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Old 15-03-2012, 16:12   #1
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Leaving Your Boat Unattended

I was wondering what you do when you head ashore -- especially when anchored outside of a marina. Is there anything that gives you some peace of mind by preventing your dingy and/or boat from being filched? Or does this virtually never happen as long as you avoid certain areas?
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Old 15-03-2012, 16:14   #2
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Re: Leaving your boat unattended

What do you do when you leave your house/apt/home? What do you do when you leave your car?

Lock everything up and try to avoid bad areas.
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Old 15-03-2012, 16:27   #3
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Re: Leaving your boat unattended

Whether you lock the boat or not, always close the hatches. We found the surest way to attract a rain squall in an otherwise perfectly clear day was to leave a hatch open. It became such a reflex and running joke with the wife that a full year after we finished our last cruise (Asia to Europe) and were living on land every time it rained I would turn to her and ask, "Did we close the hatches?"

One other thing I recommend: always leave your anchor windlass (if you have one) "on" and the engine key in the ignition. One day at anchor when you are ashore your yacht may drag and you will be at the mercy of other cruisers or just someone who can get aboard and help you re-anchor. We have seen this happen several times and one guy almost lost his boat because the cruisers on board couldn't get the windlass working.

Cheers.

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Old 15-03-2012, 16:31   #4
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Re: Leaving your boat unattended

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Originally Posted by Dhillen View Post
Whether you lock the boat or not, always close the hatches. We found the surest way to attract a rain squall in an otherwise perfectly clear day was to leave a hatch open. It became such a reflex and running joke with the wife that a full year after we finished our last cruise (Asia to Europe) and were living on land every time it rained I would turn to her and ask, "Did we close the hatches?"

One other thing I recommend: always leave your anchor windlass (if you have one) "on" and the engine key in the ignition. One day at anchor when you are ashore your yacht may drag and you will be at the mercy of other cruisers or just someone who can get aboard and help you re-anchor. We have seen this happen several times and one guy almost lost his boat because the cruisers on board couldn't get the windlass working.

Cheers.

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I lost a laptop due to an open hatch on a perfectly clear day.

We hardly ever lock our boat, but at anchor we tend to since the lack of a dinghy attached advertises that it may be unoccupied.

If we will be gone multiple days, we ask a fried to stop by and check on her periodically.
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Old 15-03-2012, 16:34   #5
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Re: Leaving your boat unattended

Try to cruise in areas where you don't have to worry about the boat. In New England a lot of boaters never lock the boat up and even leave it wide open most of the time. I've never had anything stolen off my boat or from my dinghy in 30+ years of cruising, and I've been to places that people worry about these things like Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Florida, etc. There is a fantastic cruisers "grapevine" that will let you know of the lay of the land wherever you are and if you follow the advice you can avoid most problems. For example, in Colombia everyone hauls their dinghy up on a haliard or onto deck every night, your motor is always locked to the dinghy, and your boat is always locked up when you leave. Some places you anchor pretty far offshore. You have to remember that 99% of thieves are not boaters, so just being out on the water is a huge advantage in terms of theft. And then you have to remember that the cruising community watches out for each other, so you are almost always in a neighborhood watch type of situation. It is very safe out there.
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Old 15-03-2012, 16:46   #6
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Re: Leaving your boat unattended

Dingys do get stolen at night or from ashore. I think thieves think someone is on the boat if the dingy is tied to it...? Lock the boat and hatches. Key in the ignition is a good idea, but worrisome. Hard to say. But I know more than one boat that has been reanchored in a squall by the surrounding cruisers....
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Old 15-03-2012, 16:52   #7
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Re: Leaving your boat unattended

Agree that it is a good idea to leave your key in the ignition if you are out cruising. I have had my boat reanchored by other cruisers. I backed down on the anchor and seemed to have a good hold, but apparently something went wrong as I was dragging after I went ashore. Frankly, I think somebody snagged my anchor and pulled it out of the bottom, but I will never know. Came back to the boat and found it in a new location, but somebody pretty quickly came over to tell me they had reanchored me. I have done the same for others. What goes around comes around.
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Old 15-03-2012, 17:05   #8
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Re: Leaving your boat unattended

