Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thievery While Cruising

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida

This weekend I saw a post on the Westsail Forum talking about how to chain your dinghy and motor to your boat at night to protect it from thieves.  "WOW!" I thought, "That concept is so alien to us that it never occurred to us that we could do that."  What makes it so different for us?


  1. To begin, let me say that we are not totally immune to theft or illegal acts.  
  2. In 2001 at Burlington some kids (we think) stole our dinghy from the public dock.  It was recovered at the Burlington Boathouse with a broken oar.  If that oar had not broken, or if we had the motor on board, that dinghy may have disappeared forever.   Read about it here.  
  3. In 2012, someone stole the lock and chain from my bike in New Bern (They stole the chain and left the bike.  That's almost insulting.).  Read about it here.


Neither Libby nor I can think of any other thing stolen from us in the past 10 years.

Another time in 2007, we had three drunken soldiers swim out to where Tarwathie was anchored at 4 AM.  Then they knocked on the hull to see if anyone was there.  It makes an amusing story.  Read about it here.

That's not very much trouble in ten years.  To what do we attribute our success?

  • Luck. A friend Doug had his W32 boarded by thieves one night as he slept on board.  He was anchored in Gloucester Harbor in Mass; a place were we've been with no trouble.   We were lucky, Doug was not.  Read about the "pirate attack" on Doug here.
  • Avoiding certain places.  The north end of Lake Worth in Florida is reputed to be a trouble spot for dinghy theft.  We always skipped that anchorage.   Key West Harbor, ditto.   The end of Boot Key Harbor west of the bridge, ditto.  That's about it.  The places to avoid here on the east coast are very few.
  • Anchor out rather than using marinas.  Whatever thieves are around, 99.9% of them are not going to swim out to your boat at anchor.
  • Don't own anything attractive to thieves in the first place.  If your belongings are old and beat up, they make poor thief bait.
  • Securely lock everything, NOT.   We are very careless.   In the Bahamas I locked the dinghy when ashore, because I heard that it is needed there.  In some marinas (but not all), we lock the companionway door when we are away from the boat for a long time.  But almost all the time, we lock nothing.  Before cruising, I used to brag that I never even carried a key to any of the houses we ever lived in.   It is much the same now.   The only thing I habitually lock is my bicycle when ashore.
The only reason we get away with so few losses while being so careless with our stuff, must be explained by our choices of where to go and where to live.  What else could it be?   We should drop to our knees and give thanks for being so fortunate as to have the opportunity to choose that life.

So, if you're looking for a cruising blog with good tips on how to secure your belongings, this isn't it.





1 comment:

  1. Locks-- Keys and Thieves.. If they were all gone-- We could all have a better life as not having to worry about it..

    I enjoy your Blog-- Thanks for sharing..

    ReplyDelete

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