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QuickMick 07-15-2010 04:26 PM

how tight do you lock it up
its north texas. its hot. im usually off my boat from 8 or 9ish to 4 or 6ish on weekdays. there are boats much nicer than mine around me, the gate is keyed and there is 24 hour security and i know everyone at the marina (except all the office people...for some reason i dont like the office--they always give me a bill. lol).

when i am gone during hot days i leave all hatches and companionway open and am wondering if im an idiot. some random miscreant launched from a boat ramp could drop by and help himself to laptop, gps, vhfs, stereo, sextant etc etc etc.

even someone who walked through a gate that was left open may opt for the theft of convienience rather than break into a much nicer boat that is secure.

soooo, im wondering how tightly do you all button it up when planning to be gone for a few hours? i guess i kinda think that if someone wants in, they are gonna get in... i could stow all super essential gear in my ditch bag and hump it up and down the hill but thats a pain. lock it up, then she's a cooker when i get home...
thoughts appreciated,

sailingdog 07-15-2010 04:49 PM

Leaving your hatches and such open is just asking to get ripped off. Most thieves are not professionals, but opportunists... and you're providing a lot of opportunity. It would be pretty simple for a guest on a transient boat or another boat at the marina to clean your boat out. The laptop, sextant, GPS, and such are all pretty readily resellable and all they'd need is duffel bag or sail bag to walk off with all of it. Unless your marina has good video surveillance, you might not even have any idea of who ripped you off.

Adding proper ventilation will help with the temperatures of the boat. Two solar-powered fans would drop the interior of the boat to pretty reasonable temperatures—with one as an intake and one as an exhaust. This would allow you to leave the hatches and companionway locked.

As i said earlier, most thieves are opportunists...and there is really no way to stop the truly determined thief. The best you can hope to do is stop the opportunistic ones by making your boat a less convenient target than your neighbors. If someone is really determined to steal your stuff, they'll steal the whole boat and then take the stuff off at their leisure, scuttling or abandoning the boat once their done. Most fiberglass boats can be broken into using basic hand tools...a crowbar or a fireaxe would do the job... but most thieves don't carry such tools—so putting a basic padlock on the companionway will deter most of them.

mpickering 07-15-2010 04:57 PM

I lock my boat tight. Hatches dogged down, companionway locked, small passive vents for air, all exterior lockers locked. My marina lacks gates and any degree of full time security. A fellow there provides part-time lookout and we rely mainly on the fact he is always there and knows who's boats belong to whom and the faces that go with them.

An opportunistic thief could take a grab at my solar panels by cutting the wires but that's about it. Unless they can gain access below by cutting a lock free to grab my electronics and assorted hardware, they'll probably move on to the next boat. They'd honestly have more opportunity and greater privacy in the brokerage area.

All my stuff is insured anyway in the event of my boat being broken into or an enterprising scumbag breaking my locks free on the outboard and hoisting it away. I don't want the hassle and agony of dealing with a theft but I have coverage should it happen.


sailingdog 07-15-2010 10:22 PM

I hope the cops filed charges against the pawn shop... for receiving stolen property.... intentionally altering the serial number in the database is also against the law... and if the pawn shop was willing to do that, they're likely a fence for stolen goods on a regular basis.


Originally Posted by moonie5961 (Post 623078)
I kept my old Catalina 22 at Scott's Landing on lake Grapevine when I was younger, I had a nice outboard-probably worth more than the boat-which was stolen off of the stern. It wound up in a local pawn shop. A very nice detective did some real police work to track it down, and I eventually got it back. I had my outboard locked up with a pretty beefy OB lock... but like others have said-and to borrow an old adage from my gramps- Even a lock will only keep the honest thieves out. Don't tempt fate.

In the case of my outboard, the thieves had the pawn shop enter the serial number a few digits off, to throw police off the track. Apparently, pawn shops are required to submit serial #'s in a database to check for stolen merchandise. The great detective handling my case noticed the similar description and slightly altered number and did some foot work. I was so happy, I was really impressed. It's nice to find public servants who still care.

