Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: South Florida
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I've never used a safe for what valuables I had on board. When it came to hiding important items, I tended to look for out of the way places to put them (and more important to me, to remember where I put them).
The first thing I'd do is make the boat as secure as possible. A strong set of washboards and a good lock, making sure the hatches are secured well below deck and that any portholes are tight. I'd also suggest getting some folks in the anchorage to keep an eye on the boat. One boat I cruised with took an extended shore side trip and paid one of the kids on a nearby boat a few dollars a day to lounge around, check the basics, and make it look like someone was aboard rather than away.
Broadcasting your intentions will almost guarantee a visit by the two-legged critters you're trying to prevent looking around. You might consider how to store your tender. If it's tied off the back for days at a time, chances are you'll get a visit. If it's never around at night, chances are you'll get a visit or two. If the boat's dark at night then that may be an welcome sign to thieves.
But, if someone looks in through a hatch or port and sees cameras, computers, radios, and other items lying about, chances are no matter what steps you take, your chances of being visited by thieves is going to be higher.
I had an access panel under the pilot berth at the back that was large enough for the laptop. It was neither an obvious spot nor one you could easily get to. Another spot, behind the settee was a good location for my cameras, handhelds, and other "walkable" items. The hidey spot was behind and below a crate of canned food.
I know of folks who stored valuables behind the rudder quadrant, in the engine room, in the chain locker, and in some innovative spots. You might do some looking around for places like that.
My biggest concern is that if thieves find the vault, they'll do far more damage getting the box out (and possibly sinking the boat) than the inconvenience and aggravation of replacing the missing items.
Capt. Douglas Abbott
USCG/MCA IV/C.I./M.I. 500-ton Oceans
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