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Trad v Cruiser - a different question


douglasb

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First post, so please be gentle!

 

I am looking at buying my first narrowboat and have learned a lot from reading these forums. I've been looking at the for sale ads in all the ususal places and think I have a good idea of what I would like (trad would be my first choice and cruiser my second. Semi-trad a distant third). I've read other threads on the relative merits of different stern types and I realise that different people have their own preferences and that there's no one right answer for everyone. I also realise that the design of each individual boat might mean that something that could be considered a general disadvantage with a generic type of boat has been "designed out" in that particular boat.  In all the discussions there's one thing that I haven't seen mentioned though and that is security.

 

I've had a good look around a friend's trad stern and the engine bay had loads of storage space for things like a huge toolbox, etc.. As this is inside the boat this would be secure when away from the boat as it is all locked inside. Cruisers that I've seen don't seem to have lockable engine covers which suggests to me that leaving expensive tools, etc. in there wouldn't be a good idea. It might be realtively secure in a marina but if moored up somewhere and away from the boat it seems almost like parking a car with the windows open.

 

Am I missing something here?

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12 minutes ago, douglasb said:

First post, so please be gentle!

 

I am looking at buying my first narrowboat and have learned a lot from reading these forums. I've been looking at the for sale ads in all the ususal places and think I have a good idea of what I would like (trad would be my first choice and cruiser my second. Semi-trad a distant third). I've read other threads on the relative merits of different stern types and I realise that different people have their own preferences and that there's no one right answer for everyone. I also realise that the design of each individual boat might mean that something that could be considered a general disadvantage with a generic type of boat has been "designed out" in that particular boat.  In all the discussions there's one thing that I haven't seen mentioned though and that is security.

 

I've had a good look around a friend's trad stern and the engine bay had loads of storage space for things like a huge toolbox, etc.. As this is inside the boat this would be secure when away from the boat as it is all locked inside. Cruisers that I've seen don't seem to have lockable engine covers which suggests to me that leaving expensive tools, etc. in there wouldn't be a good idea. It might be realtively secure in a marina but if moored up somewhere and away from the boat it seems almost like parking a car with the windows open.

 

Am I missing something here?

Depends upon design. I have a semi trad and my cockpit boards Intrlock and are secured by a combination pins and a padlock. Obviously it could be broken into by a determned thief  ut that holds true for any boat

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41 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

We've got a Semi-Trad and i'd love to be able to lock the floor so the engine bay is secure... can't figure a way of doing it.......

 

I've considered various cable pull locks, things like car boot and bonnet catches, that could be opened from inside the cabin and the boards locked again just by dropping them in to position. Could be acquired from a car scrap yard.  Not done it though. One thing to keep in mind is if the battery isolation switch needs accessing in a hurry, say if the electrics in the cabin start smoking. Same goes for the fuel isolation valve. Similar to why it is a bad idea to padlock a gas locker.

Anything stored in the engine hole needs to be well secured so it can't move with vibration and fall on to the engine, or batteries.

 

Jen

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies
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48 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

We've got a Semi-Trad and i'd love to be able to lock the floor so the engine bay is secure... can't figure a way of doing it.......

Flat Steel bar across the bay into slots at floor level in the lockers, padlocks on the ends of the bar inside the lockers. 

If you see what I am trying to get at.

You could put the bar across and have security torx bolts or similar bolting it to the floor of the locker not as secure but would deter a casual thief.

Remember to remove it when you are on the boat so its not a trip hazzard.

You only have to be more secure than the boat next to you as thieves will always go for the easy target. ;)

 

Edited by Loddon
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1 minute ago, Loddon said:

Steel bar across the bay into slots in the lockers, padlocks on the ends of the bar inside the lockers. 

If you see what I am trying to get at.

You could put the bar across and have security torx bolts or similar bolting it to the floor of the locker not as secure but would deter a casual thief.

Remember to remove it when you are on the boat so its not a trip hazzard.

You only have to be more secure than the boat next to you as thieves will always go for the easy target. ;)

 

So that mean I'll never be mooring next to you!  :)  thanks, good ideas!

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1 minute ago, robtheplod said:

So that mean I'll never be mooring next to you!  :)  thanks, good ideas!

Thinking this on further 2x1 box section may be better as it would enable the padlock to be put  the side of the section thus getting it away from the floor. With box section you could put the padlocks outside the locker if desired.

There are so many variations on this theme going round in my head at the moment I wont mention any more.

BTW I dont have a semi trad ;)

 

 

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The stronger and more obvious the security arrangements the more likely you are to inform the baddies that there is something worth pinching, and, that the boat is unoccupied.

