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Security for CC’s
Sunday,17 March, 2013
7:35 pm
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martyn jones
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Hi All,

As I’m looking to collect my boat within the next week I’ve been thinking (amongst a thousand other things) about the security of the boat when you are not on board as I will generally be moored on the towpath and not in a marina. Now I have a huge staffy (soft as hell) but looks intimidating, to say the least, so I guess that would deter most people.

 

Do any of you have alarms fitted? if so, what type’s…..internal motion sensers wouldn’t be a lot of use to me (with the dog) can anyone give me any suggestions as to what can be fitted to put my mind at rest when I’m not on board?….guess I’m just a natural worrier.

 

Cheers Martyn

Sunday,17 March, 2013
8:31 pm
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Will your dog be on the boat when you’re not there? Would he/she bark if anyone interfered with the boat? A dog barking is usually enough to dissuade an opportunist burglar.

Prevention is better than cure though so make sure that when you leaveyour boat that there’s nothing of value on show. And with that in mind, don’t moor in areas where there is a large amount of foot traffic. Substantial locking bars and padlocks can also deter potential thieves.

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Sunday,17 March, 2013
9:17 pm
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martyn jones
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Hi Paul,

 

No, it’s very rare he barks (probably a good thing with people walking past) I will have a warning picture put on the front door (probably the wrong term used there) I understand all the general and normal security measures but was interested if anyone had additional electronic security devices, if indeed they are available and would be of benefit for someone in my position.

 

Cheers Martyn

Sunday,17 March, 2013
9:56 pm
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Hi, I stumbled across the following website that offers electronic security using GPS and GSM. Mind you i expect it would consume some more valuable power.

 

http://www.boatwarden.com/?gcl…..tAod7hcAEg

Monday,18 March, 2013
12:09 am
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Poole, Dorset, UK
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These security tips came from an insurance site:

Nobody wants to see their beloved boat become a crime scene so it’s worth investing some time and money to ensure your craft is not an easy target, especially if you are away from it for any length of time while it is moored.

Boat security starts with your choice of mooring. Well run marinas with a gated and access controlled environment might cost money but you’ll be rewarded with peace of mind. In such a predictable setting, basic security precautions such as locking your boat when you are away will suffice.

But those moored in unsupervised marinas or along the canal need to take more serious security measures. These become especially important for craft moored on the towpath side in inner urban areas. Country moorings have also been the victims of crime, with boats in some remote locations being targeted by thieves.

A boat is a car and a house combined when it comes to security, so many of the common sense rules that apply to your home and vehicle are also good practice afloat. Things like keeping valuables out of sight, and preferably off the boat altogether, when you are away. Shut the curtains, especially on the towpath side, to stop people looking into your boat. Secure anchors, gangplanks, ropes and gas bottles – there’s lowlife out there that will help themselves to almost anything!

The doors and hatches are an important part of your security measures. Fit them all with good quality locks, hasps and padlocks. Make sure the doors are made of sturdy stuff, solid wood or sheet steel is best and metal skins will add toughness to weaker timber doors. For high crime areas, installing steel door bars gives castle-style security and most thieves will turn and seek an easier steal when seeing a boat fitted with that level of protection!

Windows are often a security weak spot on a narrowboats. Many boat owners fit lockable shutters to protect them from forced entry or vandalism. A bit of welding and fabrication is needed to fit the shutter mounts but it’s a job worth doing if your windows present a tempting target to the local yobs.

A boat can be alarmed and immobilised. Many electronic security systems exist at a wide range of prices. The simplest systems use movement sensors linked to loud alarms but pricier systems can send you a text message if they detect an attempted break in. If you have a shore-power hook-up, consider cctv. There’s a wide range of web-enabled cameras available that can record any suspicious activity at your mooring. Footage can even be viewed remotely on an iPad, mobile phone or computer.

When mooring in populated areas, consider using chains to tie up your boat. The juvenile prank of casting off a moored boat is one that apparently entertains enough people to make it a big problem in some areas.

Finally, fuel is expensive and easy to steal so fitting a lockable filler cap is a sensible security upgrade.

