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Old 16-11-2014, 18:53   #1
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Location: Home port is San Diego, California but currently cruising the Caribbean.
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Key Switch for Outboard?

My wife and I are preparing for our crossing of the Indian Ocean and we've heard numerous reports of outboard thefts in quite a few of the ports we'll be visiting. Because we just purchased a new 2-stroke Yamaha 15hp (with the dubious distinction of being the most-stolen outboard), I'm thinking about adding an on-off key switch. Granted, it wouldn't take someone with a basic knowledge of ignition systems very long to bypass the switch but it might add a level of deterrent for not too much of a cost.

I have searched - but haven't found - an appropriate waterproof switch. Ideally, it would be made of brass or stainless steel and would retain the key when in the 'on' position.

The outboard will be double locked onto the transom of the dinghy and I have a cable to lock the dinghy to a fixed point on a dock or beach. Regardless, we expect that in some of the more remote places, our dinghy will be vulnerable to someone just hopping in and taking off. The emergency stop button is too easy to override and isn't a satisfactory theft deterrent.

There are two holes in the front of our outboard that would be the perfect location for a key switch so there wouldn't be any need to drill.

Has anyone done this? Any ideas would be appreciated.

Fair winds and calm seas.

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Old 16-11-2014, 20:35   #2

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Location: Boat is on the Rio Dulce
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Re: Key Switch for Outboard?

No problem. Almost any marine supply will have a key switch. If you are savvy, splice into the ignition circuit. If not savvy, you will need a savvy person or a wire diagram.

P.S. It would only slow me down about a minute. Go for a mount lock.

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Old 16-11-2014, 20:37   #3
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Re: Key Switch for Outboard?

To deter joy ride type theft, you could simply remove the fuel line and take it with you.

And in this day of inexpensive battery powered "Sawzall" tools, locking the clamp screws simply means that they will saw out your transom ( this was even happening in Baja nearly thirty years ago, only it seemed to be chain saws in use then!).'

Oh... s/s cable, unless awkwardly large in diameter, is easy to cut with tools that can be carried in your pocket. H/T chain, even in small link sizes, is harder to cut.

Dinks are really hard to protect from thieves or malicious vandals. All of the things that you suggest will help, but I fear that none will be effective against the professional thief. And I hate that!

Jim and Ann
s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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Old 18-11-2014, 16:32   #4
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Re: Key Switch for Outboard?

just disconnect an ignition wire or hide a disable switch
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