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Old 03-09-2014, 20:00   #1
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Protocol of When to Board Another Boat?

We are in an anchorage in Nantucket and our neighbor came in, dropped two anchors and headed to town. His boat is now making a continuous beeping. We assume that it is from an anchor alarm as it started after the current turned and we all swung. His boat seems okay and ours is fine too. I am worried that he isn't coming back anytime soon and we really don't want to listen to his beeping alarm, whatever it is, all night. Can I / should I board his boat and try to disable or in some other way rectify whatever is causing this alarm?


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Old 03-09-2014, 20:06   #2
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

You can always hope that when the current turns again his alarm will stop beeping, at least for 6 hours.

Seriously, how loud is the beep? For it to be that annoying it must be very loud or you must be very close.

I would hesitate to board a boat for any reason other than serious safety issues like dragging anchor, fire, etc.
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Old 03-09-2014, 20:06   #3
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

I have boarded unattended boats to stop halyard slapping but I cant imagine going below unless the boat was sinking.
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Old 03-09-2014, 20:27   #4
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

Except for immediate grievous danger to the vessel, never go aboard someone else's boat with out being asked.

The noise you are hearing is probably a GPS-based dragging alarm, but you said the boat does not appear to actually be dragging.


However, you can take care of yourself other ways. Ear plugs, or re-locate further away.

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Old 03-09-2014, 20:29   #5
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

let it beep.
when he returns he will also let it beep all night.
might wanna speak with him.
or ye can relocate.
oops i know you were there first. buttt......
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Old 03-09-2014, 21:00   #6
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

Thankfully it has become an academic question. The owner returned. It was annoying because it is very still here tonight. The consensus seems to be that I should suck it up. I'll keep that in mind when something similar happens.


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Old 03-09-2014, 21:07   #7
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

the beeping of alarms on unattended boats is most annoying but there isnt much ye can do about it except let the person know it is annoying.
mebbe his battery will die so it wont be so noisy, but in the mean time, is not a bad idea, if your boat has a nice functional engine, to relocate.
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Old 03-09-2014, 21:19   #8
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

I would have notified the harbor master or the Coast Guard. Could have been a propane alarm or who knows what. Why speculate. Let the authorities respond.
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:26   #9
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

I would not board a stranger's boat without permission. You don't know what you might run into and it could get you into trouble. Someone might be onboard and shoot you, someone might come back while you are onboard and shoot you, you might find a dead body, you might find drugs.

You wouldn't go into a stranger's house would you?

Assuming you have the option to move, that's what you should do if it bothers you enough.
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:29   #10
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

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I would have notified the harbor master or the Coast Guard. Could have been a propane alarm or who knows what. Why speculate. Let the authorities respond.
Based on my experience with calling the USCG regarding a boat adrift and endangering other boats, I wouldn't bother calling them and telling them a boat was "beeping". They don't really care.
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:33   #11
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

uscg is not in business to nanny us . they are there to sar and protect coastline .
if you have a beeping alarm and it bothers others, do not set them and leave. that is plain iggurunt. sorry . no one needs to know why your boat is beeping for apparently no reason. dont do it. is obnoxiious, like splapping halyards on an unoccupied anchored boat.
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:36   #12
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

I wouldn't have boarded. Just get the dinghy close and light a match next to the sink drain to see if it's a propane leak...
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:44   #13
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

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Originally Posted by hlev00 View Post
The consensus seems to be that I should suck it up. I'll keep that in mind when something similar happens.
World wide, but especially the USA I would be extremely reticent getting on someone elses boat.

So you jump on and he comes back while you are still aboard:

He could
Ring the police and you spend a month in jail saying you were not robbing the boat and theres nothing wrong with tattoos you have

He could be armed and trigger happy. remember its the USA and people have concealed gun licenses (Florida has 1 million of them issued) and when would someone take their gun? When they are out cruising the streets at night. Also theres weird property laws and walk away laws or something in some places.

He could just shove a boat hook up you and let you float away into the night.


If the boat had OBVIOUSLY dragged so a returning owner could see clearly its moved, maybe you have taken photos etc, then you might get on to see if you can assist. But if you don't help but put the boat on the rocks who pays? in some countries theres a Good Samaritan law where a rescuer can anot be liable, but is that in the country/state etc where you are?

I think its different if you are a cruiser anchored for a few weeks, with friends around and the boat has been there, or known, for a while. But for a blow-in?

Remember whats the first thing they teach you in First Aid? "Hi I am Mark and I am a First Aider, May I help you?" and if they say "No" you F off.


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Old 04-09-2014, 08:20   #14
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

The answer is if you would want a stranger with good intent coming on board your boat to rectify the same problem.
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:40   #15
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Re: Protocol of when to board another boat?

This raises a related question for me. In my previous marina there was a very nice young Norwegian guy living aboard a large sailboat as it's "captain" although he had no credentials, and was likely not quite legally in the country. The owner was far away and an infrequent visitor and liked having the live-aboard keeping an eye on things. Anyway he enjoyed patrolling the docks at night and would make sure boats were tied up properly, fenders were good, etc. I liked him and his care. He'd also come and help as a quick extra hand when needed for anything. Great guy to have around. I'd take him to dinner at the local pub every now and then as a thanks - and he thought I was the generous one. He had my contact info and I felt comfy that he would call me if something needed attention - sooner then the marina staff would.

Now I'll get to my question! He made the point that every boat should have an emergency phone number posted in an obvious place on the outside. So, as with the OP, if an alarm is going off, or halyards are slapping, or far worse things are happening, the owner can be called. Seemed like a great idea to me, but then I hesitate just for security reasons. I can imagine a bad guy calling, telling me the boat needs attention, I tell him I'll be there in two hours, and then my boat is his for the next 110 minutes. I'm generally not paranoid about such things, and like the value of the real emergency call, but just haven't done it.

Does anyone here do this? Opinions?

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