Securing your boat might start to look expensive if you go for even half of the options listed here. But you can always add your security measures one by one and spread the cost over a period of time. Anything you do to make your boat a harder target will make it more secure and will give you extra peace of mind – and that’s something well worth spending some time and money on!

I’ve been burgled a couple of times on land, and it’s not at all nice, so I’m wondering how prevalent canal/boat crime actually is and whether any of the good folks on the forums have suffered?

Cheers,

Blakie Smile

Poole, Dorset … not a canal in sight, but I’m not going to be here for long … Anupadin

Monday,18 March, 2013
1:27 pm
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When I started living on my boat I subscribed to Smartwater. Just under £60 per year. It’s fairly inexpensive and hopefully makes the boat less attractive. 

Monday,18 March, 2013
1:32 pm
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Surely with Smartwater you have to advertise the fact that your goods are protected? Do you have signs on the outside of your boat?

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Monday,18 March, 2013
2:35 pm
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Poole, Dorset, UK
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Smartwater is a really good idea, but I’ve always have the feeling that it’s almost advertising that you have stuff worth breaking in for.

What I would like to find is something that deters the little bu**ers from breaking in in the first place, and I can’t think of anything that will stop anyone determined, and who has nothing to lose.

I was very interested in Paul’s comment about mooring away from places with high footfall. I fondly imagined that having people around might be a deterrent in itself, but i guess the more people that pass the boat, the more likely that one (or more) of them will see it as a target.

How sad that we even have to talk about an issue like this.

Cheers,

Blakie Smile

Poole, Dorset … not a canal in sight, but I’m not going to be here for long … Anupadin

Monday,18 March, 2013
7:00 pm
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I’ve got signs on windows and doors, but, I get your point about stuff inside the boat. However I have a tv aerial and satellite dish up anyway in most of the places that I stop which would give a clue that it might be worth breaking into so I thought Smartwater might be a bit of a deterrent.    I was watching a documentary about guns in the US and one guy said that the sound of a pump action shotgun was the best burglar alarm U could get. I was wondering if it would be possible to link a recording of a shotgun to a motion detector. 

Tuesday,19 March, 2013
8:34 am
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Leaving your boat appearing it is occupied I think is a good idea. Especially after dark. Leave one or two lights on, especially the low power LED ones, which use very little power.

A few people use these which give the impression of someone watching TV. They are available in both 240v and battery powered versions and use little power.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fake-T…..escription

 

Ken

Sunday,7 April, 2013
2:36 pm
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martyn jones said
Hi All,

As I’m looking to collect my boat within the next week I’ve been thinking (amongst a thousand other things) about the security of the boat when you are not on board as I will generally be moored on the towpath and not in a marina. Now I have a huge staffy (soft as hell) but looks intimidating, to say the least, so I guess that would deter most people.

 

Do any of you have alarms fitted? if so, what type’s…..internal motion sensers wouldn’t be a lot of use to me (with the dog) can anyone give me any suggestions as to what can be fitted to put my mind at rest when I’m not on board?….guess I’m just a natural worrier.

 

Cheers Martyn

Hi Martyn

 

I know your post was a while back but I have just seen Paul’s article on security where he mentioned boat security again. Well, I have a standard house type burglar alarm in my boat Beatrice. Its a Scantronic 9448 control panel. I was lucky enough to have alarm cable already run to the back and front doors (stern & bow then!). I wired in a PIR next to the panel. The panel resides inside a small cupboard next to the front double doors. The power comes from the boat 12v supply. What I did was to connect the boat 12v to the panels 12v battery terminals and not have a back up battery in the panel at all. I have no 240v power supply connected to the panel. So, the panel runs in power fail all the time but with one heck of a back up battery. I don’t use the alarm so much now I am in a safe marine (see Paul’s comments on this) but when I did, it used hardly any power whatsoever. I have an 80W solar panel on the boat (soon to be replaced with 2 x 100W panels – another story) and when the boat was left for a few weeks, with the solar switched on, the batteries were fully charged when the boat was left for a few weeks. I do not use an external sounder (bell box) but a very loud internal sounder. So loud, you couldn’t really hang around and thieves do like being noticed.

