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Old 20-01-2010, 21:01   #1
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Avoiding Getting Boarded

New Zealand is the home of the "electric fence"; a simple device guaranteed to keep the most obstreperous bovines at bay.

It seems to me that a very good form of defence against boat-invasion, while at anchor, would be to install a Kiwi electric fence.

Unless the invader(s) come aboard via parachute or pole-vault they will almost assuredly have to grasp some part of the vessel's taff-rail wires\supports to get aboard.

A 50,000 volt, Kiwi electric fence, wired into said rails, will bounce the biggest and the best invader straight into the water.

All you need do is warp the electric fence material (polyprop fabric strip with imbedded wire) around each level of your vessel's fence and bingo!

Imagine Herbert The Horrible coming alongside, in the dead of night, presuming you're easy meat. He reaches up, ever-so quietly. Both hands get a grip on what he thinks is just a boat rail. Boom! Herbert learns what Kiwi bulls have now known for years....Never mess with a Kiwi electric fence!

Better yet, they run off a clutch of D-Cell batteries, unless you want to give Herbert a real shot at the Guiness Book Of Records for the greatest leap backwards since Mao came to power...to do that you wire it into your main battery.

This defence system can be left in place and simply switched off until needed. It's corrosion-free and largely maintenance-free.

You can wire up fences, alloy booms and mast, rigging, you name it. It has a self-returning earth so anything metal, to which it is attached, will be live, live, live.

Even better yet, it cannot be deemed a man-trap because it cannot kill.

There are various simple bits of electronics you can add to a Kiwi electric fence.

For example, when Herbert The Horrible gets his first taste of 50,000 volts; ergo, he just earthed the system....the electronics, noting a voltage sag, can switch things, like lights, sirens, EPIRBS, you name them.

And so while his mates are watching Herbert do screaming splash impressions....and they know not why on account of electric fences aren't devices freely advertised at "Pirates 101".... your entire vessel lights up like Christmas Eve, your sirens are screaming and, most importantly, you get a heads-up that something is going down.

It's about then that you get to come out pointing your own gun at the intruders.....presuming they have enough fortitude to stick around after the last few moments' events.

I'm suprised nobody has ever considered such a simple, yet elegantly deterrent, deterrent to boat-invasion.
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Old 20-01-2010, 21:59   #2
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I'm suprised nobody has ever considered such a simple, yet elegantly deterrent, deterrent to boat-invasion
They have....Yes, it would work very well. But I think you'll find that the use of electric fences in this way is illegal in New Zealand as it is in Australia and most other civilized countries. In fact, after you've fried some innocent bystander who has a heart condition, you'll probably find the gun, you point at his limp form, is illegal as well.

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Old 20-01-2010, 22:05   #3
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Slocum spread tacks on the deck.

Electric fences where I grew up with shorted out very easily. Any path to ground would do it - some hapless weed blowing up against it would do it. How does that work on a boat? Obiously this is a tyro question but ... what does ground even mean on a boat?
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Old 20-01-2010, 22:38   #4
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I don't know if it's legal, but it would do a good job of keeping cows off your boat!
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Old 20-01-2010, 22:39   #5
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They have....Yes, it would work very well. But I think you'll find that the use of electric fences in this way is illegal in New Zealand as it is in Australia and most other civilized countries. In fact, after you've fried some innocent bystander who has a heart condition, you'll probably find the gun, you point at his limp form, is illegal as well.

Jim
Actually, protecting property with a non-lethal electric fence is certainly not illegal in New Zealand - it is done all the time, and merely requires sufficient visible notices to be placed about so that somebody encountering the fence should be fairly able to know its electrificationess in advance...

A big issue would seem to be isolating the electric tape in the damp marine environment. You certainly couldn't just wrap it around your existing boat rails or it would short out through the boat at once. You'd need to construct a separate fence with insulating grommets for the electric tape to run through. And as hummingway mentioned, any stray sheet or miscellaneous item fluttering about could easily short the fence.
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Old 20-01-2010, 22:42   #6
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Other Defence Mechanisms

I figure my boat is my palace. Come aboard by invitation only. Sure, I can understand that in many third-world countries survival at any cost is the maxim....but not from the assets out of my little palace.

