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Old 28 May 2019, 01:54   #1
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Anti-Theft Measures

Yesterday I caught four youths red handed around my RIB while it was moored when we had a pub lunch on the Trent downstream of Stoke lock. One was actually on the boat trying to work out how to get the engine running and had the nerve to ask if it needed a key to start! Although they were opportunist amateurs that could never have pulled the theft off for long, this unsettling incident led me to think of some changes I will make to reduce the risk of upset or an insurance claim in the future. In no particular order:

1. Remove oars. I'm going to remove the one piece oars velcro'd to the inside of the tubes. Will store a kayak paddle which splits in two in the centre console out of sight.

2. Remove instruments. I have a Garmin plotter and sonar which are quick release. I will now take them with me in a rucksack.

3. Move anchor. Previously I used an anchor and rope bucket bungee'd behind the seat. I will now use the anchor locker for its intended purpose and there is a triangular fitted cushion that hides that the door to it.

4. Fit tracker. I'm already using a Rewire Security gps tracker for the car. These are sealed and not plastic or unreliable like the cheap crappy Chinese made Xexun based devices I tried in the past and they even work through a steel car bonnet. I buy the sim free £5/month subscription only for the individual months I need. I will fit it out of reach behind the gauges in the console. Rather than use the ignition or motion sensor (lol) I will set geofence and speed alarms to alert my mobile phone.

5. New battery isolator. I found a different isolator switch on Amazon (with the same mounting hole centres) that has a removable handle. Nobody makes a locking version but this is as good.

6. Leave the engine tilted and out of water. This will necessitate the thief to spend valuable time getting the 12v sorted. My engine is batteryless EFI, electric start with a backup pull-cord. Mercury's kill switch system is a simple toggle switch so they wouldn't have needed a kill cord or the 12v, just to have screwdrivered the ignition switch.

7. Use a centre console cover. What a pain. But it will stop prying eyes and fingers. The thief will have to firmly commit without being able to work out in advance what he needs to do. Having a lockable seat would be nice but I haven't worked out how to do that yet. I'll fold and store the cover under the seat during travel instead of leaving it in the car boot.

8. Handheld vhf. I would have radio'd the lock keepers or coastguard and alerted other river or sea users of the theft while also calling the police. Or someone else could phone on my behalf.

9. Cable lock. I have a couple of 'Python' locks (3m & 5m long) that can be joined together as needed or used individually to secure the engine to pontoon or other immovable object. I previously used them for securing our cycles, they are easy to use and don't scratch. An opportunist thief will not be carrying bolt cutters. A smaller cable lock will secure the fuel tank to the engine or transom and I'll pull the fuel pipe slightly so it looks connected but isn't. I decided against locking the steering wheel but this is a further option.

10. Periodic checks. Leaving the boat unattended and floating overnight is asking for trouble so I would never do that. However I will no longer be as dismissive of risks because of the additional effort. I'll do a risk assessment and make regular checks accordingly, can't rely on others to confront these scumbags of their own initiative.

11. Buy a C&RT Index number and stencil it to one of the tubes. I did this with my last boat and it is transferred to the new owner like a car registration. Cost is £25 but free if you buy a long term license.

I already use a decent wheelclamp for my trailer and leave the lighting board in the car. Another advantage of having a RIB over a SIB is the thief needs to quickly find a slipway and trailer, not easy to do on the Trent so they could only have caused me heartache and inconvenience. Norfolk Broads or open sea and they would hide it until such time it could be recovered (but with a tracker I would be there first).

I hope these practical steps will benefit others on the forum, please let me know your thoughts or if I missed something?
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Old 28 May 2019, 04:44   #2
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I've experienced actual large item theft just once in my life and it or a close call does make you over-sensitive for a while after. So my thoughts...

This might have just been lads mucking about... or they could have been stage one of a group after your outboard with a van just one mile down the river at the wooded area on the quiet road where the river bends.

1. I think the potential use to you of oars is greater than the need to remove them... after all they could still tow your RIB away with a 2.5m SIB with small motor. If you have to go to paddles at least have two.

