Motorboat & Yachting: Boat owners in Hampshire have been warned to be on their guard after a spate of outboard thefts.
Boat owners are being urged to stay vigilant following a ‘spike in thefts’ of large outboard engines. Aside from the ‘year-round’ theft of small outboard motors, of less than 20hp, marine police have noted an increase in larger motors of 200 to 350hp.
Sergeant Damon Kennard, from Hampshire Constabulary’s Marine Unit, said: ‘We’ve had a bit of a spike and what’s unusual is that 350 horsepower big outboards stolen, predominantly from the back of RIBs. At this time of year they’re all taken from trailers or drystacks.
‘It’s early days but we think it’s probably organized criminal gangs, these are not just opportunistic thefts.
‘People are coming and moving through a region, looking for high value outboards.
‘One weighed nearly 400kg, you can’t just turn up on your own to steal things like that.’
Sgt Kennard said another unusual aspect is that marine police hadn’t yet been able to recover any of the 25 stolen outboards along the Hampshire, Dorset and surrounding coast over the past year.
He said: ‘We go to all the car boots and jumbles, we monitor eBay, the best guess is they’re going overseas. Speaking to our contacts in the marine insurance industry the consensus is that they’re all going overseas.
‘It’s unusual, normally one or two would turn up.’
Sgt Kennard said the only large stolen outboard that did turn up was found in Germany.
Boat owners with high-value outboards are advised to check them throughout the winter.
It is suspected that thieves visit boatyards and ‘take all the bolts and nuts and pieces off’ then return the same night or a few days later with a van.
Sgt Kennard urged boat owners: ‘Check your outboard hasn’t been tampered with. If it has, let us know.
‘A lot of people put covers on, leave the RIB on a drystack and forget about it. If you have a spare day, it’s not a bad idea to go and check on it.’
With some 260 miles of coastline to cover, Sgt Kennard said it was hard for the Hampshire marine police unit to know which boatyard would be targeted next to catch the criminals red-handed.
He said: ‘They turn up, take an engine and then two weeks later another engine goes missing 20 miles down the coast.’
Boaters are being encouraged to assist police by reporting any suspicious activity by emailing email@example.com or calling 101 and quoting Project Kraken.
Yachting Boating World: Being the victim of boat theft is a nasty experience so we’ve got our top 10 tips on how to keep both your vessel and your belongings safe.
Whether big or small, marine crime has a big impact on its victims and can generate fear among boating communities. The first step to tackling the problem is ensuring that you’ve done everything you can to protect yourself from boat theft.
The following tips should help you to have peace of mind that you’ve left your boat and its belongings as secure as they can be.
1. Never leave anything valuable on display, this includes items lose in the cockpit or on deck such as rope and fenders.
2. If you can, take any valuables off the boat with you, or make sure you lock them away and keep the curtains drawn when the boat is empty so thieves can’t see inside. If you’re unable to take some items with you, ensure you mark them and photographs of the item.
3. Stickers stating that all valuables have been removed from the boat is also another good deterrent.
4. Make sure you use strong padlocks to secure any cupboards. Fit good strong locks and hinges where possible and invest in an alarm if one can be placed on the vessel.
5. Keep your life raft and engine secure as these are some of the most valuable items on your boat. You can get locks specifically designed for outboard engines that hold up against strong attempts at removal.
6. If you need to step away from the ignition, always take the key with you.
7. Keep a list of all the serial numbers on valuables like your radio, navigation equipment or outboard engine. In the event that your boat is broken into, you’ll have copies to pass the police, making it easier for them to trace stolen items back to you. It’s also worth making a note of any scratches or marks your equipment has, as it could help identify it in the event it is stolen.
8. Mark everything you buy for your boat with your postcode and contact details.
9. Keep your boat keys separate to your engine keys, so should either of them be stolen, a thief won’t have access to both.
10. Make sure you’re part of the Boatmark scheme, which will see your boat given an electronic tag, programmed with a unique 14-character Hull Identification Number.
If you’re concerned about theft in your area, consider setting up a watch with your local sailing club or motor group so that vessels are checked over regularly. Frequent patrols should also help deter thieves from targeting you in the first place.
Those who do become victims of marine crime are encouraged to contact their local police force on 101. In the event that anything is stolen from your boat, it’s worth checking sites such as eBay and Gumtree in case whoever stole your property attempts to sell it on. You should contact the police if you recognise any items being sold online that you believe to be yours.
Motorboat & Yachting: A large marina fire in the Boston suburb of Quincy destroyed 11 boats and sank three, although no-one was injured.
Firefighters were unable to save 11 boats that were destroyed in a marina fire in the Boston suburb of Quincy last week (October 8).
The blaze started at around 0730 local time and quickly spread along the dock of Captain’s Cove Marina to neighbouring vessels.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway, but eyewitness reports suggest it began as an engine fire, which eventually sent 50ft plumes of smoke into the morning air.
