2014 © Graham Rabbitts [You are welcome to use original material from this site, but the source should be acknowledged]
When Ariadne was built in 1994/5, she was the first Rustler to have an alarm fitted. After nearly 20 years, it is still functioning.
The specification problem was that the boat would live on a swinging mooring in the middle of a river. So the effectiveness of an alarm system is bound to be limited. An audible alarm will hardly be heard ashore, but at 110db might frighten the burglar, so we looked for a visible alarm too -
There are reed switches on the main and fore hatches (the only ones large enough for anyone to get through). There is also a tamper alarm wire (i.e. the alarm goes off if the wiring is cut).
It seems the blue light under the radar has been the biggest deterrent -
But at the end of 2010, 19 boats were raided between Hythe and Eling in Southampton Water in one night. Early in 2011, another 7 were raided. The time had come to take advantage of new technologies.
There are many advanced marine systems available, but they start at about £400 and go up from there, with associated running costs. I set myself the task of finding a system that someone on a small budget might adopt. The theory is that if it became known that many boats on our moorings were alarmed, thieves might look elsewhere.
The trouble is that the police marine unit in the Solent is small, and has prevention of terrorism as a priority. The harbour, while willing to help with surveillance, are reluctant to intervene without police support. However with radar, cameras, and perhaps their launch (if available) they may be able to track down where the thieves go to, and provide evidence to the police. All an alarm system can do is to let you know there is a problem, so you can let the authorities know, and perhaps let the burglar know he is being tracked in the hope he will abandon the break-
With these thoughts in mind, I added a second gsm alarm. I also considered what action might be taken to reduce risk, and increase the chance of recovering any goods stolen.