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Old 04-08-2013, 08:40 PM   #1
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Vandalism & Theft while at Anchor

I'm hoping to get some good advice from all of you out there about alarm systems for my 45' trawler and the do's and don'ts of leaving your vessel unattended at anchor. Let me briefly explain what I'm asking advice on. We would love to be able to anchor off some shallow water fishing areas and take off in our dingy for some fishing and sightseeing, but we're wondering if it is really safe to leave the vessel unattended at anchor. Do you guys out there regularly do this or do you always have someone on board or some kind of alarm system while at anchor? I appreciate all your replies. Thanks
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:44 PM   #2
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Never heard of a boat having a problem. Of course pirates aren't much of a problem here either.

They'd have to be pretty determined to pick a boat that was at anchor. It would be tons easier just to pull into any marina and look for a quiet empty slip next to something they felt like stealing.

One bit of advice I heard was to leave a radio on and a pair of big empty shoes on the deck as you enter the cabin.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:47 PM   #3
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Most cruisers regularly leave their boat at anchor from hours to weeks if need be.

While most just leave it open or lock it just enough to keep someone from waltzing in...the more secure you make it...the more damage you are likely to incur if a determined thief wants in.

I haven't yet but a few triggers that might set off the loudhailer or boat horn to alert you if on the each for the afternoon would be all I did.

A few weeks ago FF posted info about a pepper spray defense setup that looked interesting. I would probably not use it in my circumstances but I wouldn't hesitate to if I though I needed it...despite the critics who feared being sued (even though the device had an ample warning siren prior to discharge)
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:53 PM   #4
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We do not have an alarm system on our boat and have never felt the need for one. However when we leave the boat, either in a marina, at a dock in a marine park, or on a mooring buoy or at anchor, we always lock the boat up.

In the 14+ years we've been doing this kind of boating here I have never gotten the impression that break-ins are an issue, particularly out on the water. It may well be different in your area, so I would ask boaters in your marina and who frequent the waters you boat in if they perceive a problem and if so, what they have done about it.

If someone really wants to break into a boat they will do so regardless of what steps the owner may have taken to prevent it. Of more interest are the casual, spur-of-the-moment, target-of-opportunity crimes. The objective here is to get the would-be burglars to regard your boat as too much hassle to get into and so move them on down the dock.

To that end we keep the dinghy motor on our Livingston locked with a bar clamp over the C-clamp handles and chain the dinghy itself to the main boat. I also fabricated and installed a plate on the main cabin door that covers the gap between the door and the frame. This prevents the insertion of a knife blade or credit card to pry the latch and deadbolt back.

We also keep the blinds closed on the windows when we're not on board so it's hard to see into the cabin form the outside.

So far, so good.......
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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I have a "guard bear" to thwart would-be thieves.



And then there is a sloop nearby with a couple of dinghys tied to it, plus kayak and various paraphenalia onboard. No one seems to have taken advantage.

Nevertheless, when I was away for 2.5 months, someone did steal my hose and spray nozel left at the berth.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:03 PM   #6
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I feel no need to lock the boat, if they want in bad enough they'll break what's holding them back. It's all stuff IMO and recreational stuff at that. Good insurance and hide the view with curtains like Marin does is enough security for us.

I've seen first hand what happens to securely locked boats on the rare occasion a major burglary hits a marina. The hatch and door damage is easily twice the price to repair than the items taken.

Just my take...
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:09 PM   #7
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Depending on the location in the world security is a big issue.. in the states it's not that common to have a boat hit at anchor. We knew of a bunch of boats that got hit as we crossed the Pacific, while in Fiji one boat a close friends was hit about 200' away from us while we were aboard and below at dusk. The perp was caught wearing a t shirt from a sailing regatta the original owner had been in, and handed over to the police. The Fijian police took it very seriously as they didn't want their country to look bad to foreigners.
On my last trip to Mexico we kept the boat locked up tight at night with the exception of ports and hatches too small to enter.
I think a simple system that lights up the boat like daytime and a loud siren is probably enough for 99% of the situations.

Here is a different approach to yacht security that is non lethal, not that I have an issue with lethal defense either.
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GOST Cloak : Boat Alarms & Yacht Alarm, GPS Marine Security Systems,Global Ocean Security Technologies - Products
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:15 PM   #8
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I'm debating the wisdom of having a note in the window giving emergency contact numbers. That would seem to be an invitation to walk on board and have your way with whatever you find.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:43 PM   #9
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No. I'd rather rely on the goodwill of others to contact me if there is trouble with the boat.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:26 PM   #10
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Most boaters around us in our marina put an "In case of emergency" card in the window, including the liveaboards. In our case we have the Port 24-hour office number listed first along with our own numbers.