No-one was injured, but a young couple who had been living aboard their boat were left homeless as a result.
Boatowner Tamara Silvia told local news provider NECN: “We just sold everything to do this. We have nothing left now.”
The 11 vessels consumed by the marina fire ranged in size from 18ft to 30ft and divers began salvage efforts on Thursday afternoon.
Gary Smyth, deputy chief at Quincy Fire Department said: “We were very limited because we only had one side to fight the fire from, so we took a defensive stance.”
Pratical Boat Owner: Four people were abducted late on 21 September from the Ocean View Resort on Samal island, near Davao City, the largest city on Mindanao island in the southern Philippines.
Cruising sailors’ website Noonsite has received an eye witness statement about the kidnapping that happened at Holiday Ocean View Marina on Samal island.
The four people abducted on the night of 21 September were Canadian John Ridsdel of the catamaran Aziza, Canadian Robert Hall and his Filipino partner of the yacht Renova, and the marina’s Norwegian yard manager Kjartan Sekkingstad of yacht Wiskun.
Cruiser Luc Callebaut of SY Slopemouche, who is currently berthed in the marina, reports:
At about 23:20 on Monday night, 21 September 2015, the marina and boat yard on Samal Island, Davao, Philippines, was attacked by a group of about 10 armed and as yet unidentified men, apparently intent on taking four hostages.
It was a difficult situation with two cruisers hurt and others badly frightened by the altercations on the docks.
It appeared from the CCTV camera footage that after landing on the NE corner of the outer breakwater in two local boats, the group of armed men split up and spread out into the facility including the two marina docks.
Two cruisers that were still awake were taken from each dock. Two other cruisers that resisted were hurt, not seriously, but were not taken.
Included in those taken was the yard manager, who was responding to cries for help from the docks.
The two guards on the property were unable to respond in time to prevent the abductions. The incident was over and the group had boarded their boats and escaped with the four hostages, within about 15 minutes.
Not long afterwards, the police, military and island officials arrived and a search was initiated. Shortly after that, the bottom of Davao Gulf was sealed off by a Navy and Coast Guard blockade, and the military had search units combing the Gulf of Davao shores for the boats.
The following afternoon the two boats used by the armed men were found abandoned on the Davao Gulf eastern shore and the search and tracking efforts are continuing. No positive identification of the persons involved has been made and no group has as yet claimed responsibility.
The incident has drawn the attention of the world media, and the President of the Philippines has made the recovery of the hostages one of his top priorities. All of the Philippine military and police services are involved in the search.
During a meeting held by the marina owners on 23 September, the resident cruisers were given a briefing on the status of the investigation and the search for the hostages. Also, they were given a description of the substantial planned security improvements for the facilities, including a possible permanent military contingent, all to be supervised by a new staff security manager.
Because of the absence of the yard manager, temporary yard and marina managers will be appointed in the near future so that the facilities can remain open for business.
In summary, the Holiday Ocean View Marina and yard facilities here on Samal Island remain intact and will continue business as usual. In view of the unexpected incident, the security will be greatly improved with facility upgrades and additional guards and training.
None of the 50-plus boats currently in the marina have plans to leave because of this incident. The location of the marina south of the NW Pacific typhoon zone and the quality of facilities and surrounding area are considered too good to move elsewhere.
For anyone reading this that had plans to come to the marina in the next few months, they should contact the marina at Info@HolidayOceanViewMarina.com in order to confirm their intentions.
A reader’s question about drilling acrylic is answered by one of PBO’s experts.
Are there any special things I should know about drilling acrylic? I want to drill some holes quite close to the edge of a piece around 8mm thick. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
DICK EVERITT REPLIES:
Special acrylic drilling bits are ideal, but I’ve managed with ordinary twist drills. Practise on a scrap piece of acrylic and if there is a tendency for the drill to dig in and chip the surface, grind the drill’s cutting edges back a bit. Simply flatten them against the side of the grinding wheel, as shown in the photo.
A drill press is great for keeping everything square, but a manual or powered hand drill also works fi ne. Clamp the acrylic down carefully, being careful not to scratch the surface, and have a scrap piece of acrylic or hardwood underneath.
This gives the right resistance to the drill point as it keeps cutting and prevents the sides of the drill from bursting through and chipping the edge of the hole. Use a slow speed, drill a pilot hole and make a circular dam of plasticine around the hole to hold water to lubricate and cool the job.
Work slowly and keep taking the load off the drill so it doesn’t heat up and crack the plastic. If the hole is for a bolt, drill it slightly oversize and rub off the sharp edges with a countersink or larger drill, to prevent stresses building up as you clamp everything down.
There are all sorts of acrylic plastics: some drill like soft cheese, others seem to work-harden and always want to chip, so good luck!
PBO’s free Ask the Experts service for readers calls on the help of 16 professionals, all with different specialisms.