 

Battery anglegrinders are easily carried and will destroy any security device you can fit to a boat.

Eg On outboard powered boats, where the outboard is bolted thru the transom, they are removed by simply cutting the transom out and taking part of the transom with the engine still attached.

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2 hours ago, douglasb said:

First post, so please be gentle!

 

I am looking at buying my first narrowboat and have learned a lot from reading these forums. I've been looking at the for sale ads in all the ususal places and think I have a good idea of what I would like (trad would be my first choice and cruiser my second. Semi-trad a distant third). I've read other threads on the relative merits of different stern types and I realise that different people have their own preferences and that there's no one right answer for everyone. I also realise that the design of each individual boat might mean that something that could be considered a general disadvantage with a generic type of boat has been "designed out" in that particular boat.  In all the discussions there's one thing that I haven't seen mentioned though and that is security.

 

I've had a good look around a friend's trad stern and the engine bay had loads of storage space for things like a huge toolbox, etc.. As this is inside the boat this would be secure when away from the boat as it is all locked inside. Cruisers that I've seen don't seem to have lockable engine covers which suggests to me that leaving expensive tools, etc. in there wouldn't be a good idea. It might be realtively secure in a marina but if moored up somewhere and away from the boat it seems almost like parking a car with the windows open.

 

Am I missing something here?

I go along with all of that, and somewhere to dry things

 

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I have a cruiser stern.  The only thing of value to a thief in my engine bay, is the engine itself.  Any thief determined enough to lift my engine out and make off with it is unlikely to be deterred by any boat security.  The reality is that my old BMC is worth a fraction of what a shiny Russell Newbery is.  So for the extra trouble of angle grinding off the side hatches, I imagine that locked up shiny boat with an engine room is a much more tempting proposition.

 

I worry about many things to do with my boat.  Worrying about things being nicked from my engine bay doesn't even register.

29 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I go along with all of that, and somewhere to dry things

 

The best places to dry things are:

 

1.  Outside, or

 

2.  In front of the stove.

 

An engine room is worse than either of these, but I know that were a lot of people do it.

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1 hour ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

 

I've considered various cable pull locks, things like car boot and bonnet catches, that could be opened from inside the cabin and the boards locked again just by dropping them in to position. Could be acquired from a car scrap yard.  

Also, not visible from the outside so less likely to suggest you have something to hide than padlocked bars across the deck boards.

1 hour ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

One thing to keep in mind is if the battery isolation switch needs accessing in a hurry, say if the electrics in the cabin start smoking. Same goes for the fuel isolation valve.

On the other hand, these are generally located inside the main cabin on a trad sterned boat.

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Thanks for all the answers. Not surprsingly the answer seems to be "it depends" 😀.

 

Just to clarify things, I'm talking of "modern trad" rather than "trad trad" so engine bay under the floorboards rather than in a separate room (but anything in the bay would still be locked away inside)..

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2 hours ago, doratheexplorer said:

I have a cruiser stern.  The only thing of value to a thief in my engine bay, is the engine itself.  Any thief determined enough to lift my engine out and make off with it is unlikely to be deterred by any boat security.  The reality is that my old BMC is worth a fraction of what a shiny Russell Newbery is.  So for the extra trouble of angle grinding off the side hatches, I imagine that locked up shiny boat with an engine room is a much more tempting proposition.

 

I worry about many things to do with my boat.  Worrying about things being nicked from my engine bay doesn't even register.

The best places to dry things are:

 

1.  Outside, or

 

2.  In front of the stove.

 

An engine room is worse than either of these, but I know that were a lot of people do it.

Me too. Cruiser stern means if the wife's along we can sit out and chat while pottering, if she's not there's room for a stool for the map book or a cup of tea, room to sit and stretch my legs out, and, when boating's done, for the comfy chair to sit and read in the sun, without hogging half the towpath and getting run over by cyclists and dogs. Easy to get on and off when wrestling singlehanded with lift bridges.

Easy access to the engine and weed hatch. Tools go in underseat storage in the boat.

Mind you, if I'd happened to have bought a tub with a trad stern,  I'd probably be telling you all the advantages of that now. Get the boat that talks to you, don't worry about what's at either end, as long as one's pointy and the other's blunt.

Edited by Arthur Marshall
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6 hours ago, douglasb said:

First post, so please be gentle!

 

I am looking at buying my first narrowboat and have learned a lot from reading these forums. I've been looking at the for sale ads in all the ususal places and think I have a good idea of what I would like (trad would be my first choice and cruiser my second. Semi-trad a distant third). I've read other threads on the relative merits of different stern types and I realise that different people have their own preferences and that there's no one right answer for everyone. I also realise that the design of each individual boat might mean that something that could be considered a general disadvantage with a generic type of boat has been "designed out" in that particular boat.  In all the discussions there's one thing that I haven't seen mentioned though and that is security.

