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security windows

I'm going to be living aboard,continuous cruising, on my own. I'm worried that if I leave my boat for a few days (visiting a relative or something) it may get broken into or the windows smashed. Ive thought about steel shutters for the windows but I've been given estimates at £400 per window and told that its a very awkward thing to install. What do others recommend? I have seen Wocester Marine's replacement windows, which look ideal. You take the glass out and replace it with a 3mm steel insert. Anyone seen these? Any good? Thanks.

Asked by: Carl Young  | 8.21pm, Tuesday 1 May

WW says:

It is difficult to make a boat absolutely secure, even with steel doors and padlocks anyone determined will get in with an angle grinder. The metal window replacements do look good, but it does rather advertise that the boat being left unattended for a few days, unless you put them in whenever you go out!
The glass used for boat windows is usually safety glass and is not easily broken. Bars fixed across windows will stop intruders, and will be cheaper and permanent, rather than having to fit inserts whenever the boat is being left. Portholes are a good compromise; they do not let in quite as much light, but do not allow easy access when broken.
Not leaving the boat on a lonely mooring, but finding places with other boaters will reduce the risk. There are not many places on the canals that are risky to leave boats, and you will soon get a feel for where to moor.

Rupert Smedley  | 11.35PM, Tuesday 1 May

The Worcester Marine panels are very effective- and could just be used on the towpath-side of the boat. However, as Rupert states, it might not be the most convienient way to do it.
One item that seems to go missing more these days are batteries- if you have a semi-trad or cruiser stern, securing these might be more of a priority.
You could fabricate some wooden boards to cover the windows if you want, though ones made of acrylic might be better (and less likely to advertise that you are away from the boat).
Just to reassure you, I continuously cruised my boat around the system over a four-year period, regularly leaving the boat for a week or two. The boat was broken into once- and they stole a waterproof and a bottle of gin...! I also have two spring lines removed, probably by another boater- and considering where the boat had been left that was surprising.
Check your insurance though, as some companies have strict requirements for certain types and numbers of locks/hasps, and/or alarms fitted.

Mark Langley  | 9.52AM, Wednesday 2 May

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