2. Yep my Garmin plotter clips out and I always take it.

3. I might do this to tidy up but not to stop theft.

4. Can't be a bad idea.

5. Again a reasonable idea.

6. Would slow down a drive away.

7. For overnight perhaps but a bit of a faff just for lunch.

8. I'd always have a handheld if my main set was fixed.

9. I'm a bit old school where locking a boat to anything other than your own private pontoon is frowned on. I use a security cable if I leave a tank on the SIB overnight... not for lunch though but I will do as you mention with the fuel conn over a lunch stop.

10. Well it's exceptionally rare for me to leave afloat overnight but if the operational advantages outweighs any risk I will. Re lunch stops it's nice to have the boat in view but if not I might give it a look hourly.

11. I wouldn't bother. Most likely only the outboard and any kit they can take like plotter etc that's of interest. Often the RIB/SIB itself is left behind.

Re them needing a slip and trailer same comment applies... thieves would be happy with just the outboard.

Overall just take a few steps but not to excess... make sure insurance covers whole outfit/kit up to value and for circumstances you're using it in... then just relax and use it!
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Old 28 May 2019, 06:16   #3
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Thats sounds like a huge amount of hassle for lunch. I'd either be taking sarnies with me or not bother taking the boat to dodgy places.

I'm with Fenlander on point 9 (and most of the others).

If they are smart enough to bypass/break the ignition then they'll probably get passed your new battery isolator. Depending where it is, leaving your engine up may make it vulnerable to damage (or damaging others) - or you'll have more hassle of rigging springs etc to stop in bouncing into anything.

Anywhere I'd be happy leaving the boat out of sight, I'd be happy leaving moderate valuables in a locked seat. Post some pics - someone will have locked something similar.

I assume your engine is visibly locked to the transom? (I suspect the best bit of security on mine is actually the bright red cover on the bolt that makes it obvious it has a lock rather than the security of the lock itself).

You have three different types of thief:

Joy riders, Opportunists, Professionals.

You'll never beat the latter, but they probably won't be looking at boats tied up for lunch as they have a plan and often nick to order. Opportunists probably don't want a whole boat as its too complicated to recover, move, sell on etc. They would like a man portable engine (yours is getting a bit beefy for that) ideally that just lifts off with no bolts, cables etc. They'd love your electronics! The joy rider is probably who you faced - no plans to keep it just to play in it and probably dump it somewhere stupid (possibly after hitting the bottom!). Have you considered just fitting an alarm (I guess like a shed alarm) so if they open a door to get to battery isolator it sounds a very audible alarm, alerting you?

There is another type - basically the vandal or the malicious untier. Who just casts your boat adrift, or slashes tubes/seats. You'll never beat them all.
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Old 28 May 2019, 06:39   #4
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Did you report it to the police ? If you did , what was their response ? I'm not suggesting that you might " take on " four yobs on your own ( I certainly wouldn't ) , but I would certainly report it !
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Old 31 May 2019, 00:14   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bern Hanreck View Post
Did you report it to the police ? If you did , what was their response ? I'm not suggesting that you might " take on " four yobs on your own ( I certainly wouldn't ) , but I would certainly report it !
I am afraid the police will have little interest in this sort of thing nowadays

I also think a lot of the suggestions are well over the top for a lunch stop
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Old 31 May 2019, 03:05   #6
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Here is what the scroats are thinking:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Limecc View Post
1. Remove oars.
Aw cr@p we got the boat started and now its stopped and we are drifting towards something that will damage it. Shame there are no oars.

No self respecting thief went to a lot of physical effort to nick a boat. paddling a RIB is way to hard work!

Quote:
2. Remove instruments. ... I will now take them with me in a rucksack.
Those instruments must be worth something - he takes them off the boat. Lets mug him for the rucksack.

Quote:
3. Move anchor.
Previously: "Scruffy boat with gear all over - probably nick that shiny tidy one next to it". Now: "Oooh shiny tidy boat lets nick it"

Quote:
4. Fit tracker.
Ooh he thinks this boat is worth tracking. That means its worth nicking. Lets just place this tracker on the pontoon.

Quote:
5. New battery isolator.
This may well be enough to defeat a joy rider!
But...

[quote]
Leave the engine tilted and out of water.
... electric start with a backup pull-cord. Mercury's kill switch system is a simple toggle switch
[/quote
The wont notice the engine out the water till committed and will damage it to tilt it. "We'll just start with pull if need to." and
Its like they are inviting us to take it - its got a kill switch on it that we can switch off.

