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Old 30-07-2010, 07:12   #1
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GPS Tracking Systems

I am seriously thinking about installing a GPS tracker on my new boat as a theft device. Do any forum members have any experience with these systems?

At this point I am looking at the Nav-Tracker 1.0 tracking system sold by Paradox Marine in FL. The upfront equipment costs appear to be reasonable , $1000, and the service is $1 per day which gives you 150 reports per month.

Any comments would be welcome!

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Old 30-07-2010, 07:50   #2
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Will your insurer give you a break for having one? Otherwise it will only tell you where in the swamp to go find the remains of your hull.

I say vote with your feet: Sail that boat to a civilized place.

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Old 02-10-2011, 17:56   #3
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Re: GPS Tracking Systems

Hi guys

I'm not sure where you're located but there are items such as this namely the solo that can be teamed with a panic button as well as a sat head to enable you this security, there are heaps of dealers globally for this product as well.
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Old 03-07-2012, 13:43   #4
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Re: GPS Tracking Systems

You can try GPS Tracking Portal -, they provide really great service. I'm using Teltonika FM1100.
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Old 03-07-2012, 22:40   #5
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Re: GPS Tracking Systems

We use Yellowbrick on the raceboat.

Can automatically send position reports at whatever time interval we want and can receive short messages (we use it to get weather updates on deliveries). Also has the ability to send an alarm (EPIRB) with position and text message.

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Old 03-07-2012, 23:43   #6
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Re: GPS Tracking Systems

Strictly personal experience, but in a decade in the Caribbean boat theft of anything bigger than a dinghy is very, very low. And mostly those stolen are "charter boats" which are easy to steal.
Problem is stolen boats are very easy to find since the theft is normally publicized to the cruiser community and what with cruisers most everywhere, the boat is noticed/found and its location passed back to the owner/cruiser.

But putting an expensive electronic tracker is rather a large amount of overkill. There are much simpler ways such as installing a "kill-switch" on the engine system to disable the engine. Only you know where the "switch" is located.

Other ways involve a simple "pin" in the steering cable system that locks the steering from being moved. I have hydraulic steering, so a simple bypass valve on the hydraulic ram make steering the boat impossible when the valve is open.

Point is there are numerous, low tech, non-electronic ways to make the boat non-functional that are simple and direct.
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:50   #7
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Re: GPS Tracking Systems


I agree with nearly everything you say. But I personally would rather that the scumbags were able to steer my boat because at least it won't land up on the rocks.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:38   #8
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Re: GPS Tracking Systems

I probably should have discussed that they might be two different scenarios - one if you keep you boat in a marina and/or docked; and the other if it is anchored out /or on a mooring.

I would posit that if the boat is valuable enough to steal, it is probably in a slip/dock somewhere. Therefore if the thieves cannot start the engine, they cannot get the boat out of the slip/dock.

Otherwise, I can see if the boat where anchored/moored disabling the steering might lead to a drifting boat or one cut loose from the mooring.

Still the idea of thieves wanting the "whole boat" is rather far fetched, IMHO. Boats are too easily identifiable and the networks (cruiser webs, marinas, etc.) available to find the boat quite effective - with the exception of thieves taking the boat to some backwaters in a 3rd or 5th World country. The stolen - again thieves like to steal things of value, not your typical well-worn cruising boat so it is hard to envision the need for expensive trackers or electronics.

The cases of stolen boats I have had personally observed have been new catamarans from upscale charter fleets. And the thieves were exceedingly inept and it was obvious to everyone (cruisers and marina folk) that whomever was operating the stolen boat did not know how to handle it.

One particular incident was a new 41ft cat that was brought into Luperon, D.R. for the purposes of loading it with 30+ locals who wanted to "escape" to the USA. On the way into the harbor and marina the thieves collided with several moored/anchored boats and during their short stay at the marina Puerto Blanco, it was obvious by their behavior that they were not cruisers. The local constabulary was alerted and sure enough at about midnight they caught 30+ locals trying to squeeze themselves onto the boat.

However, the charter boat company had some major expenses trying to get possession of the boat back from the local constabulary. Cost them major dollars to get clearance to reclaim "the evidence" and leave with the boat. The Charter company probably could have bought another boat for less money after getting the insurance settlement.

Since we are only discussing "whole boat" theft, one tactic that I and others use is "personalizing" the boat so that it really stands out or looks different than your normal "cookie-cutter" version of the boat. I have bright red masts and hull and as a result the boat and I are well known in the Caribbean, Bahamas and east coast of the USA.

Other boats I have known have had 2 or 3 stripes of contrasting color painted around the mast(s). The reason was more for the owner/cruiser to be able to find his boat when it was anchored/moored in a major cruiser harbor like Georgetown, Bahamas. There can be as many as 400+ boats anchored out during the height of the cruiser season there.

Unique ways of personalizing your "cookie-cutter" boat are as varied as the folks living/cruising on them. And it is a great "get to know other folks" technique when you are the new arrival. When "everybody" knows "your boat" its attractiveness to thieves greatly diminishes.

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