Prevent Dinghy Motor theft

Aug 22, 2019
59
n/a n/a Galveston
How do you folks keep your outboards from being stolen? Any way to lock it to the boat?
 
Jan 22, 2008
8,050
Beneteau 323 Annapolis MD
We use a vinyl coated ss cable and pad lock. The screw handles have holes in them and they can be locked together preventing the mounting screws from being loosened.
If those screw handles are like most that I've seen, THEY are easier to cut or break than the lock. I'd just take the screw handles off- I think they are held on by split pins?
 

colemj

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Jul 13, 2004
88
Dolphin Catamaran Dolphin 460 Mystic, CT
Agree that using the screw handle holes are not a theft deterrent. Heck, I've broken countless ones over the years just turning them. Certainly, a sharp kick will break them. One of those bars that lock across the handles might be a better way.

We have our outboard bolted to the transom (as per the instruction manual on every outboard I've seen). This doesn't prevent a theft, but it does slow one down as it requires tools and time to remove. If one needs to remove the OB often, undoing bolts probably takes the same amount of time as undoing any other successful locking device.

Most outboard thefts I've come across had the perpetrator simply taking the dinghy away, removing the OB at leisure, and abandoning the dinghy. Makes sense - removing an OB in place takes more time than just zipping away in the dinghy.

Mark
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,942
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
I took a length of double braid, stripped out the core and replaced it with some 7X19 stainless. Nicro pressed a loop each end and lashed the cover to that. Then I'd use a padlock.

Came to the dinghy once to find the cover cut in several spots- I suspect some jackass had a very dull knife :)
If only you could magnetize the cable so the would be thief couldn't get his knife back.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Sep 24, 2018
1,475
O'Day 25 Chicago
A piece of pipe and padlock might prevent a thief from cutting through the threaded part of the clamp. If you were to weld the lock hasp all the way around it'd difficult to get some bolt cutters in there. You will never be able to stop a determined thief. Your goal is to make it difficult enough so they wont want to take it
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RoyS

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Jun 3, 2012
1,214
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
My outboard mounting screw levers have holes near the end that you can simply place a padlock in that connects the two. I suspect most outboards have the same arrangement. Will only prevent lazy thieves not determined ones.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,847
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Thieves are looking for the quick easy grab and get away. Think smash and dash jewelry robberies. All that needs to be done is to slow them down. I had one motor stolen, they didn't take time to disconnect the fuel line, just cut it with a knife.

Thieves also want to be quiet, hitting the handles to break them makes noise.

As mentioned earlier, leaving them on the dinghy and not having the dinghy well secured or lifted out of the water is an invitation. A thief glides up to the dinghy, cuts the painter and tows the dinghy to another location and takes the motor off. If the boat is at anchor or on a mooring, just drift down wind before starting the motor to make a quick getaway.
 
Jul 5, 2005
212
Beneteau 361 Sandusky Harbor Marina
I heard of a guy who screw mounted his engine to his dingy with reverse-thread screws, and maybe even with a screw head that only allowed one-directional turning. (it was a long time ago, and I may be thinking of two different guys) the thought being people are going to be prepared to turn righty-tighty, lefty-loosey, so reverse-threading will be a bit of a hurdle; and the one-directional screw head would require additional equipment.
 

DArcy

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Feb 11, 2017
1,252
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
I took a length of double braid, stripped out the core and replaced it with some 7X19 stainless. Nicro pressed a loop each end and lashed the cover to that. Then I'd use a padlock.

Came to the dinghy once to find the cover cut in several spots- I suspect some jackass had a very dull knife :)
With a setup like that you really should include a video camera to enjoy watching the frustration of the would-be thief :)
 
Oct 1, 2007
1,735
Boston Whaler Super Sport Pt. Judith
The harbors we have been with dinghy docks are all pretty easy targets for thieves to abscond with a dinghy (or 10). Most dinghys are not locked on to the dock, nor are there typically many motor locks in use. A fair number even have the outboard key dangling from the motor. We take a common sense approach by locking the motor to the boat, then running a length of SS wire to a substantial cleat or some such on the float, and lock her on. My thinking is there are so many easy thefts available, why bother with ours? Another idea I have seen that I like is some guys paint their dinghys with international orange, which I imagine would be an effective deterrent as well.
 
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Feb 2, 2006
453
Hunter Legend 35 Kingston
We do as Rick486 does. But we use the the "bar" style motor lock. It's sort of a square "C" shaped metal channel that slides over the motor clamp handles (they need to be turned until they align horizontally), and incorporates a keylock that is sort of hidden inside the "C" channel. It's simple and a big step up from a basic cable lock on the motor. The lock and the relatively weak clamp handles are enclosed in a much stronger steel protection sleeve.
 
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Oct 1, 2007
1,735
Boston Whaler Super Sport Pt. Judith
We do as Rick486 does. But we use the the "bar" style motor lock. It's sort of a square "C" shaped metal channel that slides over the motor clamp handles (they need to be turned until they align horizontally), and incorporates a keylock that is sort of hidden inside the "C" channel. It's simple and a big step up from a basic cable lock on the motor. The lock and the relatively weak clamp handles are enclosed in a much stronger steel protection sleeve.
Yes, exactly our rig also. Makes our dinghy look tougher than most, as is yours, so the bad guys look elsewhere.
 
May 25, 2012
3,844
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
i never leave the engine on the dingy, ever. always put it away.
never lost one yet
 
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Tom J

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Sep 30, 2008
2,004
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Securing our expensive and lightweight Torqeedo on the dinghy is a challenge. I do lock the two clamp handles together, but anyone knowledgeable about Torqeedo's knows the battery is held in place by a plastic pin, and is easily removed. Often, I will carry the battery with me on extended trips ashore, but for short trips, I secure the pin in place with a length of SS cable and a padlock.
 

CarlN

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Jan 4, 2009
577
Ketch 55 Bristol, RI
I have one of the Stazo locks. I carefully lubricated it every year but one year I forgot and it corroded locked. After lots of treatment with PB Blaster, I broke the key off deep in the "pick proof" lock. I'm going to try to ease the broken key out but if that fails I'll have to go at it with heavy artillery. So great lock but don't forget to grease it.

And in 40 years of cruising the US East Coast and Bahamas, I have never had a dinghy or outboard stolen. I only lock the dinghy in obviously risky areas. I did fail to tie it up right a few times and it drifted off on it's own. I think a lot of the "dinghy thefts" are that...
 

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