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Old 07-03-2019, 01:01 PM   #1
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A Spare Key Story

My new to me boat came with only a single set of ignition keys and a single aft saloon entry door key. Spares were in order.


The Cole Hersee ignition keys (twin engines) appear to be original to the boat and the Perko mortise lock saloon door key is cut from an Ilco blank. All the locksmiths around here have gone mobile only and the local hardware stores didn't stock the key blanks, didn't offer to order them for me, shrugged their shoulders and wished me luck. Such is the state of customer service these days.


Online I go and in a few seconds am at easykeys.com. The Cole Hersee keys are stamped with the key cut numbers. I quickly find the corresponding keys and add them to my cart. I find the 1502 Ilco blanks and for $26.42 they are in my P.O. box from across the country in North Carolina in less than a week.


I take the Ilco blanks to be cut at the local hardware store. This time the manager, who I am personally acquainted with helps me. In a lighthearted manner I tell him the story. He sympathetically rolls his eyes, shakes his head, and only because I insist he charges me. I am out the door for two bucks.


The new mortise lock keys work perfectly in the saloon door. One of the new ignition keys worked perfectly the other required a little fine tuning with a key file. If you don't have a key file get one. They are cheap. I find myself regularly using mine.

Now where to stash the spares? I'm thinking in the lazarette.

Also, I highly recommend easykeys.com


First boat project successful
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:58 PM   #2
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You can install a key lockbox somewhere that is accessible when the boat is locked up. You can easily set the 4 digit code to your choice. On Amazon search key lock box and it will pull up many to choose from. Some are made to hang on door knobs and some are made to screw to a wall. You could even just set it inside a storage locker but someone could walk off with it even if they could not get to the key.
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Old 07-03-2019, 02:15 PM   #3
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I had similar experiences with locksmiths near Annapolis. A steady stream of 'sales prevention' instead of recognizing a way to make a decent buck sourcing keys for me.

I even said "I know nothing about keys and am willing to pay you to figure it out for me." I had to do all the legwork myself.

I eventually got in contact with the factory and they cut fresh ones from the stamped code.
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Old 07-03-2019, 02:18 PM   #4
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You can install a key lockbox somewhere that is accessible when the boat is locked up. You can easily set the 4 digit code to your choice.
Does anyone make one that's reasonably resistant to corrosion? I'd hate to get one and have it corrode shut from the salt air.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:24 PM   #5
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Those key lockboxes are notorious for being simple to open by anybody with access to youtube.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:34 PM   #6
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Well boats are simple to open also without a key. Keys and locks just slow down someone that wants to get into your boat. We donít even lock our boat when it is docked at our house. We donít lock it when it is in a marina unless we are going to be gone for a while.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:36 PM   #7
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Does anyone make one that's reasonably resistant to corrosion? I'd hate to get one and have it corrode shut from the salt air.
They arenít that expensive, when it starts to show signs of corrosion just replace it.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:18 AM   #8
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One day I might get around to putting an ignition key in............or not
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:20 AM   #9
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I leave my ignition keys in all the time.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:43 AM   #10
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I leave my ignition keys in all the time.
We don't have one at all.
Toggle switch for ignition on
Momentary toggle for start.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:56 AM   #11
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On ours the key just enables the start and stop buttons. I think it would be easy enough to buypass the keys. Besides who is going to steal a boat that has a top speed of 17 knots?
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:01 PM   #12
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True story, if you can believe a broker.


Several years ago our broker came to work one morning and noticed an open door on one the boats they had for sale. Their normal practice was to lock all the boats at the end of the business day, so he went down to the the slip to check things out. Inside he found a homeless man passed out on the settee with a bottle of booze standing on the table next to him. The broker turned around, went back to the office, and called 911.



The operator instructed him not to intervene and to stay in the office and wait. The police arrived just as the man was exiting the boat with the bottle of booze in one hand and a TV he had lifted from the boat under his other arm. A very short chase ensued and the man was apprehended. Turns out he had an arrest warrant out on him for similar crimes.


In the end a relatively harmless incident but one I'd prefer to avoid. My slip is on a dock that is open to the public 24/7. I'll be keeping my doors locked.
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:37 PM   #13
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Wow, I just checked the key IS removable from the dash! If someone ever took the key out of the lock, Iíd have to YouTube to start my boat. 😀

Keys and locks maybe slow down the criminal.

I have had 2 B&Eís, first a very secure business, lots of damage, repairs cost more the product stolen. second an unlocked home front door lost a 5 year old TV.... no damage (besides the creepy feeling)

Hope I didnít jinx myself... if any bad guys are reading my boat is in óó Hawaii 😉
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:16 PM   #14
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The ignition key is left in all the time. We do lock the boat, but we keep a door key in the cockpit shower just in case we forget our key. We keep our boat in a reasonably secure marina in a relatively low crime harbor. In all my years on the water, I've never had anything stolen from any of my boats.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:29 PM   #15
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So for all you guys with unlocked boats and keys in the ingition...... Do you happen to have a fuel dock where you run a tab ?? Asking for a friend...
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:00 PM   #16
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We dock our boat at our house but our marina does run a tab for us and will send out a bill usually in a month or 2. However they do know us so unless you look like me, and Iím sure you donít want to, they wonít put your fuel on our tab.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:13 PM   #17
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One bit of advice, never walk along the marina or step across the water to your boat keys in hand.
No, I didn`t drop mine in the water, but I did drop my car keys down the gap between elevator floor and elevator shaft while heading to my car in a hotel while working out of town. Cost $300 for the mechanic call out to retrieve them. It`s keys in pocket boarding the boat.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:46 PM   #18
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One bit of advice, never walk along the marina or step across the water to your boat keys in hand.
No, I didn`t drop mine in the water, but I did drop my car keys down the gap between elevator floor and elevator shaft while heading to my car in a hotel while working out of town. Cost $300 for the mechanic call out to retrieve them. It`s keys in pocket boarding the boat.

Yeah, my son was holding my set of car keys when were were going to leave the boat. He dropped them in the cockpit and we all watched them slide into the corner and out the scupper into the water. :-(
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:03 PM   #19
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Everything floats, it either floats on top of the water or it floats on bottom of the water. Unfortunately keys usually float on the bottom of the water...
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:59 PM   #20
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I dropped my boat keys into the gap between dock and boathouse as I was unlocking the door. To my utter amazement, the keys attached to a foam key float sank in the water.

Hmm....... boat key, boathouse key, gate key. Too much weight.

I tested the new keys and float in a tub of seawater - one key too many for the float!
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