Obviously the above mentioned electric fence is a simple, low-cost method of deterring the less committed boarder, but what does one do when a more serious bunch of hard-triers hove alongside.

Obviously, a cut-down and easy to secrete, shotgun loaded with double aught, or duck-shot if you feel a bit queasy about getting very serious. But then, of course you have to get to such a weapon during a time of high-stress if it happens you awake to find some thug screaming in his own tongue, while waving a machete or other weapon.

So I guess the first issue is security while you're on board, at anchor or in a marina. Lightweight grills over all entry points, lockable from the inside is certainly a good starter kit. At least Herbert the Horrible is going to be still on the outside while you're within making ready to repel boarders.

Then there are weapons which don't look like weapons. There's a whole host of useful weapons which would never raise an eyebrow of any customs officer. The best of which is good old flyspray.

Try this. It's quite safe...for you at least. Hold a cigarette lighter just under the nozzle of any flyspray, hairspray, cannister. Flick on lighter then press the spray button. Instant flame-thrower which is extremely effective at three feet/one metre. And it will go straight through even a fine mesh grill. With one can you could almost roast a hog.:--))

BTW: The contents of the can will not explode in your hand.

Another option is a trigger-spray filled with meths, set to squirt, not mist. Give the most horrible infidel a couple squirts in the face/chest, then smile as you lean forward clutching your gas-stove lighter.

If setting fire to scoundrels is beyond you, then remove their ability to see. A burst of flyspray in the eyes will keep the most arrogant busy for a few seconds while you get a shot at his nuts. But commercial-grade Mag-cleaner acid (mag as in mag wheels) kept in a sprayer ready for instant use is a great deterrent, which will keep the assailant busy and, in fact will have him hop overboard to drown his agony in the sea.

Then there's the 'at-sea' boarders who may well be armed with guns. Unless they turn up in a really flash, large vessel...so you're knackered anyway...they will probably turn up in the local variety of a clapped out junk...a wooden vessel.

But then there's the assailants at sea.

Your first task is to let them know that you are in no way scared of them. That will require the use of a lot of gesticulating and the production of a child's cowboy rifle, (if you don't want to have the real thing) which you wave around to let them know you're prepared to go to war.

Most accounts of 'at-sea' boarding attempts suggest the boarders are reasonably easily dissuaded if they see the potential victim can and will fight back. But the accent is on the word 'most'. What do you do when you haven't got a gun, the cowboy lookalike doesn't work, and the desperadoes are coming closer?

All you need is about a 1/4 of a litre of meth contained in a fine glass bottle. A bottle which will smash almost by looking at it.

To this bottle you attach a long wick. Any old rag will do. Open bottle. Dip wick in contents. Close bottle. Light wick and hurl bottle at the pirate's boat.

Fire at sea 'is' the big fear, no matter how small. Your minor incendiary device with have the aggressors way busy while you do a runner.

Warn them three times. Then act.

Remember, such folk have little time for the rule of law, and most are opportunists, easily dissuaded if you give then the right hints.

At Anchor/In Mariner.

The whole trick here is to a) be forewarned and b) to have time to mount a defense.

The electric fence attached to a simple bit of circuitry which, when the fence is activated, will switch on any device you wish to imagine, is always a goody.

But if you don't want an electric fence you can resort to simple, 12VDC powered, point-to-point beams. Even the simple 'shop-entry' variety can be set up invisibly around your cockpit.

Remember. Be in a secure environment and get a warning device.

Point-to-point beams have simple circuits which will switch on whatever you want. Sirens. Lights. Strobes. You name it.

Herbert the Horrible thinks his stealth will get him through. Wrong! He touches the electric fence and suffers the consequences, or he triggers the P-to-Ps, whereupon on come lights. You're up and at'm clutching your personal flame-thrower, or acid eyewash.

Problem solved.

As regards at-sea piracy, I've been playing with model battery powered helicopters. I've found I can load about 100CC's of meth into one of these. The Piezzo trigger ignites the meth, on impact, and using the remote controls I can send one of these well over 500M and slam it into a target of less than two metres diameter.

Imagine Herbert The Horrible and his crew finding one of these little toys doing a quick circuit then slamming into their boat while I, the potential victim, is still a long way off.