Quote:
7. Use a centre console cover.
He (a) looks after this boat - it must be worth something (b) I wonder whats under the cover.

Quote:
8. Handheld vhf.
He's spotted us... lets ram the boat onto those rocks and scarper.

Quote:
9. Cable lock.
Hand me the bolt cutters this boat must be the most valuable on the pontoon its the only one locked. ...

... Oh we don't have bolt cutters - lets stick the engine at full revs and see what breaks

Quote:
10. Periodic checks.
Look - he comes back every hour to check his boat. If we wait till next time he comes we should get an hour to nick it if we wait till just after he's gone...

Quote:
11. Buy a C&RT Index number and stencil it to one of the tubes.
I have no idea what this is. Perhaps he can use it to get the boat found when we beach it on the rocks.

Or - Sod it. The Eastern Europeans can put a patch over that to hide it when they flog it on.



I realise some of this is cyinical. Golden tip is to make the guy next to yours look more desirable/easier to nick. I do think things like trackers make sense if the value is worth it but am sceptical if they REALLY work to get boats back (anyone heard of a case?). I'd have it in the engine personally - as thats the bit most likely to disappear.

Did you ask the Youfs what they were doing?


Taking the KC and Key is probably enough to stop Joy riders. But does require that the KC is not a toggle switch! For anything else if you over secure yours you may just be saying "this is worth nicking"
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Old 31 May 2019, 03:08   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigplumbs View Post
I am afraid the police will have little interest in this sort of thing nowadays
I wouldn't expect them to come and finger print etc.
I would expect they will add it to their intelligence log.
When a boat goes missing next week after 4 guys were seen with it - your description might just help. Depending on busy-ness they may drop an extra patrol by now and then. They may come chat to people on the pontoon to say "be careful"
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Old 01 June 2019, 02:39   #8
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Thats sounds like a huge amount of hassle for lunch. I'd either be taking sarnies with me or not bother taking the boat to dodgy places.

If they are smart enough to bypass/break the ignition then they'll probably get past your new battery isolator.

You have three different types of thief:
Joy riders, Opportunists, Professionals.

Have you considered just fitting an alarm (I guess like a shed alarm) so if they open a door to get to battery isolator it sounds a very audible alarm, alerting you?
Each makes a risk assessment for him or herself. It was a family oriented rural pub and I wouldn't have expected the four guys I encountered. The boat could not be seen from the road. This was a wakeup call for me. I'm going to be vigilant in the future and if it ever did go wrong then I know that I did what I could and I won't be filled with whatifs or regrets.

It's not hard or need brains to drive a screwdriver into an ignition switch but the isolator would add many minutes and they would need to break out the non-existing toolbox.

Joyriders/opportunists = same thing?
I had an exchange with these scumsuckers before my wife told me to back off. The guy who was on the boat tried to start a conversation after asking about an ignition key, he asked me how much it was worth lol.
Another said he would have used the oars and boasted they could have taken it. This is probable. The river current would remove any hard work and take the boat downstream. I pointed out they wouldn't get through a lock without a license. He said he'd use his uncle's license and get it out at Fiskerton. This was our last exchange.

Great idea about the audible alarm, or it could be a silent one but I'd need a different version of the tracker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bern Hanreck View Post
Did you report it to the police ? If you did , what was their response ? I'm not suggesting that you might " take on " four yobs on your own ( I certainly wouldn't ) , but I would certainly report it !
Absolutely no point wasting my time. Bigplumbs is right. Old fashioned policing is dead. Maybe I should have reported it to the lock keepers though.
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Old 01 June 2019, 02:58   #9
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I assume (although Iím not going to try it on mine) that you can start the motor in the tilted position with the pull cord then get enough power to work the PTT all assuming you donít care about the impeller running out of water or the regulator going pop with no battery / load on it?
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Old 01 June 2019, 03:17   #10
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I am returning to the world of ribbing after a few years away, and have not yet got my boat in the water so please bear with me.

When the engine is rasied, isn't there a gap in the hinge between the saddle and the transom clamp? If so could we not put a chain thru that gap and lock it preventing the engine from going down?

Easy to fit and difficult and noisy to cut thru if the boat is just left on a pontoon for lunch.

Just a thought, and another easy to deploy layer.
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