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post #1 of 89 Old 02-12-2015 Thread Starter
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Dinghy theft protection

Let's hear how you keep your dinghy from being stolen. Let's not talk about how to prevent components, such as the motor or the pfds, but how do you keep someone from pulling the cord and motoring away with the whole thing!!

I've rarely seen someone put a cable to the dock, but I suppose that could be reasonable. However, I laugh when I see it run through a canvas or plastic handhold on the dinghy. I quick swipe of a knife and it's free. You come back to only find your cable securely fastened to the dock, but the dink is gone.

Extra points for ideas that do not require you to take anything (other than a key) to shore with you, such as bringing your fuel line with you.


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Re: Dinghy theft protection

Somewhat related to another recent thread, don't leave anything especially tempting in the dinghy if you don't want to lose it (inflatable collar PFDs, eg.) We take the safety toggle with us if the motor's on. In a sketchy area we will use a cable and a lock, but with a rollup that's not particularly strong security as you say. With our newer RIB we cable around the welded transom gusset..

In the Caribbean we did cable-lock the dinghy to the transom at night, and to a pier, tree, or other available strong point when ashore, and on one occasion hired a local 'boat boy' for a couple of dollars to keep an eye on it.

At the end of the day, though, most locks generally keep the honest folks from temptation, a seriously dedicated thief can often find a way around whatever you use.

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post #3 of 89 Old 02-12-2015
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Re: Dinghy theft protection

Down here in the Eastern Caribbean, there is no fool proof way to prevent a dink from getting stolen. If someone wants a dinghy, they will have wire or bolt cutters with them and that's that. Even stainless steel chain is hasta la bye bye with big enough bolt cutters, in just a few seconds.
Leaving it in the water off the back of the boat at night, is just plain asking to have it stolen, security cable/chain or not.
Most people steal a dink down here for the motor. Yamaha is the motor of choice as parts and service are everywhere. Very few thieves want a troublesome motor like a Mercury, Suzuki, Honda or Tohatsu. My Johnson isn't even made any longer, so that helps, too. These thieves aren't stupid.
I wish I knew a fool proof security measure on this one, but I don't. My plan when I must replace my Johnson, is to get a Yamaha and have it repainted and get decals made that label it as a Chinese motor. Perhaps that will help?

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Re: Dinghy theft protection

Paint your motor hot pink. Have the ugliest dinghy at the dock. Thieves like the shiny pennies.


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Re: Dinghy theft protection

I used to leave my girlfriend in the dink. One look at the frothing mouth, glazed demonic eyes and shards of my back still adhearing to her fingernails in infected black oozing strips, should have been enough to scare any theif. Until one day I returned to the dock to see nothing except a bloodied and crumpled pice of paper saying: "Send Photo of Boat and Motor".




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Re: Dinghy theft protection

Not sure where you have sailed but in the USA we generally did not have an issue but still we did use a stainless steel cable with a strong lock. But if someone wants your dink they will take it.

We painted our brand new merc 5 hp 2 stroke bright yellow on the outside, shank, and then we took off the cowing and painted it yellow inside as well.

Then again as above they really do not want the dink they want the motor. 5hp is not really desirable as usable on the islands but they will move it either inter or intra island to sell it to someone else; like a cruiser who had their dink stolen.

The only place really pulled our dink out of the water was in St Martins where they were stealing one dink a day while we were there regardless of the motor. Unfortunately the police caught a couple of them thiefs and they were young kids and released them to their parents. Problem is the kids went right back to stealing as there were working for others who would give them a few bucks for the theft.

Just our thoughts and opinion
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Re: Dinghy theft protection

I didn't really have location in mind, understanding that the likelihood your dink is stolen is highly variable.

I'm also focused on the idea of it being at the dock, rather than at your boat. Pulling it up on davits is an easy solution aboard. At the dock is trickier. Especially a busy dock, where you are tied off three deep and all need to be relocated to let the trapped out.

My theory of dinghy theft protection is like the story about being chased by the bear. You don't have to outrun the bear, you have to outrun your friend. I think you just have to be a less attractive or more difficult a target, so someone else's dink is taken instead.

Currently, ours requires a key, because we have a center console. I'm sure it could be hot wired, but I'm also sure that AB next to us, with the brand new 20hp tillered Yamaha that can simply be started with a pulll, will go first.

I actually started this thread, because I'm hoping to trade our current dink for that AB/Yamaha setup.

One trick I like, is to open the cowling and unplug a spark plug wire. Or take it with you. A thief is very unlikely to troubleshoot, if they can't get it started in a few pulls.


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post #8 of 89 Old 02-13-2015
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Re: Dinghy theft protection

My main strategy with the dingy and my boat is, my neighbor has something better then I have to steal, why would they take my old stuff. But I put a 3/4" nut and bolt thru thru transom and drilled a hole thru the bolt big enough to except a padlock. Then I use a coiled bike plastic covered cable with loops on the end. Feed the cable thru a dock cleat ands one end of the cable thru one loop and pull thru, then padlock the other loop to the bolt. The cable coil works nicely and a spring line when I attach the painter to my sailboat.

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Re: Dinghy theft protection

I've seen cables padlocked to the dock, albeit not frequently. I assume there is some frequency of spraying them with WD40 so they work.

In the summer, its not uncommon to pull up to a dinghy dock that is two or even three dinghies deep. Stretching a cable that far, let alone across other dinghies, would make me anxious.


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post #10 of 89 Old 02-13-2015
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Re: Dinghy theft protection

As mentioned they will always go after the pretty girl first. I like the repaint your motor a ridiculous color and have Chinese decals made up. Buy an older raft, rub dirt on it and stick a couple of big colorful patches on it. Wha La worthless to a thief.
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