I really don't see how such a sign could encourage theft. It's pretty obvious if someone's on a boat or not, so having emergency contact numbers displayed isn't going to mean anything one way or the other to someone who wants to break into the boat.

Having liveaboards on the same dock does, however. Fortunately, we have several of them.

And the signs do help. On our dock alone they were instrumental in notifying people of a fuel leak from a boat, a boat taking on water, and right next to us the other year, a big outboard on a Grady White that shorted its tilt motor which was running continuously even though the motor was tilted up against the stop. Called the owner and he told me how to get to the battery to disconnect it. When the owner came down to the boat he found that the wiring and other stuff around the tilt motor was burned and figured the next step could have been a fire had we not been there to call and disconnect the battery.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:37 PM   #11
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I have one and have found that it serves two purposes; security and social contact. I received a call from a concerned marina neighbor. I forgot to turn off my GPS and it was beeping from the lost signal once in the covered slip. I told him how to get into my boat and he turned off the GPS unit right then and there. I appreciated the call and made a new friend.

I leave the sign in the window at my slip. but not when I'm at anchor.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:47 PM   #12
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Good thoughts re the signs. Although when I look at them on the dock here in Campbell River they are usually on dark, apparently empty vessels. I suppose the same sense could be had from the same vessel without the sign. Many of the boats, however, have out of province numbers, which could be an invitation perhaps.

The only time I've had to deal with a neighbouring boat in distress I simply alerted the Marina management folks and it was dealt with promptly, but after hours might be a bit of a challenge.

I am inclined not to have a sign, as I have other dock friends keeping an eye out.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:07 AM   #13
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Before posting my telephone number beside my "guard bear," I received calls from a fellow dockmate via the marina office as well as someone from Seattle leaving a phone message at my home, thanks so much, when they noticed the Coot listing. The listing was caused by my taking fuel on only the starboard tanks, and I hadn't had time to balance the boat by shifting more fuel to the port tanks.

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:26 AM   #14
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We lock our boat when away from the marina (but not if we're just going to visit on the other side or go to the office). We have a steel cable and lock on the dinghy motor.

If we're at anchor and sleeping or we leave the boat, we lock it. We lock the dinghy motor to the dinghy and the dinghy to the dock if possible.

I think that's about all I can do so insurance is my backup plan.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:45 AM   #15
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We don't normally lock the boat when we are on it. We might lock it if we are in a marina and go out to dinner, but maybe not. When we are at anchor, we do not lock the boat. We don't lock the boat when we are off in the dingy, nor do we lock it at night.

I suppose we are tempting fate, but we've had no issues in the twenty years we have been boating. If someone really wants to take something, I'd just as soon it be easy enough that they don't have to damage the boat to get it. Everything is replaceable.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:56 AM   #16
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Someone that simply climbs aboard is usually not a pro, just a snatch and go.

With no pro skills even just a pressure mat could be used to trigger a strobe light and horn.

Never had a problem , yet, but a precaution would be pretty cheap.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Nevertheless...someone did steal my hose and spray nozel left at the berth.
LOL, same experience here. Never had anything stolen off the boat, but after a while I learned to buy the cheapest hoses & nozzles I can find at Wal Mart. That cut WAY down on dock neighbors "borrowing" them from the post by my slip and "forgetting" to return them. I keep the good nozzles on board.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:57 AM   #18
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Some places it is necessary to lock your hose and power cords...but pretty rare...often the hose gets borrowed and "forgotten to be returned".

If you have one of those universal looking "white hoses"...sharpie your name or boats name on it so you have a decent argument to get it back...
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:59 AM   #19
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Marin, this winter Bellingham has had a problem with bums breaking into boats, and living on them untill supplys ran out. One '35 is a total loss after they ran the batts down and bilge pump couldnt keep up. (Took the copper drain from a sink to a thruhulloff leaving a hole in the side of the boat)
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:25 AM   #20
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We do have a problem with hoses and nozzles at my marina. Since it is primarily a dry stack operation, boats from the dry stack are put into slips if a customer wants to use his boat for more than a single day or if the horseshoe fills up. These people seem to think that the hoses and nozzles belong to the marina, not slip holders so they see no harm in moving them around. They don't see it as stealing.

Rather than buying a cheap hose, I bought a quality hose and strapped it to the dock with an electrical conduit strap. They can use it if they are nearby but they would have to use a screwdriver to actually take it. I just keep the nozzle on the boat.

I keep my drinking water hose on the boat and it's used for nothing else. I don't want people dropping it in the water or using it to rinse their holding tank.
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