But then I have a bit of thing about my palace. :--))


The rule of thumb being, no other vessel should approach another without an appropriate hail, normally on VHF, Chan 16. Any vessel which hoves into view, and is clearly heading for you, and fails to communicate, is either skippered by a complete dick who deserves to be removed from the gene pool, or has dark intentions in mind.

Mind you. You can always try negotiating . Yeah right.
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Old 20-01-2010, 22:58   #7
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They have....Yes, it would work very well. But I think you'll find that the use of electric fences in this way is illegal in New Zealand as it is in Australia and most other civilized countries. In fact, after you've fried some innocent bystander who has a heart condition, you'll probably find the gun, you point at his limp form, is illegal as well.

Jim
Firstly, Jim, piracy in NZ or OZ is, to my knowledge, unheard off. Sure, boat burglary is a regular occurrence.

But I'm not talking about NZ or OZ, or simple burglary. I'm talking about repelling boarders while one is aboard. That happens in areas where the rule of law is just a tad less considered than in the lands mention. To mention a few places. The South China sea, anywhere near Aden. The West African coast. Many parts of South America. The Coral Sea and anywhere near Indonesia. The folk who do piracy in such areas do not spend most of the day watching soaps on TV then hive off for a quick pirating expedition. They are serious, careless, often starving folk who will cut your throat for tuppence.

In NZ or OZ you could get quite righteous and tell the nasties that if they don't get off your boat you'll call the cops and expect them to leave. But in lands where the really bad stuff happens, the assailants could easily be the cops.

But hey. You have your right to your opinion.
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Old 20-01-2010, 23:33   #8
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dpex: Good advice, and well received at this end!
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Old 21-01-2010, 01:16   #9
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That happens in areas where the rule of law is just a tad less considered than in the lands mention. To mention a few places. The South China sea, anywhere near Aden.
Funny you should mention those places because I lived for 2 years on a boat in Brunei Darussalam, just south of the Philippines in the South China Sea. For the most part the "pirates" there are the same as the pirates here in Australia or New Zealand. They are just regular people, mostly poor who see you as an opportunity. You are the richest man in town. If they can pinch your outboard, then maybe they can feed their family for a few weeks.
Is it possble to use an electric fence on a boat ? Yes, it is. I've seen people do it. But once "pirates" get on board and they do, they're usually not satisfied with taking your outboard, they want to trash your boat as well.
We sailed with our two young children for 5 years in that part of the world and had no problems. Wherever we stopped we invited local people on board, engaged with the local community and showed genuine interest and respect for them. They were able to relate to us as human beings and not just as an opportunity.
This is your best protection against "pirates". Of course, if you go cruising of the Somalian coast, then all the electric fences in the world are not going to save you.
I met a guy once who had made a flame thrower out of a scuba tank, kerosene and tar. His plan was to set the sea alight around his boat if anyone tried to board. Quite frankly, if your level of fear is that high you should be doing something else.

Jim
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Old 21-01-2010, 05:31   #10
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This idea was talked about in "Extended Power Cruising". They varnished copper foil on the underside of the rail and hooked it up to a cattle fence charger. This would work on a trawler rail but not so well on the round metal rails found on sailboats and a lot of power boats. There are solar powered chargers available.
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Old 21-01-2010, 05:45   #11
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Why not just build a claymore into the rubrail? No more boarders, boat, or dock.
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Old 21-01-2010, 07:08   #12
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Other Defence Mechanisms...
Wow, our own real-life MacGyver!

You're surprised because you're a newbie.
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Old 21-01-2010, 07:52   #13
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Why not just build a claymore into the rubrail? No more boarders, boat, or dock.
Actually, jut put a layer of thin stainless behind the charge as a reflector. Won't lose the boat but you'll need a bottom job fer sure.
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Old 21-01-2010, 07:56   #14
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Yes it has been thought of, yes someone is making money on it.

The Solution is Secure-Yacht

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Old 21-01-2010, 07:59   #15
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Actually, jut put a layer of thin stainless behind the charge as a reflector. Won't lose the boat but you'll need a bottom job fer sure.

I was thinking of the loss of their boat. A shaped charge with a thin backing plate like you said would do the job.

Of course you still have to face the local police afterwards. I guess it's still better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.
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