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Old 30-12-2006, 20:40   #1
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Dinghy theft!

Celestialsailor's comments on the Porta Bote thread brings up a good point. Sometimes the difference between having a dinghy to come back too, and having it stolen, is a matter of having the least desirable looking one of the bunch.

As I get ready to head out, my question then is what can I do to maintain possession my dinghy? Chain, steel cable, massive hulking locks? There must be some cruisers on the forum with a few tricks to foil the bad guys. Care to share? Or maybe share a story on how you lost yours, and what you would do different next time?

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Old 30-12-2006, 20:58   #2
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IMHO dinghy theft is for the outboard not the dinghy. When I was cruising 20 years ago it was very rare and even then often recovered (joy riding). the thing was that then most boats had small outboards < 5HP. Today I think that the bigger engines are more attractive to theives. I think that the three things I would recommend woudl be to 1) use a small outboard 2) paint it with a distinctive paint job, and 3) make sure that your dinghy is the hardest one to steal (or at least no the easiest) lift it out of the water at night

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Old 30-12-2006, 21:43   #3
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Agree with the above posters.

The most desirable dinks are probably the brand new hard bottom APEX or AVON inflatable (RIB) with a 15 HP four stroke Yamaha. A good rig that sells for $6K at the dinghy store, all included.

Back in the days when I was crusing 20 years ago I had a 9 foot Dyer Dhow sailing dink with a 2 HP Yamaha.
Fancy little ship it was, and with dink theft high in St. Thomas and St. Croix, I painted the inside bright yellow.
If the thing was stolen I would just rent a small plane for $40.00 per hour and fly circles around the island looking for a bright yellow dink.

Never had to do it as nobody would steel a bright yellow dink, but other guys hired me to fly around looking for their stolen tenders.

Nowadays I have a 9.3 AVON Redcrest soft-botton rubber boat with a 4HP Evinrude. (10 years old)
The boat and the engine looks beat and worn. (Pretty much like the owner)
The total value is probably $700.00 so I took the rig of my boat insurance poiicy.
(High deductible...50%)
Also have registration letters/numbers painted on the rubber, both sides. FL 33315, big letters..

Not much of a desirable target for thieves, and have not had any problems with theft.

Would like to have a fancy high speed dink, but the bad guys have the same idea.
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Old 31-12-2006, 06:51   #4
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Stands to reason that the better the dink the more desireable it'll be to the dinghy thief. In my cruising grounds (East Coast/Bahamas) the most popular dink is an AB or Caribe RIB with a 15 hp Yamaha 2 stroke. I don't clean my dink and don't care if the engine cover gets scratches on it. I lock it in the US, and in Nassau. For locking I use a long length of lifeline and a combination lock. Last year there were a few dinghy thefts in the Miami anchorages. The thieves had one guy in scuba gear who snuck up to the anchored boat and cut the lines and then dragged the dink towards a waiting small power boat. One of the cruisers saw a dink drifting upwind and sounded the alarm. The thieves were chased by a cruiser in his dink but when they pulled a gun he backed off. The guys were not caught. After that most cruisers hauled their dinks, this is the best defence. I usually haul mine in Nassau. Davits or an arch is the answer on anchor, hoping there's one easier to steal than yours is the answer ashore.
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Old 01-01-2007, 11:23   #5
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I'm with Charlie on this one. Nowadays, it is the outboard, not the dink itself that these guy's want. If at all possible, find a spare (preferibly used) engine cover and paint it or abuse it, to look very bad. It might detour the theft if it looks really beat up. When it comes time to sell it, just replace the beat up cover with the original (new looking) one. I currently have a 7.5' Livingston with a Tohatsu 6hp, 4 stroke. Both of these are very desirable. You can bet that I will use the main boom to haul it up to at least the lifelines. Another trick is to tie the painter line of the dink well inboard of your boat...say in the cockpit somewhere. Tie a couple of small bells to the line in the cockpit. If it is upset too much, perhaps a little jingle sound might wake you up...which is only proportional to the amount of rum you had the previous evening...Aloha
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"
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Old 01-01-2007, 11:57   #6
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While cruising Mexico we had an Avon 310 RIB with a 15hp Tohatsu.
Every night we attached the short painter to the tip of the bowsprit and with a 3 point harness (permanently attached inside the dink) and using the electric anchor windlass, we hauled it up to the lifelines with the main halyard. The reason we kept it so far forward was to keep the boat from heeling and, with a portside pullman berth, the dink was right outside our berth portlights. If anything were to happen we'd have an excellent chance of hearing it.

We never had a problem.
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Old 06-09-2007, 02:23   #7
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there are advantages in having an old worn out boat
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Old 06-09-2007, 02:47   #8
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If you have a section of flat bottom in the back of your dinghy, a screw in/out plastic inspection port is good.

When ashore take port out and chain motor through hole for protection, also hole in bottom deters theives.

On davits with torrentual rain it drains well, and when in a chop being down aft stops it getting pounded.

Have a spare port when using just in case.

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Old 06-09-2007, 10:39   #9
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Originally Posted by cat man do View Post

Have a spare port when using just in case.
Was this part of a learning curve?
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Old 12-09-2007, 15:16   #10
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Dinghy theft is rife in Australia--and if they can not steal it they will often slash it.
One chap I was speaking to has lost four over the years, and when he heard someone in the water sawing through the painter of his dinghy, the swine tried to stab him with the knife. Fortunately the owner had a winch handle in his fist at the time--and the thief elected to submerge and escaped that way. This was an alloy tinnie and there was no outboard on it at the time.

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