 

I do have experience in these things as I had a security business for 18 years before I sold last year and can vouch that this method works fine. Another solution would be a professional wireless kit such as a Visonic (http://www.ebay.co.uk/ctm/Viso…..Alarm-Kit-). One thing I do not know is whether the Visonic panel likes being on power fail (battery power) all the time. I imagine you can still set the panel even if it means changing something in programming to ignore power fail or such like. This kit has pet tolerant PIR’s but I would only trust these with a small dog who remains at floor level. All PIR’s can have the bottom of the lens masked off and then mounted at chest height which means the PIR only looks across at a single flat ‘beam’ so ignoring pets below the ‘beam’ I say ‘beam’ but PIR’s detect infra red heat, not send out a beam but you get my meaning, I think.

 

Hope this helps but message me if any tech help required. remember that with a wired alarm, you need a cable from the panel to each door and perhaps a distant PIR on a long boat. Not always an easy job.

RobSmile

Sunday,7 April, 2013
4:56 pm
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A very useful post Rob. Thank you.

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Tuesday,9 April, 2013
7:16 am
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I’ve just received an email from James and Rosemary Ellis regarding security. Here’s their list of suggestions…

 

Try:
  • noisy dog
  • loud notices
  • flashing lights
  • loud alarms
  • toughened glass
  • difficult locks
  • keeping everything close
  • avoiding loose talk
  • avoiding wealthy appearance
  • a baseball bat
  • threat of direct connection to police (?)
  • totally hidden valuables
  • apparent or actual cctv
Many of these are free to use!

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Tuesday,9 April, 2013
10:51 am
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Poole, Dorset, UK
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Hi Folks,

Following this thread, and reading The Water Road, in which Paul Gogarty often mentions violence (stone throwing) and theft, though little seems to actually happen to him, makes me wonder how much the good members of the forum have experienced?

I still remember the shock of becoming involved in a pub brawl in Aberdaron in deepest North Wales. There were far more sheep than people around the place (the town, not the pub) so when the local youth started fighting with a policemen who had just popped in for a swift half, it was a huge surprise and rather disconcerting, although we all escaped unharmed.

I guess I still see the canals as a little piece of ‘perfect Britain’ and would love to keep those rose-tinted glasses on as long as possible. Are you going to burst my bubble?

Cheers,

Blakie Smile

Poole, Dorset … not a canal in sight, but I’m not going to be here for long … Anupadin

Tuesday,9 April, 2013
1:40 pm
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I think that providing you follow the excellent advice given in this thread, and providing that you are always aware of your immediate surroundings and the people in it, you’ll be absolutely fine. There’s always trouble to be had wherever you go. It’s how you anticipate it before it happens, and how you deal with it if it does that counts.

You need to utilise one of the greatest assets of the canal network, the boat owners who travel it. It’s great to stop and talk to fellow boaters at locks, and there’s a great opportunity to find out what’s ahead by talking to the people travelling in the opposite direction to you. They’ll be able to tell you where to moor and where to steer clear of, where the good pubs and restaurants are… and where the bored teenagers with the piles of bricks hang out. The time you travel through urban areas will also determine whether you experience problems at not. The idiots on the towpaths don’t like to get out of bed early so if there’s an area that you’ve been told to be wary of, try passing through it at a time when there are likely to be few troublemakers about.

There are occasional problems for boat owners on the cut, but certainly no more than you would face on dry land. Don’t let the prospect of being on the receiving end of acts by people of low intelligence affect your boating any more than it would affect what you do in any other area of your life.

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Tuesday,9 April, 2013
4:51 pm
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Hi folks

Whilst I understand Paul’s reasons for wanting to play down the negative aspects of crime and yobbishness on the canals and whilst I also realise that the waterways are no more dangerous than anywhere else and significantly less so than many inner city areas, I, like Blakie, would be interested in other members’ experiences, where they happened and how they dealt with/protected themselves against them.

I know this is a contentious topic for a site which aims to highlight the positives of a life afloat and I most definitely don’t want my rose tinted glasses taken off but I think we have to accept that this is an issue which could affect any of us and potentially spoil our idyll.

I’m sure crime is not rife on the cut and the last thing we want is a massive list of terrible events which would put people off buying a boat, but surely “forewarned is forearmed”.

