aware. Although the gank itself takes only a few moments, there are usually signs of the imminent danger. These include a spike in local (both neutrals and known ganking characters) and unknown parties lingering on grid (waiting to collect loot, scanning, or providing bookmarks/warp-ins). In time, you will get a sense of what these threats feel like and see them coming.
Stay Aligned. Whenever possible, and especially if you sense an incoming gank, make sure you are aligned to a celestial for rapid departure should that prove necessary. There is no dishonor in making a hasty retreat.
Stay Mobile. Nothing reduces incoming damage like distance and transversal. Although this may not save something slow like a Barge or Exhumer it can be the difference between life and death for a Venture. Most ganks are done by Catalysts which have abysmally low range and could potentially be escaped by simply burning away as fast as possible. Also, by moving, you may simply not be where they want you when they land.
Mine in Groups. Although the fleet itself may attract the attention of gankers, this one is purely a numbers game. With more potential targets, the odds of you being one of those targets is lessened. Also, mining in a group allows you defend yourselves more efficiently. You can defend one ship as easily as a hundred.
Don’t Fly Blingy Ships. In case you weren’t aware, high-sec mining is not a glamorous or lucrative line of work. So, why people are coming to Hek with Billion-ISK mining ships is beyond me. Although most miner-ganking is done for a love of the sport rather than ISK, they will go out of their way to get a killmail like that.
Don’t Take the Bait. If someone goes Suspect in your belt, it is almost certainly intentional. Do NOT engage. Even if you manage to kill them, you now have a limited engagement in which they can return in something that will kill you.
Tank Is Your Friend. Although it can be tempting to focus on maximizing your mining yield, when it comes to survival it’s all about the size of your tank. In Hek, you have between 19 and 26 seconds from the start of the gank until Concord arrives. If your tank lasts that long, you win. If it doesn’t, you are scrap.
ECM is Your Best Friend. Sure, guns are fun. But, when it comes to defending against gankers there is simply no weapon as effective as Electronic Countermeasures. To those unfamiliar, this is a weapons system that stops your target from being able to lock anyone but you. If they can’t lock, they can’t shoot. If they can’t shoot, they can’t kill. After that, it’s just a matter of waiting for Concord to finish the job. Although ECM is somewhat random, it is not uncommon for a single ECM ship to be able to disable two or more ganking ships long enough to save their intended target.
Plan For Your Loss. On a long enough timeline, every ship turns to scrap. Plan for this and prepare accordingly. By having your replacement at the ready, it will minimize the down-time.