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Old 22-08-2007, 23:00   #1
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Precautions against theft..

Hi all,

I've read several threads here about the boat boys and occasional theft when anchored about. What are some of the ways that people here do to deter theft. Is having a pet onboard a deterent?? An alarm?? Obviously, lock everything up and put away what can be pu away on dect and cockpit away. Is there anything else that can be done??

Or is it like anything else where, if they want it bad enough it's going to happen regardless of what you have in place??

I would love to hear any real world experiences that people here have had and what they did about it. I've always heard of a story from someone's buddy, blah blah blah.. but I never really had a chance to get it straight from the actual people.

Thanks for your time and thanks in advance for sharing your stories and helping me with my query.

Cheers
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Old 23-08-2007, 06:27   #2
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hi shadow. catamarans seem to be robbed more than other vessels because they have the backsteps, are easy to climb aboard and are owned by rich people who have lots of goodies to steal. next up would be charter boats who are on the move and won't bother with a police report. i've only lost my dinghy anchor twice when at the dinghy dock, once in venezuelan off island and once in usvi. my 13 pound dog might be a deterrent as she makes alot of noise and surprizingly bad guys ARE afraid of her; but she so often comes ashore with me, she is not always aboard for security. she has kept some prowlers in the middle of the night at bay, but don't know if they were thieves or not. i don't go in for steel grates and such on hatches; some do. a cockpit light is helpful. fancy dinghies should be locked to the boat, (i have a very nice sailing/rowboat noone seems interested in and i don't lock it), and to the dinghy dock. if you are going to lock it to the dock, would you make sure your cable is clear of other's lines and very, very long, so that my dinghy is not shoved under the dock and bashed to crap? in the usvi, my dinghy was actually used as a fender board for a huge inflatable whose owner told me cost $10,000 and wanted to avoid the barnacles on the pilings. very nice of him and to hell with my fresh paint job. often, the ob is stolen and the dinghy left to drift. otherwise, don't leave fancy stuff lying around on deck or in the cockpit and you should be ok. not announcing your plans to go out at night on the vhf is also recommended. unfortunately, there are a few thieves in every port with years of experience. sometimes the damage done breaking in, (broken hatch/boards or companionway), is more troublesome than the actual theft. i don't think the boat boys are the thieves, by the way, it is more likely a druggie/rummy from shore or deadbeat, often swimming or sometimes 'borrowing' a local skiff. holidays such as christmas and carnival are the worst times as i guess the thieves claim they need $$s for their unfortunate children. having nothing much to steal, (my case), is probably the best deterrent of all!
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Old 23-08-2007, 08:07   #3
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Quote:
I've read several threads here about the boat boys and occasional theft when anchored about.
There is a misconception that "boat boys" are the people most likely to steal from you. They actually do work for the little money they do earn. It's the people that don't work you need to watch out for.

Crimes of opportunity are the one you can most easily protect yourself from. Don't leave the boat with loose objects in sight. A dinghy on a string is an open invitation. Small outboards are quite valuable.

Organized theft is a serious problem but far less common. It is however more common in locations where the standard of living is high enough to support a market for stolen goods. In far away places there are fewer outlets to sell stolen goods. The marina here just had a rash of 10 thefts on boats of high end electronics by a well organized thief that was actually caught. From the picture in the paper, the thief looked like someone you would expect to see at a marina. He did not look like a thief.
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Old 23-08-2007, 13:11   #4
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I would second that notion and say that many of the thieves are not natives at all but fellow "cruisers".
Lock it or lose it.
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Old 23-08-2007, 17:59   #5
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Hi all,

Thanks for your replies and "little boat," what actually happened when these men were held at bay by your dog or what happens when you actually run into a robbery in progress. Did you just yell at them to get off your boat?? Or did you have to wrestle them off? Do you hold them until the patrol arrives? Do you treat robberies in the act like you would on land? I just assumed that there were different rules of engagement on water.

I totally agree with everyone when just use common sense about leaving anything in plain site. Lock up everything if possible. Try to make everything a huge hassle to take as a natural deterrent.

Thanks again for everyone's input and please keep them coming.
Cheers
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Old 23-08-2007, 21:04   #6
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If you see something happening and get a chance, take their picture.
That worked for us in Zihuatanejo. The Port Captain knew exactly who they were.

