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Old 17-07-2012, 13:41   #1
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Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

As a new Crewman here, this is my first post so hopefully I am in the right section.

I have often seen videos and photos of empty yachts anchored-off in small ostensibly deserted bays and coves in far-away places while the cruising couple takes the tender to shore & meanders over hill and dale exploring.

Since the cost of many of these boats is astronomical in comparison to the wages of many of the Natives in some of these places, I wonder if anyone here has had their Yacht Stolen by someone just swimming or boating out to it & sailing away?

Were they decent enough to leave your Dink, and did they wave politely at you as you ran down the path to the beach?

How does one practically guard against such theft from the Marina or in the far-flung places out back of beyond?
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Old 17-07-2012, 13:52   #2
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

It does happen but perhaps not as often as you might think. Theft of the contents is more likely because stuff is easier to fence (sell) whilst stealing a yacht and making it disappear is hard work.

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Old 17-07-2012, 14:22   #3
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

It's less likely than having your car stolen from the mall / office car park and so on.
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Old 17-07-2012, 15:20   #4
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

I would think that the best and most efficient way to get ALL the easily salable "Stuff" would be to remove the Yacht from the place where it is, to the place where the thieves want to strip it of said salable goodies. Just ducking in to remove the Plotter & a bottle of booze is peanuts compared to taking the boat to an area to be fully stripped so I am surprised it is of such little concern to people, many of whom have their entire, or a substantial amount of their retirement wrapped up in that boat.

I assume the Water-maker, Engine, Sails, Lines, Outboard, Tender, Life-raft, Rigging, Electronics, Washer/Dryer, Ports, Props, Sinks, Stove, Copper Wiring, Teabags & toilet paper (in Cuba) and a myriad of other things might all be very salable items for an enterprising poor person who has no compunction against relieving the rich Yachties of their burdensome fortunes in some parts of the world.

In order to do such a complete tear-down, one must relocate the boat to the oceanic equivalent of a Automotive Chop-Shop which may be a secluded but road accessible beach, cove, disused landing or otherwise sell it to someone else who will dispose of it, so are there ways and means to guard against it, or does one just keep their fingers crossed and beseech the gods to not let it happen.

Are there purpose built means of securing your boat from this, or does one have to Engrave everything on the boat with your Drivers License Number in case of theft & perhaps Jury-Rig hidden kill switches on the electronics, and fuel lines, and or perhaps secure the rudder hard over with a giant padlock & also disable the anchor retrieval system with a honking big padlock in an barely accessible (difficult to saw) location? Easier to remove a few padlocks & flip a few hidden switches when you return to the boat, than to just leave it free & easy on a platter for any Ne'er-do-well with a disposition toward larceny.

I have personally had electronics & sundry items stolen, and have had on many occasions removed the distributor cap from the engine & taken it with me to help guard against hot-wiring theft, so I am perhaps more wary than some who I believe are leaving themselves needlessly wide open to the loss of their entire Yacht/Floating Residence as they videotape the boat floating unprotected in a secluded tropical bay from a mile away atop some picturesque hilltop for the benefit of YouTube.

Am I the only one concerned about this or is everyone else just wealthy enough to have their butler deliver their spare Yacht #2 to the secluded cove after the thieves make off with Yacht #1?!
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Old 17-07-2012, 15:34   #5
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

They are not equivalent! A yacht in a secluded bay in the Second or Third World where most people cannot afford a refrigerator or a Flat Screen TV is a potential goldmine of salable resources for a thief. A car in the Mall parking lot in an American or other first world city full of Police & where most other people have similar cars & society has a social safety net which removes much of the incentive for most people to steal cars is relatively safer, if for no other reason than it is one among thousands, tens of thousands or millions, whereas the high masted white plumb ripe for the picking is often singularly alone & very vulnerable.

Now if your car happens to be an two million dollar Exotic Super-car which you leave in the Mall parking lot with the rag-top down & keys in the ignition ready for someone to hop aboard an go for a spin then perhaps that would be more equivalent to the unattended yacht tied up next to the local inhabitants barely afloat fishing boats & onshore shacks.
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Old 17-07-2012, 15:47   #6
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

The boat is only worth money if you can sell it - or part it out. In many places would be like trying to sell a Donkey on 5th Avenue.......