 

I've had a good look around a friend's trad stern and the engine bay had loads of storage space for things like a huge toolbox, etc.. As this is inside the boat this would be secure when away from the boat as it is all locked inside. Cruisers that I've seen don't seem to have lockable engine covers which suggests to me that leaving expensive tools, etc. in there wouldn't be a good idea. It might be realtively secure in a marina but if moored up somewhere and away from the boat it seems almost like parking a car with the windows open.

 

Am I missing something here?

 

 A very good poiont,  A few year ago, the cruiser stern boat moored ahead of us had the starter motor stolen from it's Lister engine in broad daylight. It sems that several people saw the theft taking place, but assumed that the chap inside the engine hole was doing some authorised servicing and took little notice.

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25 minutes ago, David Schweizer said:

 

 A very good poiont,  A few year ago, the cruiser stern boat moored ahead of us had the starter motor stolen from it's Lister engine in broad daylight. It sems that several people saw the theft taking place, but assumed that the chap inside the engine hole was doing some authorised servicing and took little notice.

I've heard of a few boats having their batteries stolen from under cruiser stern decks as well.

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2 hours ago, David Mack said:

I've heard of a few boats having their batteries stolen from under cruiser stern decks as well.

 

I've heard of several cars being stolen from driveways, but I still park mine on the drive.

 

 

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In terms of storing stuff in a trad engine room or cruiser engine bay, the other consideration is that the former is part of the accommodation and heated /dryer, whereas the latter can be cold and damp. I suspect tools etc stored long term in a cruiser engine bay would be prone to rusting.

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My tools I care about sit indoors under the steps to the door, and my tools I don't are scattered all round the engine bay, including sitting on the deck on top. And I'd expect anyone interested in sneaking into my engine bay to nick my batteries to at least to have the sense to nick my solar panels first, and I'm not putting them inside.

 

Would have thought tool storage was pretty low on the list of things to worry about in stern decisions... well behind steerer comfort/shelter/company, aesthetics and engine bay access

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1 hour ago, enigmatic said:

My tools I care about sit indoors under the steps to the door,

 

I'd also suggest 19 of of 20 cruiser stern boats have nothing stored under the deck boards worth nicking (other than batteries). As enigmatic points out, few people keep decent tools outside under the deck boards so any would-be thief is unlikely to be risking boarding boat after boat and noisily lifting the deck boards in the vague hope of finding some expensive tools. Consequently, if the OP decides to keep expensive tools under there, they are highly unlikely to get nicked! 

 

 

Edited by MtB
Add a bit or the pedants will be on me.
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Once again, many thanks for all the answers. To comment on a couple of points -

 

I'm not so much thinking "Hmmm, Engine bay = good place to store tools" as just thinking that it's a useful general storage space and I noticed this when having a good look over my friend's boat. I'm aware that when cruising you only have what's on the boat with you and you can't just "nip out to the garden shed to pick up the ....." so every cubic centimetre of storage space has to earn its keep. The engine bay seemed to be dry and secure so was a useful area to store some items. It wouldn't be the place to store your best crockery, but it seemed like a useful place for anything that doesn't have to be instantly to hand but should be reasonably accessible. I had wondered how storage space on a cruiser compared.

 

I also get that you can add roof boxes for additional storage but there is a height limit depending on bridges and tunnels. The engine bay just "exists" and doesn't require any additions or modifications. Again, I get that exactly how accessible, dry, clean, etc., it is will depend on the individual boat.

 

Arthur makes a great point abut "getting the boat that talks to you". I've looked at some ads for boats that on the face of it tick all my boxes but looking through the photos and specs I just think "No. I don't like it". Equally, I can see an ad for something that shouldn't work for me but does. I'm absolutely open minded about stern type but my gut feel is that I'd prefer a trad

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26 minutes ago, douglasb said:

I'm absolutely open minded about stern type but my gut feel is that I'd prefer a trad

 

I have to say, the only time I've ever steered a trad stern on a long trip it was a miserable experience. The weather was windy and rainy the whole week and stood out the back 6 ft from the warmth of the interior with nothing to lean on was bleak. On a trad stern one has the back cabin doors to stand inside for a degree of weather protection, warmth and to lean on if you wish.

 

Cruisers are great and sociable in the nice weather, but when the rain starts, everyone eventually disappears inside leaving you out the back steering, cold and alone. 

Edited by MtB
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