AS A BOAT owner and a retired police officer, I read with interest the articles in narrowboatworld regarding the 'Narrowboat burglar', writes John Barr.
Specifically the article by David Hymers on 29th July 2016 regarding the theft of a narrowboat, the final few lines of which refer to 'a smartphone connected monitoring device.'
A way of life
Boat owners understand that a boat is not merely a possession; it's a way of life, a home, a hobby, a place of retreat, a place where memories are made and cherished. To have this violated by a criminal is equally or more upsetting than having one's house burgled.
Normal, decent people in society don't automatically think that there is a certain type of person who wanders the towpaths, wharves and marinas, permanently on the lookout for easy opportunities to steal other peoples prized possessions!
Occurring on a daily basis
Quick online research shows that thefts from boats, yachts, narrowboats and other types of vessels are occurring throughout the UK on a daily basis. Why?
- Because boats are regularly left unattended in quiet, unobserved areas;
- Because boats are invariably not very well secured;
- Because boats always contain items of property which have some value;
- Because there are habitual thieves whose way of life is to identify those vulnerable targets!
The Home Office advises that crimes can be prevented by businesses working with the community and utilising technology to make crimes more difficult to commit and criminals easier to catch.
Now allows protection
There isn't much we can do to stop these criminals from roaming the country but what we can do is make our boats a harder target by following David Hymers advice and fitting a smartphone connected alarm system, for smartphone technology now allows constant remote protection of marine craft.
There is an ideal boat alarm on the market; the ‘Marine Commander' designed and developed by Scrabo Security Ltd. This is a unique system to deter the theft of and from marine craft and outboard motors.
Text sent to owner
The system involves proprietary sensors which are installed below decks. When an intruder comes onto the vessel the sensors beep and flash, the intruder hears the beeping and reads the notice on the cabin door 'If you hear beeping the owner of this boat knows you are here', at the same time an SMS text is sent to the owner and if the intruder does not move away a 110 dB siren is activated.
It is suitable for all types of vessels and the system can be located in one of the many dark recesses which all boats have. Sensors can also be fitted to the cover of an outboard engine which detect any attempt to interfere with the engine and again the system starts to beep and flash with the same deterrent result. The picture shows the sensitivity control.
Will send a fire alert text
The sensors have a high temperature alert to send a fire alert text and are equipped with a facility to increase or reduce the sensitivity so that the alarm is not activated by the wash from passing vessels or by bumping against a pontoon or mooring buoy.
The development team are currently working on adding a small camera to the system that will send a photo to your phone and/or download a short (10 to 20 seconds) video to the 'cloud' when the system is activated.
The ‘Marine Commander' is being distributed in England, Scotland and Wales by Trace-in-Metal Ltd. Staff from the company are more than happy to visit boat owners to demonstrate.