Steve B.
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Old 24-08-2007, 09:29   #7
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shadow, we felt the boat heel over in the night when some fishermen? were holding the toerail, (yes, it is a little boat!). a bit of loud, cranky questioning and they bobbed alongside and then left.
i believe you are overthinking the whole idea of being robbed or threatened; its unlikely you will find yourself in that position.
as to 'wrestling', that's quite a bit beyond our capabilities, we are weaklings.
i think if i was in any kind of real danger that i would jump overboard with my dog in my arms, (old chihuahua, no oympic swimmer), and start swimming to shore.
i do keep an airhorn by my bunk, but the only time i've used it was when a drunken buddy came aboard in the night and had some ideas and wouldn't leave; i wasn't in any real danger whatsoever, he's been a friend for years and years; just very pissed off. in that stupid episode, another sailor came over and routed him and the next day he came to my boat to apologise and said he had been warned already that morning by several locals that if he ever disturbed me again he would be very sorry. i guess the coconut telegraph was already at work.
in over two decades in the caribbean, i've had only two friends/boats in real danger. one were tied up and robbed outside the lagoon in st george; the other was a close friend who was murdered in venezuela. he was shot in the head and left adrift. both were small boats, (one 24 foot, one 28) that had nothing of value to steal. i personally, would not return to venezuela as a singlehanding woman. as to the other robbery/assault, i don't anchor outside the lagoon which is alongside one of the only bad spots in grenada. we do anchor though in many other isolated spots where others have had trouble in the past; i guess you could say we are on our guard in those places, in that we keep an ear out.
i find violence unacceptable and would not want to engage in any form of it. if you want my stuff, just take it. if you were to really frighten me, as i say, i'd have to go overboard and attempt to make a break for it.
most robberies are nonconfrontational and take place when no one is aboard and are still, thank goodness, a relative rarity.
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Old 24-08-2007, 16:48   #8
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Thank you for your response and time little boat! I am sorry to hear about yourself and your mates in Venezuela. I just wanted to approach this as realistic as possible knowing that it is not always post card paradise and wanted to see how real it really is. I would assume that it is no worse and most likely better then living somewhere on land. There is always a chance of simple theft, robbery and even assaults and murders.

I mean even the famous yachter from NZ was killed while in the Amazon while on his expedition. NO one is immumed. But, I just wanted to verify the real life frequency of actual incidents. I've always heard of stories only to find out later that most were exaderated later.

Thank you again for sharing your personal experiences!!! Cheers
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Old 24-08-2007, 17:21   #9
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I would assume that it is no worse and most likely better then living somewhere on land.
As a rule of thumb crime is lower than in the USA on land most places. It's not every place but only most places. Rules of thumb are about most places if you catch the meaning. Someplaces are bad - very bad.

It's hard to judge people based on being like you and looking like you. You need to always be seeing the bigger picture. You need to allow for people to be nice and not jump to the conclusion that they are actually casing your boat for valuables to be stolen later. It could happen that way, but if you always feel that way the better option is to stay home. You'll be a nervous wreck in a matter of months.

Being comfortable matters a lot and you need to accept you can't do everything you could from a security position because you couldn't do anything else if you did. Seeing the bigger picture is never a bad idea when faced with the total unknown. The concept of "reasonable" becomes a daily task.
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Old 24-08-2007, 18:03   #10
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Point very well taken Pblais. I never dwell on the "what if" scenario. If it happens, it happens and hopefully it was by no fault of my own, i.e. leaving things in plain view or just not being careful. I just wanted to verify through real life cruisers such as most people here on the forums how bad it really is..

I just hate hearing 3rd or 4th person out about a story. I just wanted to hear about it through the people themselves.

I really appreciate everyone giving me their thoughts. It's just reconfirming what I've always suspected. Cheers.
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Old 25-08-2007, 04:28   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadow
Hi all,

I've read several threads here about the boat boys and occasional theft when anchored about. What are some of the ways that people here do to deter theft. Is having a pet onboard a deterent?? An alarm?? Obviously, lock everything up and put away what can be pu away on dect and cockpit away. Is there anything else that can be done??

Or is it like anything else where, if they want it bad enough it's going to happen regardless of what you have in place??

I would love to hear any real world experiences that people here have had and what they did about it. I've always heard of a story from someone's buddy, blah blah blah.. but I never really had a chance to get it straight from the actual people.

Thanks for your time and thanks in advance for sharing your stories and helping me with my query.

Cheers
I have an alarm on board, and I go stern-to, with long lines ashore! I get ashore with my rubber dinghy. I have a garden-solar -light in the cockpit too, to make-you-belive that I am on the boat!

migot1
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Old 25-08-2007, 05:59   #12
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Shadow,
The only thefts from my boat were by the Sea Scouts. Sometimes immaturity and neglegent supervision is as bad as poverty at driving theft.

little boat,
Your story of the guy using your dingy as a fender is really worthy of notice. isn't it always the case at a crowded dingy dock? The man who owns the farm next to ours here in rural Texas ran a bull dozer through our fence. I guess he was offended when I drove over to discuss it with him my because my deer feeder disappeared (I only feed 'em, I dont hunt 'em). Anyway he is a member of a large church in town, respected and not just some local ner do well. The sheriff said in his investigation that the only way that the feeder could be removed was over his fence.

I guess my experience is that the perceived threats have not effected me as much as those from people I would exect to behave better. And it is very easy for someone with a lot invested in a boat to put his interests above common decency.

pv
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