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Old 07-09-2018, 11:23 PM   #1
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Only owned Mahalo for a week, and someone tried to steal her

So today was our one week anniversary of actually owning the boat. But we are still in commissioning, meaning the boat is in South Lake Union, with lots of trades people on the boat every day. In an unsecured marina, i.e. the sales office are for Hampton, Fleming, all the major Seattle brokers etc etc.

I have been told there is security throughout the night.

I came over on Sunday to stay on the boat for a few days. I wanted to get more experience with anything I could, and I felt that my presence would ramp up the commissioning process a bit. We are being delayed by our guys being pulled onto other boats that are starting their cruising season and having the inevitable start of the season issues.

This is only my second night aboard, we came over for July 4th.

At 2:30 am this morning, I was awakened by the unmistakable sound of lines/fenders being thrown on board. I try to gather my wits about me, grab my flashlight and go above. Before going to bed I had all the interior lights off.

As I'm ascending the stairs there is a HUGE CRASHING NOISE. I assume this is coming from the flybridge, maybe someone taking a crowbar to the Garmin MFD or my BBQ. There are stairs and a hatch from inside the boat to the FB. I determine that I'll be able to open this hatch for a sec, see if anyone is there, and lock the hatch before they could get to me. I proceed and there is no one up there.

I quickly relatch the hatch come back down and look out the port side windows where we are tied up.

I can see that the huge crashing noise came from the power pedestal and pieces of dock which the perp has kicked over. The perp is there. I do a quick recon out all the other windows / doors and it seems he is alone, and he's on the dock.

I think for a moment that today I actually brought a small pepper spray to the boat, but in my excited state I cannot remember where I put it.

So I open the port PH door and shout at him "WHO ARE YOU?"

(This gets good right here). He actually says to me "I'm your driver."

I say "GET AWAY FROM THIS BOAT RIGHT NOW!"

He says "What, you don't want a driver?"

We stare at each other in the light of the decorative dock lighting for a few seconds. I have been in this situation before and I am ready to explode. He runs off.

I experience about one second of relief and then realize he has completely untied the boat and it is floating free.

Lucky for me, a windless night. I put some clothes on and assess. I just need to thruster back to the dock as the boat has drifted over to the dock on the port side of the boat.

Thrusters are hydraulic, so I need engines running. I try to start engines. No go. Find "engine control" on DC panel. Do station select on transmission. Start engines. Noise is good!

I press the thruster station select button repeatedly, but I don't have thrusters. I scour both panels for a thruster breaker but am unable to find one.

I phone both my Hampton contacts but neither answers. It is now about 3:15 am, I'm not surprised.

Reassess. On the port side, where the boat has come to rest, it's a dinghy dock. I'd have to jump and then lead the boat over to the real dock. Nope, not going to do that.

I briefly consider trying to drive the boat out into Lake Union, but in these tight quarters with no thrusters, and it is dark, I don't like it.

I move to the cockpit, and realize that the power cable is still attached to the wounded power pedestal, and is actually around a cleat where the stern was when the boat was tied to the dock.

I am able to gently pull the stern to the dock using the power cable.

Then armed with my trusty Swiss army knife and watching over my shoulder the whole time I commence retying the boat. When I retie the stern line I get a little bit of the willies realizing the guy had untied this line, then walked across the swim step and deposited it in a neat pile.

Tied to the dock (hey my first time doing this by myself!) I turn off the engines and take some deep breaths. I know I'm not going back to sleep.

The Hampton guys start calling me at 6 am and are supportive and apologetic.

The first Hampton guy that comes on the boat sees that the perp had thrown his backpack onto the side deck.

A while later between Hampton, the marina, and me, we determine I should call Seattle PD.

When SPD arrives, he inspects the backpack and it has several needles, some random BS, and a nice flashlight and a huge screwdriver (to break open doors one presumes). Oh and a jar of peanut butter. All the tweakers here live off of peanut butter I learn.

Of course PD tells me I should have phoned 911 right away. After dispatching the perp I was just too overwhelmed with my drifting boat to think of that. Over the next few hours I think if many things I could have done differently.

All I had to do was blast the horn!

Obviously the perp's plan was misguided. I believe he was unable to figure out turning the power cord to remove it, that's why he went karate mode on the pedestal. Had I not been here and he then was able to jump aboard and break into the boat, there's no way I think we would have been able to figure out how to start it and get it going. Well unless he's a former boat yard guy.

So tonight the horn compressor is powered up. All the outside lights are on and all the inside lights will be off. Pepper spray ready. A few other options ready.

My 7 cameras were not recording yet. They are now. The alarm portion of my Maretron system not up and running. It will be tomorrow.

