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Old 21-02-2008, 14:05   #1
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Passive deterrent/security systems

I am amazed that the majority of boats are still manufactured without an alarm system, whereas virtually every car today (including econoboxes) include them as standard equipment. It strikes me that for cruising sailors, a decent alarm system (and other 'passive' deterrents to theft) would be the most effective tool in combating the incidence of boat burglaries (and even robberies) both at home, and most especially abroad.

I am planning on installing a simple alarm system on my boat before heading through the Caribbean and wonder if anyone is aware of any 12 volt products that are already on the market for that purpose. I would need approximately 6 imputs (for the companionway door, the 4 deck hatches that are large enough for human egress and a spare for another use I will describe below). I suspect that the switches used in car doors for activation of the interior lights would suffice, and a bracket could be made to install the switch so that it is in the closed (off) position when pressed against the lexan of a locked hatch. Installing it here would have the advantage off setting off the alarm as soon as the intruders smashed out the lens.

There would need to be an activation/kill switch for the alarm both below decks and above (in a hidden location) so that the alarm could be used both when the boat is occupied and unoccupied. It could be hooked up to a standard automotive alarm (most of the new ones are incredibly loud and annoying) as well as the deck floods.

Another idea I have been mulling over (and written about in another post) is to utilize a 12 volt electric cattle fence wire on the lifelines. As has already been pointed out, the intruder would be the ground so long as his feet/body were grounded to something upon contact with the 'hot' wire. The purpose of this is not to cause bodily harm/death to a would-be thief (any more than one intends to kill stray cattle), but it would certainly make boarding the vessel a 'challenge', to say the least. If this were hooked up to the alarm system by means of a switch that activated as soon as the intruder completed the circuit by touching the 'hot' wire, then the alarm and deck floods could also be set off prior to an actual boarding.

Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts on this, or suggestions for suppliers. (And no Taojones, I still haven't tested it on either myself, or my mother-in-law). I would really prefer not having to engage in a physical confrontation with a (potentially armed) intruder except as a last resort. In that connection, experience as a prosecutor has taught me that most thieves are cowards at heart, and the combination of an electric shock, a loud alarm and bright lighting would cause the vast majority to flee to a safer/less conspicuous target.

Brad
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Old 21-02-2008, 16:26   #2
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I hear tacks spread all along the deck works pretty good against barefoot natives!

Any good car alarm should do the job.. Just be sure it's in a position that allows it to stay dry.. Be sure you get an alarm that has an auto reset otherwise you'll end up with dead batteries and the bad guys will just sit and wait for the floods to dim.. I'd guess all the modern alarms have this function, given the large number of false alarms.

Suppliers?? Do you have access to a computer with internet connection?????haha

Google "car alarms" and stand back!!!!!

good idea... and good luck
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Old 21-02-2008, 16:41   #3
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Automotive alarms will work just fine. But, you can get a marine specific alarm for a whole lot more $$$$ and some additional features.
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Old 21-02-2008, 16:55   #4
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Another discussion on that was here
SSCA Discussion Board :: View topic - Alarm System
and here
SSCA Discussion Board :: View topic - Intruder Alarm Systems for boats
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Old 21-02-2008, 17:15   #5
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Thanks Chuck. And Randy, I'm familiar with Joshua Slocum's fabled use of tacks on deck to thwart the attack of natives near Patagonia. That being said: 1. I suspect most modern intruders will be wearing shoes. 2. I'd hate to have to have to pick up all the tacks each morning (let alone clean the inevitable rust stains off the gelcoat).

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Old 21-02-2008, 17:38   #6
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Ah, the key there is a magnet!
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Old 21-02-2008, 17:44   #7
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I don't think I would go with "car" type switches.
I think the new home type motion sensors would be better. They are mostly wireless. They would have to be placed carefully of course and also be able to have sensitivity adjusted ($?)
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Old 21-02-2008, 22:51   #8
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Quote:
setting off the alarm as soon as the intruders smashed out the lens.
If you have blue ocean capable hatches, I don't think they will easily break through.
But to protect hatches and doorways would be a good idea. Personaly I would stay away from motion detection. Too finicky for my liking. A micro switch or magnetic switch is very reliable and can double as one other importaqnt aspect of safety. It can be used to monitor hatches when sailing in bad weather. More for larger vessels with several ports and hatches, but it can give the skipper a visual that all is watertight in bad weather. Home alarm systems are easy to install and as long as you stick with quality, they are fairly fail safe. I think that a 110dB siren activated will scare most intruders away. Not often you have boat alarms go off, so it would certainly gain attention.
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