Aren't boats too easy to steal? - SailNet Community

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Old 09-18-2013
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Aren't boats too easy to steal?

Why doesn't it happen more often. I was reading about a 22 year old drug crazed man in seattle stole a boat and started ramming things. So what's to prevent your boat being stripped or stolen? I had some blocks on mine that were $175 a piece and could be removed in about 10 seconds. The outboard? Those are just sitting there waiting to be lifted. The whole boat could be stolen without even having to pick a lock or break a window. do inboards even have keys? i think its like just a button! I can't think of any other hobby where we just leave our stuff sitting around unattended. Is this really safe

People just leave there $10000 dinghy tied anywhere. I wouldn't just set my bicycle on the dock and leave for a night or a week. It would not still be there. So why does this awesome and magical sailing world remain so safe?
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Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Aren't boats too easy to steal?

Partly we rely on the ignorance of landlubbers about how boat things work; some of them are even afraid to walk out on a marina pier... it must be terribly dangerous, see there are no hand rails beyond the gangway.

And, our marina manager is an ex-cop with a concealed carry license and a bit of attitude.

(But don't let this descend into a g - you - know - what thread.)
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Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Aren't boats too easy to steal?

BoatUS insurance had statistics on boat thefts in Florida a while back in one of their pubs. Sailboats thefts were pretty rare.

I think it's because thieves look at power boats and think you can drive them like a car. They look at sail boats and are mystified. Sail boats also don't make very good drug running boats.

When I had a daysailer I ran a cable lock through the outboard. You need a key to start my boat and I have a combination lock on my hatch. The biggest risk is someone taking the electronics from the binnacle.
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Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Aren't boats too easy to steal?

Well, my outboard has a lock...
Also unlike a lot of you folks, I ONLY have forward gear (boat is bow in)... you'd have to know to spin the outboard around to do reverse.
On top of that, I'm on a lake... you arent' going real far.
Let's assume you steal a sailboat, it has an inboard, and say 30 gallons of fuel.
You'll be able to go far, but not real fast.

It's why thieves if they steal a boat they usually opt for a powerboat. Low speed chases usually don't end well for crooks.
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Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Aren't boats too easy to steal?

Remember the old days with cars? I did a demonstration once, for a legitimate job, and had to be taught to steal a car within 5 minutes and then steal the car within 30 seconds. It took me 17 seconds to steal the car. (included the steering lock)

It wasnt too many years after that that insurance companies started to lean on vehicle manufacturers to tighten security.

Right now your cheapest Korean rice-bubble-on-wheels has a better security system than any sailing boat!

But just because its not offered in the showroom doesn't mean you can't beef up security yourself

Some dont cost much at all!

I use this when I am onboard at night. The murders on board during the time I have been cruising all occured on boats unsecured... intruders get on board and walk below, or the owner comes out himself.
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Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Aren't boats too easy to steal?

That is a question I consider from time to time. Our Marshall Catboat is moored in a "vulnerable" location. It is not a busy place and there are not lots of eyes around. Perhaps that is a plus?? It is a 15' Sandpiper. 20K for a new one. 2K for the 4 stroke Honda. That would buy some drugs for a low life looking to score. The gas tank is under the deck and it starts on the first pull. The oars live in the dinghy at the dinghy dock.

Maine is a fairly safe place. I have lived here since 1976 and never locked the door to the house or the cars. It has been secure but I admit to thinking about it more these past few years.

Having friends who know our boats helps. The Lobster men are protective of theirs and others property. Both the I-28 and the Marshall are not common boats around here so disposing of them would be a problem. Not so much for the Honda or the electronics.

Perhaps a "slack" chain on the mooring that gets locked to a fitting on the boat so that just dropping a mooring line doesn't free the boat? That could discourage the "opportunistic" thief. A "lowjack" like bit of technology that called me if the boats location changed. If the bilge pump in the catboat can sense water resistance and rest between tests a "lowjack" type device with gps capability could let me know if the boats left their moorings for any reason. It seems like there is a device that does that for a flooding bilge?


Islander-28, Marshall Sandpiper
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Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Aren't boats too easy to steal?


Thread title reminded me that I left my ign key hangin' in the switch!
No worries, as there's lotsa folks about that keep an eye on our little marina
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Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Aren't boats too easy to steal?

The answer is - YES boats are easy to steal. Maybe there just isn't a big enough demand for stolen boat stuff to make it a worthwhile market for the thieves.

whisphering now to you thieves - I could use a Sprint Atlantic windlass. You can find them on larger Hunters built around 2000
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Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Aren't boats too easy to steal?

Here on Lake Champlain I've never heard of a boat theft, although I imagine maybe a few dinghies have gone missing over the years. The key to my inboard on my sailboat has not left the ignition in the cockpit since I bought the boat over a year ago. Wouldn't want to lose the key!
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Old 09-18-2013
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Aren't boats too easy to steal?

The ignition key isn't much security. I believe that almost all Yanmars use the same key. Honestly, I can't think of anyplace but boats where people leave something that can easily cost $100,000 plus secured by nothing more than a rope that can be untied. I guess horses also.
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