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Boisdevie

How to stop being unmoored by yobs

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 Moored up in the countryside. As I was in the shower somebody untied my lines from the mooring pins. Fortunately I thought the boat had moved a bit and went to check. I'm thinking of locking a chain from the middle of the boat to the central pin. Is this a good idea or are there any other better ways? I have to leave the boat for a few days on a regular basis and get quite stressed about coming back to find that the boat has floated off thanks to some yob.

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Can you be more specific than "countryside"? The problem with securing the boat with eg padlock is that, on a river, the water level may be expected to change and someone knowledgeable may see your boat is in trouble and alter it, thus saving it from flooding/sinking. It is much rarer that this would occur on a canal but is still possible - breaches do occasionally occur or levels can change eg pounds running dry due to inappropriate use of locks, etc. Also there is the possibility that a boat moors next to yours, then suffers a fire - someone may try to move your boat here. I am sure the examples I've given are unlikely but by no means they're an exhaustive list of reasons why someone else may perfectly validly want/need to move your boat or adjust its lines.

Having said all that, a padlocked chain around some armco (not the end of the armco obviously) would do the job unless they were very determined.

Or maybe your mooring wasn't brilliant and the ground was soft or something, and it was inevitibly going to come loose, etc?

Edited by Paul C

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4 minutes ago, Boisdevie said:

 Moored up in the countryside. As I was in the shower somebody untied my lines from the mooring pins. Fortunately I thought the boat had moved a bit and went to check. I'm thinking of locking a chain from the middle of the boat to the central pin. Is this a good idea or are there any other better ways? I have to leave the boat for a few days on a regular basis and get quite stressed about coming back to find that the boat has floated off thanks to some yob.

It happens on occasion and can be a pain if the boat has toddled across to the offside or centre of the bloomin cut. If we moor on a river we usualy use chains rather than ropes. We shackle or padlock the chains either end to available rings or river side furniture and round the t stud. Cannot be removed unless by key for padlock or pliers for tightly secured shackles. Kids don't tend to carry bolt croppers in their back pockets. Not advisable however on rivers if boat is unattended if chance of river going up/down too much.

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Drop the anchor down the non-bankside of the bow plus an extra couple of feet of chan and ie off the the T stud. Actually a couple of turns f chain around the T stud will probably suffice on a canal.

Moor on piling and chain the back to the whaling bar.

  • Greenie 1

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If you moor with chains they will be more secure.  Or 'nappy pins' and ropes; but where you secure the ropes on board, secure the ends with cable ties so the rope cannot be released from the staghorn/bitt.  Most yobs will not have the means to cut a cable tie.  Remember to assess the risk of drastic changes in water level and fire on neighbouring boats, where people might wish to move your boat or redo the moorings in your best interest.

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3 minutes ago, Boisdevie said:

To clarify. On a canal. No nearby boats. No armco or rings. 

Won't they just pull the "pin" out?


(Why has everybody started calling them pins - they aren't really "pins" are they? :))

Edited by alan_fincher

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They could pull out the pins but that's quite an effort and I'm just hoping that if I make it a bit harder or more time consuming then they'll not bother. Untying ropes is quite easy.

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personally I would never leave the boat unattended just on mooring stakes. There is always someone going fast enough to pull them out. I would try to find a better mooring place.

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Just now, Boisdevie said:

They could pull out the pins but that's quite an effort and I'm just hoping that if I make it a bit harder or more time consuming then they'll not bother. Untying ropes is quite easy.

I guess I must be lucky, but we have never been untied by anybody, anywhere, ever, yet........

(Famous last words!)

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We use 2 pins, one with a loop on its end and the other a normal (straight) one, put in at right angles, first the one with the loop, then tie the line, then the other through the loop at right angles. Not so much to prevent yobs pulling them out, but to prevent the natural tug from the boat (for example when others go past) from working it loose. It really does hold quite strong compared to just a single pin. But its not immune from vandalism and could work loose in very soft ground.

Also, just as importantly, the lines are looped through and tied on the boat. This means that unless you have extraordinarily long arms, you'd need to be on the boat to untie it. A small distinction, but there you go.

Anyway....if there's nothing solid to tie/chain the boat to, I don't know what else to suggest. Its your boat, you're there at the mooring and can see stuff etc or maybe choose another location etc. There's (mud) anchors etc but its getting towards being a pain in the arse to moor up just for the sake of guarding against something that very rarely happens anyway....

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12 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

personally I would never leave the boat unattended just on mooring stakes. There is always someone going fast enough to pull them out. I would try to find a better mooring place.

Not if you have decent stakes, mine are just over 3ft long you would struggle to pull them out..........I do even with a 7lb sledge.

