Discourage Dinghy Thieves!

Nothing can stop a really determined thief from stealing your dinghy, I’ll admit.  But you want to make it as hard as possible.  And I learned a neat trick from Denis Oudard when we were aboard Beagle Knot.

Denis and LaDonna have a Porta-Bote with no motor — Denis rows it everywhere!  But he acknowledges that it can be an attractive target when left on a beach when they’re shopping.  Often there’s nothing even to chain it to!  And some who are intrigued by it may not really be thieves, but kids who want to take it out and play with it.  While their intentions may not be malicious, you really don’t want them taking your “car.”

Denis came up with such a simple solution: he takes the oarlocks with him.

Without the oarlocks — even though the oars are in the boat — it’s going to be hard for anyone to take the boat very far.  Obviously, you want to take other security measures, but this is just a little added precaution.

I heartily recommend pulling any dinghy out of the water at night — whether you put it on deck, hanging from davits or hanging from a halyard, it only takes a few minutes.  We’ve known several people who have had dinghies in the water stolen in the middle of the night, but none who have had them out of the water (not saying it couldn’t happen but again, making it a less attractive target).

I'd like to know about...

Explore more

Want weekly tidbits of cruising information? Sign up for The Boat Galley's free weekly newsletter. You'll get the newest articles and podcasts as well as a few relevant older articles that you may have missed.

Do you find The Boat Galley useful? You can support the site when you buy from Amazon by using the links on this site or clicking below. No extra cost for you!

11 Comments
  • Mike Robinson
    Posted at 28 February 2014 Reply

    Another option I have seen for hard dingies: Cut a hole in the bottom of the dingy and install an inspection plate, say 4 or 6 inches. Then remove the plate an carry it with you while ashore.

    • Chris
      Posted at 07 July 2015 Reply

      Dont use the inspection hatches in an off-shore fast dinghy. The hatch shall not take the pounding. Additionally, the ‘outside’ shall be face up and the ridged supports shall be on the underside of the dinghy ready to be trashed when you drag the dinghy up the beach. It cannot be installed the other way up either otherwise you would not be able to screw-unscrew or remove it without being under the dinghy. I have read about this previously but in reality it does not work. I accept that this might work for a small, light weight, slow, hard bottomed dinghy.

  • David Hoevel
    Posted at 28 February 2014 Reply

    Like the guys idea to put a waterproof hatch in the bottom. Unscrew and take the hatch with you.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 28 February 2014 Reply

      Works IF you pull the dinghy all the way out of the water. But if it’s left floating at a dinghy dock . . .

  • Bill J
    Posted at 04 March 2014 Reply

    Paint it orange

  • Janice
    Posted at 05 March 2014 Reply

    What are oarlocks?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 05 March 2014 Reply

      Oarlocks are the metal pieces that hold the oars. They are usually removeable.
      Oarlock

      • Janice
        Posted at 05 March 2014 Reply

        Well, I feel like an idiot! I was thinking more of a lock. LOL

  • Marie
    Posted at 07 March 2014 Reply

    We drilled a one inch hole in the blade of each oar. We run a wire through them and lock them to the dinghy.

  • Susie Burall
    Posted at 12 March 2014 Reply

    In the UK we call them rowlocks – with a short ‘o’ to rhyme with b…….!

  • John Philip Cadwallader
    Posted at 03 February 2015 Reply

    Rowlocks, Bollocks, learn to scull and leave 1 oar only in the dinghy.

Post A Comment