When the weather is fine many people enjoy spending time on our beautiful rivers, lakes or on the coast. However if you own a vessel, have you taken measures to secure it when it’s not in use?
Here are a few ways in which you can make your boat and equipment more secure and safe:
To help stamp out boat crime Suffolk and Norfolk Police have also joined forces with local boatyards, chandlers, clubs and groups and launched BoatShield. If you are a boat owner, look out for BoatShield information point within boatyards, chandlers, as well as at boating clubs and groups across the Waveney Area.
If you are unlucky enough to have a boat or equipment stolen, you can register the theft with StolenBoats.org.uk. Contact your local Police or Insurers and ask that they add the item on your behalf. StolenBoats is an online database, all the information is provided by the marine Insurance industry and the Police and is cross-checked with the Police National Computer.
Every year during Boat Fire Safety Week (May/June), safety on boats and fire safety in particular, is highlighted all week. Whilst a fire is unlikely on a boat that is well maintained, boaters can be caught unawares or put in a difficult situation, if a fire does occur.
Download this leaflet for tips and advice on how to protect your boat and crew from fire, and what to do should a fire break out.
Each year boaters die or are made seriously ill from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – Boats are built to keep water out, but this also makes them good containers for gases and fumes. Here is some advice on how to protect everyone on your boat against this ‘silent killer’.
Breathing in a space filled with toxic fumes and smoke is like drowning out of the water. Two breaths and you could be unconscious. Fit smoke alarms if you stay aboard your boat.
Below are more tips to help keep you, your boat and your property safe:
Wearing life jackets, the RYA has recommendations.
Respect the water, is the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign. It highlights the risks, helps you avoid them and gives advice to keep you and those around you safe
Keep your boat keys separate from your engine keys
Don’t leave your keys in the ignition – always take them with you
Always keep your boat locked when no-one is on board
Never leave anything valuable on display
Don’t leave anything loose in the cockpit or on deck
Use strong padlocks or rim locks on all your hatches, entry points and cockpit lockers
Keep a list of all the serial numbers on valuables and property mark them with your home postcode and register them on Immobilise.
Register all electrical appliances and regularly check with Suffolk Trading Standards for all product recalls. A recent boat fire shows what can happen if you don’t know that a product you have on board has been recalled.
Remember to review and improve the security on your boat regularly. Locks will need replacing as well as property marking your valuables
Remove outboards during winter months
The RNLI and the Boat Safety Scheme also have lots of helpful and useful safety and sailing advice and information.
And remember, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid at all times
whilst on the boat or near the water’s edge
Since the beginning of June 2014 there have been 185 catalytic converter thefts from vehicles across Suffolk and Norfolk. Vans and cars with higher ground clearance are being targeted. In the last 4-week period there have been 43 offences across the two counties: 13 in Norfolk and 30 in Suffolk.
Offences are most commonly being committed during the hours of darkness, with weekday overnight periods still being favoured. Reported sights, sounds, disturbances by witnesses suggest the key time-frame may be between midnight and 4.00 am. Offences continue to occur along or near to the more major transport routes (A12/A14).
How are the catalytic converters removed ?
A pipe cutter, or similar, tool is used to cut the CAT from the pipe. Mitsubishi L200s, Shoguns & Warriors; Ford Rangers and Toyota Hilux & Hiaces remain the most common targets with Peugeot 406s becoming more prevalent. Offences are most commonly occurring in residential locations.
The quarterlight window is removed and/or smashed to gain access to the bonnet release. The exhaust system is then accessed, unbolted and then is either taken, in its entirety, or discarded after the CAT has been cut free. This is almost exclusively targeted Mercedes Sprinter vans. Most were parked at business premises or compounds, in Suffolk.
The exhaust is unbolted. Bolts or screws have been left on the ground on a number of occasions. Sometimes the whole exhaust has been removed, then the Cat Converter cut out and sometimes fairings or other items have been reportedly unbolted to allow better access and only the CAT has been taken.
How do I protect my vehicle?
Park your vehicle in a locked and secure garage/compound at all times
The use of alarms, lighting and CCTV should be considered to deter thieves
If this isn’t possible park in a well-lit, public area
Vehicles can be parked in such a way as to make access to the catalytic converter difficult, or parallel with another vehicle if you own one
Look out for people ‘working’ under vehicles as they may not be the owners or lease holders, even if they have fluorescent jackets on
Mark your catalytic converter by etching your vehicle registration onto the metal shell, or by using a Secured By Design (SBD) approved forensic marking solution which is a heat-resistant paint. This makes it easier for police to trace the converter back to your vehicle should it ever be stolen, and links offenders to a crime
Consider fitting additional security on your vehicle(s) by installing an SBD approved converter security product, such as a clamp
Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) are running catalytic converter marking sessions across the county in partnership with local garages. If you would like more information about your local SNT and events in your area this is available on-line or you can call the Suffolk Police non emergency number 101.
If you see or hear anything suspicious please contact Suffolk Police on 101.