Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Defacing our Outboard

We love our new-to-us Yamaha 2-stroke 15HP outboard motor.  Apparently, so do petty thieves in the Caribbean.  Dinghies and dinghy motors (particularly the 15 horse) are hot ticket items down island these days and we knew several cruisers who got theirs stolen right off the back of their boats and heard cautionary tales of many others.  In order to make our new outboard less of a target, we were advised by a friend to take the "Yamaha 15 HP stickers" off the motor.

As Scott was peeling away the stickers and removing left-over residue with Goo Gone, I had the (literal) bright idea to paint the whole cover canary yellow.  Yellow is the most visible color to spot on the ocean and my thinking was that a thief would be less likely to steal something so...loud.  They say that most petty thieves are simply opportunists.  If that is the case, it is your job to make stealing less of an opportunity and more of a chore.  Give those bad guys a reason to pause.  Most thieves will pass up the tricky jobs.  After all, we're talking about thieves here, they are lazy bottom feeders by nature.  "Work" is not something they enjoy.

So we did it.   We spray painted the cover and it. is. bright.  It will not be hard to recall or spot someone cruising around with this motor.  The addition of the skull and cross bone stickers on either side were last minute details we picked up from the flea market under the influence of afternoon beers.  Arrggggh...


So what to you think?  Did we make our outboard less attractive or more attractive to the thieving set?  And what do you do to make your outboard less appealing to the bad guys?  We got lots of other great ideas and suggestions from friends on our Facebook Page, from painting girly pink to covering with duct tape.  What's your line of defense?

13 comments:

Mike said...

Our "line of defense" is a 10mm stainless steel chain secured with a Kryptonite lock. We upgraded that after a thieves almost hacked their way through the stainless steel cable that was securing our dinghy in St. Lucia. We ALWAYS lock our tender when we leave it unattended.

Mike
http://www.ZeroToCruising.com

PS: Your engine looks awesome now. I'd definitely swipe it. :)

Anonymous said...

I would probably choose to remove the decals but leave it non-descript (just the base original color). Reason being that while I like the idea of making the engine less attractive, I don't like to make it easy for folks on shore to remember which boat my dinghy came from (as in "Oh, the folks from X boat are clearly on shore; I recognize THAT dinghy."

Brittany Meyers said...

@Mike - yes, we also lock up with chain and a kryptonite lock. This is just an "added deterrent" ;)
@ Anon - yeah, we thought about that and that's a great idea too. We were having fun with it and it took a life of it's own ;) But no matter what, when a dinghy is gone from a boat, people know that the people (at least one of them) aren't there, regardless if its nondescript or not.

Carolyn Shearlock - The Boat Galley said...

Lock it. Both when it's on the dink and on the stern rail. We found that those fancy bars tended to rust, but that we could just padlock the ears together.

And I think that making it conspicuous makes it less likely to be taken, but that good preventive measures are the most important.

ja bongo said...

That outboard is so cool. I'm definitely going to swipe it when I see it.

Ben said...

That engine is totally rad. If I were the swiping type, I'd totally swipe it. I'd expect to get beaten with a chain afterwards, but dayum.

Patrick Kiel said...

I think it makes me want to steal it even more! But thats just me! I know no thief wants to be spotted as you will be known the cruisers with the baby and the yellow motor. If it is ever stolen- I guarantee it will soon be found.

My voyage of discovery said...

The New Wi Fi video cameras have a feature that is a motion detector. You set it up as a security camera and when some one approaches the boat or motor the camera is engaged automatically. Your iPhone gets notified and you can watch the thieves steal the motor.
Curtis
www.livingaboardboats.com

Carol Florida U.S.A. said...

Maybe you should put a decal of "Sponge Bob Square Pants" on it to keep the would-be thief from even wanting it . . . they may actually covet the pirate decal!!! I think what Anon. was saying was that it might be a good idea to not "announce" that no one is on board Asante (while you're ashore), since it's more vulnerable when skipper and crew are not around.
I was also going to suggest what Mike was suggesting, about having a strong locking cable (like they have for some computers, but stronger) that somehow was attached to both the motor, and the dinghy, so they couldn't be separated, unless unlocked . . . (but then, I guess they might just take the whole dinghy). Carol Florida U.S.A.

Anonymous said...

Did you clear coat the engine cover when you were done? Otherwise the yellow will fade in the sun much faster than you think...

Laurie said...

I also spray-painted our dinghy motor (also a Yahama 15) with home-made stencil cutouts of our salty dog (a very chatty pit bull). So, while, yes, if you knew our dink, you'd know we were away from the boat. But, you'd also know our Chief Security Officer is waiting for you should you decide to come aboard . . .

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