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Old 17-08-2008, 21:19   #1
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Security on Board Exit Only

Joshua Slocum spread carpet tacks on his decks at night to prevent unwanted visits by intruders while he slept below at anchor. We never did the carpet tack thing, but our security system was relatively simple and affordable.

1. We locked our companionway at night. If intruders climbed on board, they would have to knock down the door or break a locked hatch to get inside and do any harm.
2. We kept Pepper Spray in every cabin. Intruders quickly flee when they get a good dose of Pepper Spray.
3. We had a hand held airhorn that would wake up the anchorage if an intruder tried to get inside our catamaran.
4. We kept our VHF Radio on if we were worried about security, and we had hand-held VHF Radios that we could use from our cabins if there were issues regarding security.
5. We almost always anchor in the presence of other yachts so that security measures 3 and 4 work in our favor.

In our circumnavigation, we only know of one boarder who came on at night in Grenada, and because our companionway was locked, he left without incident leaving only footprints.

We are lucky on Exit Only because we have eight deck hatches that can be locked in rain position which allows for ventilation of the cabins at night. We can also open our portholes for additional ventilation.

In the future, I think I might install a strobe light that I can flick on in an emergency to scare intruders away.

I believe it is always helpful to have a sacrificial wallet with a small amount of money in it lying in plain view just in case an intruder makes a grab and go attack. At least they think they aren't leaving empty handed, and it might prevent them from doing something more drastic.
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Old 18-08-2008, 09:12   #2
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I have also thought of installing two hidden safes - 1 not as well hidden as the other, and having very small amount of money and some out of date cards. Then after a great show of reluctance, you can open that one and show that like all yachties you are short on money
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Old 18-08-2008, 09:18   #3
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...2. We kept Pepper Spray in every cabin. Intruders quickly flee when they get a good dose of Pepper Spray...
Not only intruders will flee. Any guests on board with tendencies towards asthma might suffocate, anyone inside the protection of the boat will be forced outside into unprotected areas. Once the confrontation ends (outside) you will have to deal with the aftermath. You will have to wash down every hard surface in your boat and either wash or replace all of your cushions. I sincerely hope that you reconsider using any aerosol defence indoors.
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Old 18-08-2008, 09:42   #4
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I like your ideas which are very sensible in a non-combative sense, but it sounds like you never needed to actually use them? In fact one doesnít often hear of anyone forcefully using anything against intruder(s). Everyone prepares in their own way, which is a good thing for peace of mind; but who has actually used them to defend the floating house and home? Unlike a good foam fire extinguisher, (which is quite a weapon in itself), you can hardly do a test run with pepper spray. My own plans are to have as many options as possible, including perhaps a gun; and I imagine starting with the non-combative deterrents, (lights, noise, dog barking, etc.) and hopefully not finish up having to use the final solution. But that's all theoretical because I have no practical experience.

Even Slocumís tacks method should work at night against bare foot intruders, but you sure would curse if you forgot, as you staggered on deck in the morning.
Let's have people list the various precautions they actually have installed. Even better if they have actually employed them against intruders. Iím sure there will be some unique and innovative ideas which others may never have thought of.
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Old 18-08-2008, 11:25   #5
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1. We locked our companionway at night. If intruders climbed on board, they would have to knock down the door or break a locked hatch to get inside and do any harm.
IMO, that was the single biggest thing that you did to improve your security. Keeping yourself from being surprised is the key, once someone is down below while you are sleeping there's not a lot you can do, no matter how tough and well armed you are.

Another important aspect to security is to realize that it's not just the 'high crime' areas where you are likely to be targeted. Not all thieves are stupid, some are just desperate. The smart ones realize that the soft targets with the most money will be in the 'safe' places. I know that it's a paradox, but the areas where you feel the safest are where you are also the most vulnerable. Security needs to be something you practice all the time, not just when you are nervous. I learned these things after being caught by surprise and robbed at gunpoint in a surprisingly 'safe' place.
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Old 18-08-2008, 12:44   #6
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OK, Iíll start the ball rolling: but letís try not to deviate. This is just suggestions of possible deterrent and safety precautions people have actually implemented in case of boarding at night.

1. Making it difficult to actually enter is an obvious precaution, but not just doors, hatches should also be secure, even when ajar.
2. A sleeping cabin switch to bring spreader lights or a strobe light on has been suggested, and a simple thing to do.
3. Ditto for a noise through a loudspeaker Ė police siren, dog barking, etc. This also alerts other boats nearby.
4. A notice on the rail each side, warning would be trespasses of dire consequences, like electric shock or worse. They say a house alarm notice is nearly as good as actually having an alarm.

Letís hear other ideas, but in numerical order, the next poster starts at 5. and so on. If you want to comment about a previous item, do it at the bottom of your list.
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Old 18-08-2008, 13:29   #7
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a loaded speargun and you shoot through the jaw
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Old 18-08-2008, 13:47   #8
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Gasoline in a spray bottle/ water cannon followed by a flare.
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Old 18-08-2008, 14:26   #9
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Gasoline in a spray bottle/ water cannon followed by a flare.


I ain't gonna comment.
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Old 18-08-2008, 14:48   #10
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Sounds to me like being locked down in your cabin away from the crooks with all kinds of lights and noise makers outside is enough to scare anyone off.

I think lethal weapons like a spear gun could accidentally kill the wrong person. Especially if you have just been woken out of sleep, are panicked and it is dark. The whole idea is to get them off your boat, not to kill them. If you kill someone, then you run into all kinds of trouble with the authorities even if it was a just cause. You might even wind up in a foreign prison for the rest of your life. Foreigners killing locals is probably not looked upon very favorably by the local population, especially if you kill a minor. Good luck trying to get a fair trial. Its not the United States.
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Old 18-08-2008, 15:00   #11
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Gasoline in a spray bottle/ water cannon followed by a flare.
good way to burn to the waterline
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Old 18-08-2008, 15:24   #12
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Unfortunately, there are more stupid ideas than good ones. For the most part it's the dumb stuff vs the local kids with too much time or liquor. Crimes of opportunity require you to remove the low hanging fruit at the very least.

If the super crooks are after you they bring automatic weapons and they know what they want. If you are expecting that much trouble you need your attitude adjusted.
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Old 18-08-2008, 16:22   #13
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Excercise common sense.
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Old 18-08-2008, 17:23   #14
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Excellent post, Paul.

I firmly believe each situation is different anyway, so you can't have one approach that will work every time and in every harbor.



Quote:
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Unfortunately, there are more stupid ideas than good ones. For the most part it's the dumb stuff vs the local kids with too much time or liquor. Crimes of opportunity require you to remove the low hanging fruit at the very least.

If the super crooks are after you they bring automatic weapons and they know what they want. If you are expecting that much trouble you need your attitude adjusted.
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Old 18-08-2008, 20:39   #15
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Not only intruders will flee. Any guests on board with tendencies towards asthma might suffocate, anyone inside the protection of the boat will be forced outside into unprotected areas. Once the confrontation ends (outside) you will have to deal with the aftermath. You will have to wash down every hard surface in your boat and either wash or replace all of your cushions. I sincerely hope that you reconsider using any aerosol defence indoors.
I agree with your point about using Pepper Spray inside the cabin.

On Exit Only you can easily hit your intended target without spraying inside the cabin. We have eight opening hatches, seven portholes to the outside, and two portholes into the cockpit. There is no place an intruder could hide from Pepper Spray on our catamaran. Because we are a catamaran with a broad beam and so many opening ports/hatches, the advantage is ours when it comes time to use Pepper Spray.
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