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Flimsy doors

The boat I'm buying has fairly flinsy doors at the front. They look like if you gave them a good pull they would come open. they do have a deadlock on them but I can't imagine that would withstand much of an attack. I,ve thought about getting them replaced with steel but I think that would be very expensive. Any ideas how I could improve security? Also, I'm looking at alarm systems. The ones that phone up aren't really suitable. i'm looking at a cheap wireless motion detector one that will just make a big noise if someone breaks in. Any thoughts on this or security in general? Thanks.

Asked by: Carl Young  | 12.18am, Sunday 13 May

WW says:

Steel doors are definately more secure than wooden ones; however, how they are fixed is very important.
Well-fixed wooden doors will be more secure than poorly fitted steel ones. Ensuring that the hinges are inward,l rather than external is very important.
Securing the doors with at least two locks is important; fitting a steel bar across the door, fitted with a padlock each side (and rubber mounts to stop it scratching the doors) is a very effective (and fairly unobtrustive) way of securing a door, both fore and aft.
Internal bolts should fit into the recesses both top and bottom on both doors and should be secured into surface bolt plates.
Ensuring that a hatch is not just secured to the door with a hasp and padlock, but also consider drilling and locking the slide, so that the hatch cannot be pushed backwards.
Part of making a boat secure is looking like it is secure; detering thieves to look to other more vunerable fittings.
Motion-sensor alarms can be quite good, however their spread of beams can be quite limited in small, confined spaces like a narrowboat- also bursts of heat (like sunshine) have been known to set them off!
There are some good systems designed for boats, with magnetic catch alarms for doors/hatches, which can be extended to cover engine compartments, battery lockers and so on. Having several sounders can mean that they are more liable to not be overcome.
Having an alarm is good, but you have to think if it wil be heard by anyone- possibly making the boat look more secure, may be more worthwhile than a very expensive alarm.
Also, with low-consumption LED lighting, it might be worth thinking about having a few lamps on timeswitches- especially if you have a solar panel to keep the batteries topped up. Possible some low-level exterior lighting might help as well.
Some people remove cratches and covers when they leave a boat, as these can hide someone trying to get into the boat, allowing a potential burglar to work away unnoticed- no covers means that its harder to hide!
Another thing to consider is that when you leave a boat, try and put all removeable exterior items- such as lifebouys, planks, poles, boathooks- inside the boat to avoid temptation.
If you have valuable exterior fittings, such as brass headlamps, consider using Locktite or similar on the threads, to make them much harder to remove.
You could also etch the windows, fitting, batteries, etc. with the boats BW index number (better than the na,me- future owners might change the name) which would make items harder to sell on- or even if the boat was stolen. Your local neighbourhood watch group might be able to help you out with lending you the stuff to do it.
Also when leaving a boat, secure the mooring lines onboard the boat, rather than at the shore end makes them harder to untie. Mooring to rings, rather than stakes or bollards is often safer- and using chains might be a good addition to using lines (and can be padlocked for the total "security" look!)
Let us know if we can be more specific.
Thankfully, major crime on boats is fairly rare, but everything you can do to avoid a break-in is useful. Making it harder for someone will generally put them off!

Mark Langley  | 1.39PM, Sunday 13 May

WW published two articles about boat security in the March and April 2005 issues. Unfortunately, only the March issue appears to be available to read on line but it should be possible to buy both as back numbers if you ring 01283 742970.

Graham Booth  | 10.31AM, Thursday 17 May

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