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1 hour ago, alan_fincher said:

Won't they just pull the "pin" out?


(Why has everybody started calling them pins - they aren't really "pins" are they? :))

When I was boating they were called pins south of Brum & generally called stakes north of there

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2 minutes ago, X Alan W said:

When I was boating they were called pins south of Brum & generally called stakes north of there

Back when I was first boating I never heard anything but stakes, I think, and I was very seldom North of Brum!

My head says that if you moor 20 tons of boat to "pins" they are bound to come out if someone goes past, however slowly!

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8 minutes ago, matty40s said:

the latest Middling Swindlers ones could be termed as dress pins they are so flimsy.

I was in there a few weeks ago and noticed they had two sizes of mooring “pins”.  The large ones did not look bad.

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13 minutes ago, john6767 said:

I was in there a few weeks ago and noticed they had two sizes of mooring “pins”.  The large ones did not look bad.

did you look at the weld between the straight and the circle ...... I wouldnt trust it with a helium baloon in a gale. They are also very soft steel, the pin head soon mashes down and splinters.

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3 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

I guess I must be lucky, but we have never been untied by anybody, anywhere, ever, yet........

(Famous last words!)

Neither have we, and we have tied up in some allegedly dodgy locations.  

I agree leaving the boat for several days tied to pins/stakes/spikes is asking for trouble.  We spent a very frustrating hour trying to shift a boat that had wedged itself very securely across the Leeds Liverpool back in August. According to a nearby skipper the owner of said boat had left it some days ago, just tied up to stakes, and it had rained a lot...   Actually I have lost count of the number of boats we have had to rescue because the stakes have been pulled out.  

There's quite a bit of good advice on this thread but honestly if I found our boat had been untied more than once in my lifetime I would assume I had a stalker. We had some stones thrown at us some time ago for the first time, I doubt it will ever happen again, it's important to keep these things in perspective.   

  • Greenie 2

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We've been let loose a couple of times in Birmingham, its no big deal. Also had a mooring rope untied and stolen in Thrupp, that was not good.

If somebody gets pleasure, or vents a bit of anger (because my life is obviously much better than theirs) by letting my boat loose then best let them get on with it. Using chains or cable ties is sort of putting two fingers up at them and I suspect making them more likely to carry a knife in future to cut the ropes.

Obviously on rivers its very different and chains or some sort of anchor makes sense, but I try to do this as discretely as I can and in addition to the rope so its there just to catch the boat if the ropes are let go.

.............Dave

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10 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

Back when I was first boating I never heard anything but stakes, I think, and I was very seldom North of Brum!

My head says that if you moor 20 tons of boat to "pins" they are bound to come out if someone goes past, however slowly!

What then sir is your definition between a Stake & a Pin  :lol:on the times I carried loads  to around the Fenny area & had to tie with no rings etc I was asked by BW guys working on the piling rigs If I had " Mooring Pins"or if I needed to borrow some & as i more often than not was North Road boating I assumed that with BW staff using the term that was what folk called them " "regional differences"?

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10 hours ago, matty40s said:

did you look at the weld between the straight and the circle ...... I wouldnt trust it with a helium baloon in a gale. They are also very soft steel, the pin head soon mashes down and splinters.

That weld doesn't particularly matter though, does it?  Well, not unless you use the thing round the wrong way, and have the rope pulling on the circular bit (which admittedly seems the popular way of doing it these days).  If you use it correctly and have the rope round the stake with the circular bit behind, you're not putting any strain on the circular bit or the weld.

  • Greenie 2

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Just prior to our arrival in York a couple of years ago there had been a spate of boats being untied from the moorings, the consequences of which can obviously be more severe than on a canal. So in a addition to the bow and stern ropes I used a length of chain threaded through the centre fender hanger and through the mooring ring and attached a padlock. Given the river's reputation for it's changing levels I made sure the chain was easily long enough. This at least would be enough to prevent the boat floating down the river in the event. I realise the fixing isn't designed to hold a 16 ton boat, but it could just be enough to buy some time. Maybe it was a bit OTT but I'd had stronger ones fitted.

Whether on a canal or river, as well as being a deterrent a chain has the advantage of being noisy if somebody messes with it, so if you're on the boat there is a chance you would hear it even when asleep. Thankfully, in over 4,000 miles of boating, a fair bit of it moored in cities and towns, we've never had the problem but for very little cost we now have that peace of mind.

As for the OP's problem, I cannot think of a viable solution except to find somewhere with something like Armco to attach their boat to more securely.

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11 hours ago, matty40s said:

did you look at the weld between the straight and the circle ...... I wouldnt trust it with a helium baloon in a gale. They are also very soft steel, the pin head soon mashes down and splinters.

Can you recommend a better supplier?

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