Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Watching Our Backs

In general, Todd and I are very trusting people. We tend not to conduct our lives as if there are thieves lurking in every shadow. We only lock the doors in our house if we’ll be away from it for more than a day. And while I do lock the doors on my car, in the summer it’s soft top season—if someone really wants what’s in the car all they have to do is unzip it and climb in.

We’ve taken the same approach with our boat. We don’t lock it while we are away from it. The main reason why we don’t lock it is because there’s always the chance that we’ll forget a key and go out there just to not be able to get in. The other big reason is that if a burglar is hell-bent on getting into the boat we don’t want them to have to break a very expensive overhead hatch to get around a locked door. In the past we didn’t lock our dinghy, the equivalent of our car, when leaving it at the dock. We’ve kept it in the same spot for seven seasons now, and haven’t had too much trouble. Except for that one time when somebody stole it. It was later discovered floating around in the cove with a rope wrapped around its propeller. Apparently the thief didn’t know enough to keep the rope away from the spinning prop blades and thwarted their own getaway. Then there was that time last season when our gas tank was stolen. So, in seven years we’ve had two incidents. While we’d prefer to have none, two occasions out of seven years isn’t so bad.

We’ve grown very comfortable with leaving the dinghy tied to the dock with the key to the engine secured out of plain sight. This season we filled the gas tank for the dinghy’s outboard engine, and left it at the dock on a Sunday night. We returned on Tuesday after work and noticed that the key to the engine was conspicuously missing. Upon inspection of the gas tank we noticed that half the fuel was gone. Obviously someone had used our engine, traveled quite a distance with that half tank of fuel, and probably kept the key in hopes of using it again some day. We discussed getting a chain and a lock, and lamented having to do that.

We hopped into the dinghy and went out to Sabine’s mooring. While we were on deck one of our neighbors on another sailboat moored in the cove pulled up. The captain informed us that his sailboat had been broken into. The crooks broke the glass hatch on the deck, slipped inside, and took his tools and his foul weather gear. (Good foul weather gear is quite expensive. I recall dropping a few hundred bucks on ours.) He also said that a few other boats had been burgled, and that we should spread the word so everyone in the cove would be on watch.

The guilt washed over me as I thought back to the spent half tank of fuel in our dinghy. What if our carelessness helped our neighbors get robbed?

Over the weekend I slipped another key onto my key ring, which opens a padlock on a chain that secures the dinghy to the dock. I also brought my bicycle lock and tried to secure the outboard motor and gas tank to the inside of the boat, but the lock didn’t fit. I’ll have to get one that is narrower. And I hate that I have to do that.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they used your dinghy to get away, then why would they return it? Very odd...

Stinks that you have to be careful, but odd people are out there who don't care what's yours and what's theirs. Trust me.

July 9, 2009 at 3:44 AM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

I think that they might have used it to ferry the ill gotten gains from the other boats. Or it could have been some punks out for a joy ride. Either way, I am thankful it's been returned.

July 9, 2009 at 7:26 AM  

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