A BOAT arriving at the yard for a quote for electrical work had been moored on an unattended rural mooring on the Shroppie, and had suffered from a couple of forced entries through the front wooden doors, so could we do anything to prevent it happening again?
Unusually, this 70ft boat is divided into three separate cabins. The front saloon, galley, toilet and master bedroom, then the engine room and finally the boatman's cabin with no access between each inside the boat.
Phil had a close look and pointed out that the front cabin doors were rotten and really needed replacing. Further inspection showed that the engine room T&G cladding was suffering through water ingress through the side doors and the panelling on the rear doors had de-laminated. After some friendly negotiating we agreed to produce and fit new steel front doors, fit water channels to the engine room doorways, replace the back door panelling and produce some security features to reduce the risk of forced entry.
Most of the work was our usual run-of-the-mill stuff which I won't bother too much with here, but due to the regular stories of forced entry to narrowboats will give a bit of detail to the security features that we produced. We had to pay a great deal of attention not to produce any trip or scratch hazards sticking out of the existing boat lines or steel work.
Front door security
The most noticeable is the front door security improvement. The front of this particular boat has no cratch/cover arrangement but has a normal well deck. Once the new doors with sealed unit double-glazing and rain deflecting ‘eye-brow' was completed. We fabricated a removable steel ladder wide enough to centre on, but not obscure the windows.
This ladder slots onto two small lugs welded to the well deck, just below the door threshold and is secured by padlock to the boat roof.
Additionally, one of the ladder treads obscures access to the newly fitted ‘Yale' lock. When not in use this ladder is stowed securely under the gunwale, safely out of the way and cannot be stolen, as the padlock is re-used for added security.
(The ladder can also be used, should the need arise, if someone falls in!)
Securing the rear doors and slide necessitated in welding on two slots to the rear bulkhead, inside the line of the hull but which do not interfere with the opening of the doors. We then produced a locking bar that fits across the full width of the bulkhead, sliding into these two slots.
A steel bar and hinge was welded to this bar centrally to secure the slide hatch fully closed and to prevent any lifting, A padlock then completes the job.
The side doors are kept shut by the hatch lid that overlaps them in the closed position and were originally secured using a hasp and staple/padlock arrangement. We decided upon using a similar system to that on the rear doors.
Firstly we welded two up-stands, one either side of the roof hatch, which did not interfere with the water drainage or hand rails but only sat approximately one inch above the hatch height.
A locking bar was then produced with a 10mm steel dowel protruding at either end. The up-stands were drilled out to allow the locking bar to slotted over the hatch, securing it shut.
A small plate was welded onto the side of the hatch cover with a matching plate welded to the locking bar. These were then drilled to take a suitable padlock. For good measure we fitted a small steel ‘T' on the locking bar to aid the fitting and removal.
The final picture shows all three security aids before fitting. We decided to paint them bright red to show the passing ‘oicks' that this boat is secure and should not be messed with. (Based on the same principle as the window signs ‘this boat is fitted alarms'.)
Of course it is impossible to stop determined criminals from gaining access to a boat but I hope our ideas will cause most to give it a miss when considering this boat. I hope the customer approves when he collects the boat next week.