Page 1 of 1

Boat Theft Alarm

PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:50 pm
by Seagoon
Pleasure boats get lost fairly often when they are afloat. A mooring line or anchor chain can break, or someone with another boat can come along under cover of darkness and tow it away. Many boats are kept on private moorings or private docks which may be hard to see (especially at night) from nearby roads or houses, so a "neighbourhood watch" approach is not really adequate.

A useful device would be one that would raise an alarm (somehow) if the boat strayed too far from home.

However, there are often several boats within a few hundred metres, requiring that one could tell which one was going astray, although being able to draw the attention of anyone to any wayward boat would be an asset.

It would also be useful to tell if a particular boat showed up again (with a new paint job) elsewhere.

The ability for such an alarm to monitor intrusions or theft of certain components (an outboard motor, say) would also be very useful.

There are likely to be other constraints that haven't occurred to me yet.

Re: Boat Theft Alarm

PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:01 pm
by rickj
This sounds like a thoroughly useful concept, but it is going to require a bit of thinking out. For a starter, I think it is two separate concepts.

Boat ID:

We can readily tell when a stolen boat turns up again with a hidden RFID tag. If you can tell the police

a) Where to find the tag, and
b) Its code

then they will be hard put to dispute your ownership. Possibly they can be persuaded to curate an online registry of tag codes against owners. All the technology for this exists, and is in mass production and dirt cheap, so it is merely a question of organisation.

Loss in progress alarm:

I don't think there is a lot of point in just setting off a siren, 'cos there may be nobody nearby to listen. Probably not a good idea in any case, I'e seen a lot of people ignore thoroughly noisy (and imaginative) car alarms.

It's tempting to think of a way for the boat to send you an email "I'm on the move again" via a cellphone net - but how many of the boats in question are in cellphone coverage? Would it be worth the fees on a cell account? Probably so for a million dollar yacht, less so for a rowing dinghy - I wonder where the boundary case lies?

The problem here is detecting the unwanted motion. Between wind and tide, boats move through the air and the water all the time. Waves will produce quite large traixial accelerations. GPS is too easy to interfere with; the GPS antenna is quite obvious, and one can bag it or cut its lead. We might base an alarm on either of GPS failure, or motion in excess of (say) 50m. To keep up battery life, we may want to poll only once an hour, but that gives the thieves up to an hour of getaway time, or the tide an hour to sweep the boat away.

Do any boat owners have ideas to toss into the hat?

Re: Boat Theft Alarm

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:17 am
by Seagoon
Just spotted in New Scientist 2014/09/27:

Make drone loss a thing of the past

A new gadget named the Screamy can ensure that you and your drone are never accidentally parted. Attached to the drone, the coin-sized beacon starts screeching when the signal between drone and controller is becoming weak or after a given time has passed without contact with the owner. The noise can be heard from about 200 metres way. Dragon Avionics, a start-up in Idaho, is now crowdfunding the first batch of Screamies on Kickstarter.

Re: Boat Theft Alarm

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:30 pm
by Chris
Postby desheikh ยป Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:19 am
t's tempting to think of a way for the boat to send you an email "I'm on the move again" via a cellphone net - but how many of the boats in question are in cellphone coverage? Would it be worth the fees on a cell account? Probably so for a million dollar yacht, less so for a rowing dinghy - I wonder where the boundary case lies?
omair

Re: Boat Theft Alarm

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:35 pm
by Chris
Thanks Omair for your comment. If a group of owners or a marina set up wi-fi and one cell/mobile connection or anemail notification, it would be less of an overhead. I have moved your comment to the right topic.

Re: Boat Theft Alarm

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 1:26 pm
by caver
A single RFID tag may be too simple to find, if it becomes popular. Anyone can buy an RFID tag reader - consequently having several tags hidden would work better. Best yet is simple shielding on the tag that looks like it belongs, but can be removed by a policeman for a scan...

Here's a better and more universal boat theft/drift alarm... A mast-mounted strobe that beats out SOS, along with a radio signal that will transmit a beacon every few seconds: If in dock, the strobe will raise questions before it is disabled, and a drifting boat with SOS would be investigated by any responsible boat owner. The radio signal could be used for line-of sight location with someone who has the right equipment, (i.e. coast guard...) if the loss is detected, but the boat is not in evidence.

Just my thoughts...