On that note, could I suggest a completely separate thread where the more experienced boaters among us can share their experiences so that we can get a picture of the frequency/types of problems and perhaps an idea of which areas to avoid.

It would also help people like myself, who are intending to have a boat built, so we can have whatever necessary security measures designed into the electrical system.

Cheers

 

John

Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.

Wednesday,10 April, 2013
7:40 am
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OK. Here goes. Here’s all the nasty stuff I’ve either heard about or experienced myself on the cut. Just to be absolutely transparent though, I have to admit to not cruising very much at all. I’ve spent the last three years refurbishing and living on a very tired, formerly very grand, narrowboat built in 1977. However, I have done a little cruising and I do speak to a huge number of boat owners and holiday hirers who cruise on a regular basis.

In our part of the network near Calcutt’s base in south Warwickshire, the problems are few and far between.

I have been threatened once and it wasn’t by a towpath yob. It was a fellow boat owner who, in the middle of a loud and abusive argument with his wife, wouldn’t allow me to share the lock with him. When our hirers return to the wharf at the end of their holiday, we meet them in the lock so that we can reverse the boats into a tight space on the wharf. The abusive boat owner had set the lock up, brought his boat in and was about to close the gate behind him. I pointed out that one of our boats was just behind him and then started to open the gate to allow if to come into the lock next to Mr. Abusive.

“Oi!”, he yelled, “It’s my f******g lock. I set it up and I don’t want your boat in here with me. If you don’t close the gate, I’m going to wrap this windlass round your f*******g head!” I don’t like bullies, especially when the bully is a little fat man with a foul mouth. I continued to open the gate, brought the boat in and stood next to him while the lock emptied.I didn’t hear another word from him.

The none confrontational approach would have been to let him have his way and take the lock on his own. The situation could have escalated into a fight. If I had been on my own boat, cruising without a timetable, I would have let him have his way and waited until the lock was free again. However, it was a particularly busy day for the hire fleet, we had nine boats to prepare for the afternoon and we didn’t have the time to hang about.

The development of any potentially nasty situation you find yourself in depends on how you approach it. Most of the time, if you take a firm but none confrontational approach you won’t have any problems. Prevention is better than cure though, so being acutely aware of the potential trouble hotspots is very important.

We debrief all of our holiday hirers when they return from their cruise. We hear about all the highs and lows they experience. Very few of them report any problems. I can only remember one occasion when stone throwing has been reported. There have been several reports of boats being cast adrift late at night when moored in town or city centres. Our hire boats regularly travel down the south Oxford as far as Oxford, through Birmingham on a circuit of the Warwick Ring or on the popular mainly lock free route up to the Ashby canal. Problems, when they do occur, are mainly in urban areas. Our cruising routes are mostly rural.

That’s my experience and that of Calcutt Boats’ holiday hirers. I’m hoping that some of the site’s regular or continuous cruisers will add their anecdotes.

 

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Wednesday,10 April, 2013
11:44 am
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Thanks Paul.

We’ve all met those little men with big boats (or cars) and know what that is supposed to represent.

Albeit that you don’t cruise a lot yourself, you do meet a ton of people who do, so to have such a short list of ‘incidents’ is rather encouraging.

Let’s see what others have to add, or indeed not. I’d be just as interested to hear that people have been liveaboards for 40 years and never had any cause for concern.

Cheers,

Blakie Smile

Poole, Dorset … not a canal in sight, but I’m not going to be here for long … Anupadin

Wednesday,10 April, 2013
4:08 pm
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Yes, thanks Paul,

As Blakie has said, your conversations with your hire boaters will glean lots of useful information and like Blakie, I too would love to hear of long term liveaboards who have had no trouble whatsoever. That will definitely add to the tint in my glasses Laugh

 

Cheers

 

John

 

Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.

Wednesday,10 April, 2013
5:46 pm
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I’ve just spoken to one of the guys in the office here at Calcutt. He’s owned narrowboats for the last 20 years, cruises for at least six weeks, often longer, every year and has cruised most of the system. In all that time he’s had just one incident. A balloon full of water was dropped on his boat from a bridge. I think I could live with that!

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