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Old 19-08-2013, 16:10   #1
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Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

Hi everyone,

Looking for collective wisdom and experience on how to lock up a dinghy as effectively as possible. My observation is that vinyl coated cable with eyes and a padlock is most common. I recall someone writing somewhere that they thought using chain was better.

I know that no locking system is going to defeat a determined thief, but I'm interested in what's worked to deter a less determined, opportunistic thief.

I searched the forum but couldn't find much specific advice on this topic.

Thanks!
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Old 19-08-2013, 16:13   #2
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

Whichever you choose - make sure you provide enough length to distance your dingy from the dock. Otherwise your going to piss people off 'cause they can't get in with their own dingy. Also, securing your dingy lengthwise, secured bow and stern is a big NO NO!

Cable is probably best since the chain can damage yours and other dingies/boats.

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Old 19-08-2013, 16:18   #3
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

I have seen pretty much everything easily cut through by simple bolt cutters - they will go through 1/2" chain like butter. I'm sure there are materials that are more difficult to cut, but they certainly aren't easy to get out cruising.

The cable and lock is only to deter the opportunistic thieves. For this, it really doesn't matter if you use cable or chain. Any thief determined to have a new dinghy or engine is going to be prepared for anything you could reasonably use to secure it.

Best is to pay attention where you leave your dinghy and secure it on board when on the boat.

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Old 19-08-2013, 16:27   #4
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I think if you compare by weight then cable will win the coin toss. Of course us multi people are always thinking about the weight.
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Old 19-08-2013, 16:30   #5
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

I found the biggest problem came from those who needed to get to a boat while under the influence of alcohol. They would "borrow" anything convenient then abandon it.

So in Sydney I used to chain up my dinghies in the rack but I also drilled holes in all of my oars so that the chains would go through them as well. Once bitten, twice shy.

When I brought my outboard I was told that these are what thieves are really after so I use whatever additional security is available to keep it secure.

The other part is to make sure that the dinghy has the lowest possible value and still be useable. A brand new inflatable would make a tempting target.
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Old 19-08-2013, 16:40   #6
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

I always used cable. I second the idea of putting holes in the blades so that you run the cable through them also._____Grant.
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Old 19-08-2013, 16:44   #7
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

For me, the difference is that cutters capable of cutting 1/8 or 3/16 inch wire can easily be carried in ones pocket. Bolt cutters for, say, 5/16 inch chain are a bit too big to hide easily.

We've used 10 metres of 1/4 inch chain on our dinghy anchor or for locking up (dual purpose) for years and (touch wood) it has worked so far. Dinghy did get nicked once in Hobart when streamed by only its painter from our transom. Lesson learned...

Cheers,

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Old 19-08-2013, 16:52   #8
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

The most vulnerable part isn't the chain or cable ; it's the lock. I ran a self storage facility for a number of years and never meet a lock I couldn't cut easily! Finding a hardened lock that can stand up to a marine environment is going to be a chore but you need a lock with a thick shackle, hardened and stainless steel. Even then a set of four foot cutters can break the lock.
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Old 19-08-2013, 16:57   #9
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

1/8-3/16" wire is much smaller than cables I see in common use. The vinyl coated ones the OP asked about are usually >1/4" braided wire, which is tougher to cut through than cable.

I can get through 1/4" chain with an 18" cable cutter - pretty small and easily hidden.

Locks are the big problem, as noted.

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Old 19-08-2013, 16:57   #10
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinjrichter View Post
The most vulnerable part isn't the chain or cable ; it's the lock. I ran a self storage facility for a number of years and never meet a lock I couldn't cut easily! Finding a hardened lock that can stand up to a marine environment is going to be a chore but you need a lock with a thick shackle, hardened and stainless steel. Even then a set of four foot cutters can break the lock.
Due to corrosion, compromise in the marine environment is necessary. A bronze lock with tumbler is probably going to last longer and can't be picked like a keyed lock. If a tumbler type stainless lock can be found, that can be good too.
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Old 19-08-2013, 17:25   #11
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Javelin View Post
My observation is that vinyl coated cable with eyes and a padlock is most common. !
Yes, I am in the process of buyinig some new plastic coated 6mm ss cable. So I had a look at all the dinks on the dock and 60% are using cable and 40% using chain.
Some chain is so heavy its silly.
The plastic coated cable will not hurt your Hypolon as much, by the looks.

I tend to go with what everyone else has... there must be a reason.
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Old 19-08-2013, 17:57   #12
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

A thief is going after the easiest dinghy to steal. Most do not walk the streets with bolt cutters.

I use a life line cable ... plastic coated SS cable.. with two loops, one on each end. I start by looping the engine first, run the cable through the fuel tank handle, life jackets if left aboard and finally though my dinghy's bow eye. The cable end gets wrapped around anything that will help secure it and padlocked with a solid bronze lock. And yse, good bolt cutters will easily free my secured dinghy. So far, I have not lost one in over 30 years.
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Old 19-08-2013, 18:26   #13
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

I use some SS chain... very light maybe 1/8" from McMasterCarr... It's 8' long I think... It work well to tie it close... as the chain is locked to the inside of transom with some dacron fire hose chafe gear for the firs several feet. I can lock it up at any length... is not very heavy and has not corroded at all in 5 yrs. It's about the same level of security as cable.. no splices and so forth. I am pleased with this solution.
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Old 20-08-2013, 06:00   #14
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

Quote:
Originally Posted by foggysail View Post
A thief is going after the easiest dinghy to steal. Most do not walk the streets with bolt cutters.
Nor do they swim up to your boat in the middle of the night holding big bolt cutters... but I wish they would!
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Old 20-08-2013, 18:57   #15
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Re: Locking Up a Dinghy: Cable or Chain? Or???

someone needs to invent an ecm that just pulls out of the engine so you can pack it away. Then make the ecm coded to only one engine. In order to get a new ecm you would need to contact a dealer that would then request an ecm unlock code... engines reported to the manufacturer as stolen would not get a new ecm code.
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