Anyway, my point is- thieves on the area lakes do exist, and they will not hesitate to help themselves to the goods!

txmatt 07-15-2010 11:04 PM

I have heard of a boat being broken into in my marina by means of breaking the companionway boards. This was in order to steal a bottle or two of booze. I don't lock my boat, but I also don't keep anything in there I couldn't stand to lose.

bljones 07-15-2010 11:10 PM

I like to think I have weighed the risks and think i have found a viable compromise between being prudent and living scared. If the weather's clear and i am not going to be gone over night, I leave her open. Here's my thinking:
1. My slip location works in my favour- we are a LONG way out on a LONG dock (roughly 1/8th mile from shore) so the average thief is not making a quick getaway.

2. Relations among my dock neighbours are good- we watch out for each other and watch out for strangers on the dock.

3a. All of the easily removable, mildly valuable items on our boat are marked with my DL number, the boat name and the boat number. Some one can take 'em, I'll just get 'em back.

3b. All of the easily removable, mildly valuable items on our boat are documented at home with serial numbers, photos and warranty cards kept in the firebox. I can prove it's mine, so I get it back, or the insurance company gets me a replacement.

4. My valuable stuff really isn't all that valuable, and locking my boat will simply cause a thief to do more damage getting in than the stolen goods are worth. It's the same reason i don't lock a convertible. Why risk getting a $900 top slashed to protect a $200 GPS and a $150 stereo?

5. Reverse psychology. Make the would-be criminal genius ponder the possibilities. "If it ain't locked, the dude must have nothing to steal... or all the stuff in the boat is already stolen.... or the dude is in there, ready to blast me with a shotgun... or maybe he's a serial killer looking for another victim..."

6. An admittedly optimistic view of the world. I believe that people are fundamentally and generally good. I don't believe that crime is on the rise, and that I am about to be victimized at any moment. Yeah, i understand the world is not perfect, and bad things happen, but I temper my situational awareness with a dose of faith, because I don't want to start to descend down that slope of suspicion and paranoia and fear that leads one to live scared.

Classic30 07-15-2010 11:17 PM


Originally Posted by txmatt (Post 623103)
.... I don't lock my boat, but I also don't keep anything in there I couldn't stand to lose.

There's some good advice right there.

FWIW, we have a full-length stem-to-stern boat cover that hangs off the boom and is held down by s-hooks and lead rope. Since (pointed out already) thieves tend to be opportunistic (and often a bit thick) if they can't work out how to physically get on board, hopefully they'll give up and go home.

Sure, the cover might be a pain to get on and off, but it does keep the brightwork bright and the bird-poo off the deck.. ;)

bljones 07-15-2010 11:52 PM

moonie, you make a good point about perps skedaddling by boat. I pondered that very possibility myself, and then continued pondering. In fact, why worry about them escaping in their own boat, when, since they have broken in, they could steal MINE?
Or, they could arrive by helicopter!
Hell, a truly determined thief could swim across the fairway from the gas dock and plunder me asunder!

No matter what i do, i am not going to be able to build an inpregnable floating fortress of solitude, so i simply decided to find that balance, for ME, of acceptable risk. Your risk level may vary.

Omatako 07-16-2010 03:50 AM

I have three small hatches in my boat, one into each head and one over the galley. They are too small for anyone other than a very small child to get in. Leaving these open along with two Dorades keeps air circulating quite well.

Before we go off cruising I intend to make a stout stainless grid that fits into the wash-board slots so that we can leave that open too.

I find the biggest problem with leaving anything open on deck especially in the tropics is that it can rain torrents within a moments notice and if you're not on board . . . . . .

We met some people in San Diego with a magnificent Passport 47 who were in the islands and were at a pub ashore, left all their deck hatches open to combat the heat because they could see the boat from the restaurant. And then a deluge came and all they could do was sit and watch as their boat got drenched down below.

tomwatt 07-16-2010 05:49 AM

Thieves, while often slick, are not always very smart. A friend of mine had his convertible top slashed by thieves who took his stereo... however, the vehicle wasn't even locked.
And a recent eBay listing featured a recent new boat owner reselling the boat because it had been stripped, winches, rigging and all, between the time he bought it and went to have it moved.

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