It's sad that a once so beautiful city has come to this, but I refrain from politics on social media.
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:28 PM   #2
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Well at least he didn’t have time to do any damage. Glad you have a plan in place for the future.
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:37 PM   #3
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Forgot the pictures.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:23 AM   #4
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Yikes

Good thinking on his part to kick the pedestal over...was plan 'B' to hacksaw through the cable to the pedestal?
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:09 AM   #5
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Sorry Bob. Too bad about the lack of security. I'm surprised there in Lake Union.


Congratulations however on your first solo docking! :-)
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Old 07-10-2018, 03:48 AM   #6
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Glad it was a reasonably happy ending. Security through the night? That contract might need to be reviewed! Some motion sensor lights on the docks, and cameras would work better. Maybe with a cattle prod wired to the security guy's leg as well.

Those docks are about to be demolished aren't they? Going to change to waterfront real estate for condos IIRC. But until then it should at least have gates that are locked during the night, even if they are left open during daylight hours.
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:47 AM   #7
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Wow, good you were there. I've heard of people untying boats just for kicks. Do you suppose that's what he was doing, or was he actually intending to go for a joy ride? I suppose his pack on board suggests he planned to end up on board, not on shore.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:37 AM   #8
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Have gone through this scenario in my mind several times since buying my boat. Doors locked at night, first response would be to call 911, and no interaction without a firearm in my hand. Turning on the deck lights (not interior) and holding down the air horn button will be added to my list.

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Old 07-10-2018, 06:39 AM   #9
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A Concern I would have had is whether or not the engines were "good to go" as the boat was still under commissioning. Valves correct, nothing hanging around the stern etc.

Glad it all worked out.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:51 AM   #10
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Wow, that's unbelievable! What the hell would a drug addict do with a 70 foot boat? That's crazy....While I was reading this I was thinking you must be commissioning your boat somewhere overseas or in Central America. Not in the PNW.

Good reaction Captain. Some of us may have froze or panicked.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:31 AM   #11
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Sounds like that guy was already "on a trip"!
Thankfully you were on board.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:40 AM   #12
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Well, that was certainly an adventure! Very glad it turned out like it did. No damage to your boat or anyone else's, perpetrator scared off, no one hurt. You kept your wits about you and used what you had at hand to get it redocked in the middle of the night. All in all, could have turned out so much worse. It'll be an interesting story for docktails later.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:31 AM   #13
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This sort of thing reminds me to keep a small air horn handy. The air lines to the one in the boat have a leak somewhere, also on my 'to do' list. This also reminds me to have a suitable 'blunt instrument' plan... Best to have something handy to assist tossing their sorry ass overboard as quickly as possible...

Glad you came through unscathed.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:37 AM   #14
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Glad you and Mahalo are okay!

Seattle has gone crazy. I've had my car broken into at the Silver Cloud garage near where your boat was. Recently a (well known to the police) lady broke into my girlfriends apartment building and stole all the laundry from the communal washer/dryers. One of my neighbors on the Ship Canal found a homeless person living in his boat. I've seen dozens of needles floating on Lake Union and scattered about parks and sidewalks.

Time to get cruising!
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:02 AM   #15
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Some people listed the marina where I am as "less desirable". I live here for 5 years and never lock the door. I guess that the more expensive marinas have some problems.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menzies View Post
A Concern I would have had is whether or not the engines were "good to go" as the boat was still under commissioning. Valves correct, nothing hanging around the stern etc.

Glad it all worked out.
Thanks. We have sea trialed the boat several times. Engines not an issue.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:44 AM   #17
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I'm glad it's over and all relatively ok. Does point out the need for security systems on boats even at marinas. I must admit to some shock that you didn't call the police immediately. You might rethink that for next time, although hopefully not a next time, you're involved in any sort of touchy situation on land or water.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:48 AM   #18
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Vindication!

Yesterday when the first Hampton guy came on board and I explained what happened with the thrusters he calmly started the engines, pushed the select switch on the thrusters and there they were ready to thrust away.

Been thinking about it ever since. I KNOW I pushed that button several times. What could be different?

Last night I just turned the ignition on and the thrusters were energized.

So this morning I thought I'd take a picture of this for you guys, show how simple it is, say I don't know how I could have messed up, but somehow I did.

I turn the ignition on. Hmmm, no light on the thruster. Okay, I'll start one engine. Hmm, no light. I'll start the other. Hmmm, still no light.

So instead of a picture for you, I made a video of it for them!

I hope this isn't one of those deals like the car noise you always hear until you drive into the dealer's service area.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:50 AM   #19
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:54 AM   #20
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Thanks for the kind words everyone. We need to have many contingency plans on our boats, this is one of them.

Happy to report an incident free night last night. I did wake up at 3 am or something and have a look around (actually I slept on the salon couch).

Here's what a couple of cameras showed... Keep in mind I have all my external lights blazing. They should be recording any time there is movement. I should have walked out there to double check that (works during the day). Maybe tonight.
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