Amen on the key in ignition, and the windless on line! both good Ideas, Also the cruisers raidio net, always get all the local info ya can and things are a lot safer! Connie and I have been in almost all the so called Bad places, Columbia and Mexico both sides are some of our favorite cruiseing places. Never had a single problem there yet ! Just my 2 cents
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Old 16-03-2012, 00:47   #9
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Re: Leaving Your Boat Unattended

I also place a large sign in a portlight or window that has my cell number so first responders can call me.
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Old 16-03-2012, 01:59   #10
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Re: Leaving Your Boat Unattended

It depends so much on where you are... here in Japan we never give a thought to locking things up but will likely change our habits when sailing through the Philippines. We'll be seeking local advice as we wind our way though the Pacific.

We have bars for the fwd hatch and plan on having everything that we cannot afford to lose either with us or stashed in a hid-y hole.
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Old 16-03-2012, 15:12   #11
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Re: Leaving Your Boat Unattended

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Originally Posted by nhpr View Post
I was wondering what you do when you head ashore -- especially when anchored outside of a marina. Is there anything that gives you some peace of mind by preventing your dingy and/or boat from being filched? Or does this virtually never happen as long as you avoid certain areas?
The more I've cruised around, the more distrustfull I have become. We did have someone try to rob our boat while it was anchored in Orient Bay on St. Martin. Also, there have been several more times that boats have putt putted around us in the wee hours of the morning with no apparent reason to be doing so. Now if I leave the boat to go the the local dingy dock bar I lock it up. There is just too much temptation for some people to jump on and grab a laptop or camera. We have also installed security bars on half of the hatches. I've installed a large safe on the boat to keep our electronics, money, and jewelry in also.

But you asked about the dingy, and this we always lock up. If we are on a desolate beach we may pull it 25' up out of the water or lock it to a palm tree. At night we always haul it out of the water - always.

But by far, the biggest danger when heading ashore is going to be having a squall come out from no where and your anchor dragging. What do you do for peace of mind for this? If your not 100% sure of your anchor set, don't go past eyesight of the boat or where you can get to it in 20 minutes. Truthfully, because I lock stuff up, I'm really not worried about theft anymore, but I still really don't ever get full peace of mind about leaving my boat for many hours at a time and being far away. There is always a nagging worry. I hope it goes away with more time spent cruising.

I haven't heard of and don't worry about my total boat being stolen. Their really hard to sell quickly on the black market.
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Old 16-03-2012, 23:28   #12
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1. Have a lockable grid on companionway, restrictive bar in hatches, proximity alarm your interior, lockable deck boxes to store goods, locked starter/hidden switches - all minor and simple. Install real-time tracker which messages your phone or has actions such as sound alarm, flashing light, engine disabling - on Ebay for under 100. Trackers could easily be hidden at mast top etc. All simple stuff now.
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Old 17-03-2012, 00:43   #13
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Re: Leaving Your Boat Unattended

Leave the boat unlocked and put a make or break switch on the door , hatch whatever and hook a horn or screamer on it save your wood work !! hate it when they ruin my teak bustin in !! the horn trick works everytime so far !! been doing that for so long Im not even gonna say !! LOL
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Old 17-03-2012, 02:30   #14
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Re: Leaving Your Boat Unattended

We lock it up when leaving and set the alarm system (pressure pads in deck). We do leave the windlass on and keys in the ignition. We have rescued other dragging boats and would hope that someone would return the favor. Of course, the alarm would be blaring but people nearby would be able to see what was happening.

We use a very long titanium cable and high quality marine padlock to secure the dinghy wherever we go ashore. Expensive but worth every cent. When on boat during day, the dinghy is left floating tied behind the boat. At night the dinghy is lifted on davits. If in a questionable area then the dinghy is locked to the boat with the titanium cable and at night it is locked onto the davits. Better safe than sorry.

Judy
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