....Not to say that ain't doable, but needs a degree of sophistication (and cash) and likely the perpetrators will also be restricted by own passport in being able to reach a decent market.
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Old 17-07-2012, 15:56   #7
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

there was a case a few years ago of a yacht that was stolen by a couple from falmouth in the uk.
the yacht was found drifting off the west african coast 6 months later,the couple were still onboard,but dead from thirst and starvation!

as pete said stealing a yacht is hard work and you had better know what you are doing,and where you are going,and have your false paperwork sorted before you leave!
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Old 17-07-2012, 16:08   #8
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
there was a case a few years ago of a yacht that was stolen by a couple from falmouth in the uk.
the yacht was found drifting off the west african coast 6 months later,the couple were still onboard,but dead from thirst and starvation!
Bet the fkers wont be doing that again.
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Old 17-07-2012, 16:20   #9
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

Piloting a yacht across an ocean is more difficult than coastal fishing in a panga. And if the thieves just motor it around to the other side of the island chances are they will be quickly caught.

Not to say it never happens, but most often it doesn't end well for the thieves. Remember customs checking the hull number against the entry documents???
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Old 17-07-2012, 16:27   #10
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

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..
Since the cost of many of these boats is astronomical in comparison to the wages of many of the Natives in some of these places, I wonder if anyone here has had their Yacht Stolen by someone just swimming or boating out to it & sailing away? ...
Yacht thefts are exceptionally rare because selling a stolen yacht would be very very difficult.

In contrast, cash, small electronics, solar panels, outboard motors are all very easy to unload and therefore are the typical items thieves aboard boats are after. They will steal the $20 cell phone before the $5,000 chart plotter because they have no idea what that thing is or how to sell it.

Just review this past year's events in Belize, Honduras, and Panama. In no case was there even an attempt to steal the yacht itself. Keep in mind that these thieves know absolutely nothing about modern sailing yachts so have no idea how to handle them under sail and power. Even if they did -- what would they do with them? Big very visible item, legal paperwork is needed to cross borders or to re-sell the boat.

The very few cases I've heard of where a boat was stolen, high-jacked really, was where drug runners pressed private yachts into service with the crew still running the boat. And, one case I heard of where the boat was stolen and then abandoned soon after.
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Old 17-07-2012, 16:30   #11
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

Watching someone who has never been on the vessel first try to unseat & raise the anchor without knowing off hand how to open electrical power to the windlass, then try to figure out how to start the engines without knowing where the fuel shutoff is; would be worth watching unfold from shore before buzzing out to put them out of their misery.

Luckily, many of those in common cruising areas aren't as beholden to gathering material goods as many are here in the west and the thought of stealing a large boat isn't something that would cross the mind of most. Another common fixture in isolated cruising grounds where there are locals aware of your presence - are curious kids who find following around outsiders to be grand entertainment, and they'd no doubt alert ya to the fact that a known local unsavory was up to no good during daylight hours. In more "populated" areas, it's generally too many folks about during daylight hours for anything as shady as local looking people frantically committing themselves to the above folly - to go unnoticed.

All-n-All, can't really imagine theft of a vessel to be very high on the list of worries in more far off places. Now your dink? Well, yeah, fairly good chance of that getting nicked.
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Old 17-07-2012, 17:31   #12
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

The locals here in La Paz know about boats, cruising and power boats as well as pangas. A couple of months ago, the capt. of a 50' beautiful ketch died out in the islands 6 hours away. The boat was left at anchor as the wife left with her husbands body when they were picked up. The boat was found a few days later stripped of 4 pages of equipment, but intact. It sits here in the marina now. A dozen or more pangas and sport boats and dinghys have been stolen within a 50 miles radius of La Paz during the last month alone. They want the big outboards mostly and all seem to assume it's drug runners by their brazen tactics.
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Old 17-07-2012, 17:38   #13
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Re: Not Petty Theft, but Entire Boat Theft

We hear of about 2 or 3 stolen every year in 'our area' (Med and Macaronesia).

Not that long ago a whole big sailing yacht was stolen from cruising people while visiting Cabo Verde Islands.

Maybe you can reduce the risks if you immobilise the motor in a way - most thieves will probably try to motor away rather than use the sails ...

Maybe also you can reduce the risks by NOT sailing a Bavaria.

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