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How to Start a Mobile Food Business

Today, a new generation of street-food lovers is lining up at food trucks and food carts like never before. Little do they know that neither food trucks nor food carts are new to the streets of American cities. Like so many other popular trends, they are the latest version of a long-standing part of American and world culture. Yet the street-food industry has never enjoyed so much publicity or notoriety.

According to Los Angeles-based industry-research firm IBISWorld, the street-food business -- including mobile food trucks and nonmechanized carts -- is a $1 billion industry that has seen an 8.4 percent growth rate from 2007 to 2012. It's very entrepreneurial: 78 percent of operators have four or fewer employees. The true number of these businesses is difficult to count, since the mobile food industry is comprised of food trucks, food carts and kiosks, which have appeared in malls as well as at train and bus stations, airports, stadiums, conference centers, resorts, and other locations in recent years.

Food-industry observers claim that the food-truck business is increasing largely in response to the slow-growing economy. People are seeking inexpensive breakfasts and lunches. Also, employees today are often pressed for time, with more work and shorter lunch hours. These factors make the mobile-food concept more appealing than ever.

From an entrepreneurial standpoint, kiosks, carts, trailers, and food trucks have a lower overhead than restaurants and can be moved if one location does not generate enough business. