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Old 04-12-2011, 06:24   #1
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Chain to Lock Dinghy ?

What kind / grade of chain do I want to get to both lock the dingy motor to the RIB and to also lock the RIB? I heard grade 80 but seems not available in SS. And when you go to shore, do I need to worry about locking the dingy to something? Headed for FL and the Bahamas.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:37   #2
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Re: chain to lock dingy??

I would use 3/8 BBB. Nice shape to the links. Paint the links a startling day-glo orange. Don't bother to lock the motor in Miami, they chain saw the motor off the transom. Let them have the motor. At least you can row back to the boat.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:00   #3
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Re: chain to lock dingy??

I used a length of 1/8" to 3/16" dia. 7x19 SS wire (aircraft cable).
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:10   #4
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Re: chain to lock dingy??

there are more people out there with boltcutters than there are with cable cutters.
so i use plastic coated cable.
but with cable you find yourself committed to a set length, its not a problem if you lock to the same dock and have a set system.
chain links offer more locking options.
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:31   #5
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Re: Chain to Lock Dinghy ?

I prefer wire inside rope. Then it doesn't cause rust spots, is easier to handle, it can be long so that you aren't antisocial at the dinghy dock, and there's a certain comedy to someone trying to cut it like it's rope and finding that there's wire inside:

- Take an old ~1/2" dual core halyard
- Pull out the inner core
- Push a stainless 7x19 wire through the outer core
- Pound on swages and thimbles on the ends
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:38   #6
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Re: Chain to Lock Dinghy ?

use a dink that is not desirable-- then you wont have the problem. my walker bay is not hit when the bandidos go hunting.
latest thing here was the invasion of a boat to steal both outboard engines from the cruisers farthest out from club nautico. no one shopped my stuff as i havent anything appearing desirable. good luck/ shiny attracts rats. engines are needed for panga fishermnen. therefore engines will need extra surveillance. everywhere.
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:56   #7
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Re: Chain to Lock Dinghy ?

We went through a few bycicle cables, but the problem with them was that once the water got under the plastic, the cable started to rust. Fast.

Now we have a solution similar to the one suggested by msponer, but we got an already made 15' thick cable inside a rope made by Ronstan from Defender (can't find it on their website now...). It's worked for us for the last 3 years and is still fine.

Regarding having a not very noticeable dinghy - sometimes people just take dinghies at the end of the night after the bars close to get to their boats. We've seen people ending up without their dinghies just for one night, but it's still not pleasant to not be able to get to your boat without swimming at 3 or 4 am...

For the engine we know of two options:

1. Just use a padlock that you fasten through the holes on the screws that hold your engine to the transom. Make sure that the padlock is water and rust proof. We use Masterlock. Even so, spray WD-40 into it generously every month.

2. Buy a bar that slides over the engine to transom screws and lock that. Apply WD-40 to the lock (that is of course rust proof).

But remember, people who are really after your engine or dinghy, will do so in any case. We saw a dinghy in Nassau with a hole at the top of the transom. People just took a part of the transom together with the engine.
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:51   #8
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Re: chain to lock dingy??

Originally Posted by endoftheroad View Post
there are more people out there with boltcutters than there are with cable cutters.
so i use plastic coated cable.
Gotta disagree here! Cable cutters that will deal with the typical dinghy cable are cheap and fit in your pocket. Bolt cutters that will cut chain are bigger, more expensive and more obvious to the passer-by.

At any rate, we've used a 8 metre length of 3/16 inch PC chain in the dink for years, both as part of the anchoring setup and as a locking chain when required. The longish bit of chain on the anchor is useful when leaving the dinghy near coral when diving. Gives one more confidence that the dink will still be there on our return!


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II, lying Port Cygnet Tasmania once again.
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Old 06-12-2011, 13:05   #9
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Re: Chain to Lock Dinghy ?

I use 3/16" plastic coated SS wire rope, A large loop swaged on one end and a small loop on the other if I need to tie up short I put both ends on the padlock, if I need more length I pass one loop through the other and padlock the small loop to the boat. With a 15' wire I have two lengths 15' or 7.5'. A small SS chain to lock the engine.
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Old 06-12-2011, 20:58   #10
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Re: Chain to Lock Dinghy ?

Because I sell chain and cable I've had a lot of experience cutting it. There is hardened chain available that is said to require an abrasive cut off wheel to cut but it rusts. Stainless steel is almost as hard to cut. Bigger is better what ever you choose.
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Old 06-12-2011, 22:11   #11
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Re: Chain to Lock Dinghy ?

I quit believing in cables and chains to lock up my Harley. I now believe in good insurance policies. These are the current state of the art for locking up a bike.

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Old 06-12-2011, 23:12   #12
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Re: Chain to Lock Dinghy ?

I also beleave in a good insurance policy but still use ss locks and a short cable to the dingy and about 2 ft of 3/8 anchor chain to lock the dingy to the davits. I think most thiefs are looking for more than a 2.5 hp motor and a 9.5 ft dingy just for there trouble ( too slow ). At the docks I use a cable and ss lock to lock the dingy to the dock ( usually wood ). So far I have only had trouble at Avalon on Catalina Island with anyone moving/borrowing our dingy.
I've had comments about locking our dingy to a dingy dock: I was ask "why use a lock in the San juan Islands" but the water is cold and swimming to our boat is out most of the year.
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Old 07-12-2011, 00:10   #13
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How important to keep the dinghy?

When we brought our first dinghy/outboard the dealer suggested that it was the outboard that the thieves would be after, not the boat.

It really depends how much you want to keep them.

If you really, really want to it sounds like some 3/8 hardened steel chain wrapped round the motor , padlocked and then padlocked to something solid with big SS padlocks could be the way to go.

Just have to accept that the chain will rust and look bad. Could always get it galvanized it you really want to give the thieves a big surprise.

Gunna be heavy, though.
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Old 07-12-2011, 00:18   #14
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Re: Chain to Lock Dinghy ?

We found a 20 foot long S/S wire ideal. As others say with one big and one small swaged loop, we too attached it to the outboard padlock, threading it through a dock (or deck) cleat as well as the fuel tank handle - to stop that going walkabout also.
Only ever had one theft - some bugger stole our fuel line! Sad to say I strongly suspect it was another cruiser but not much you can do to save that!
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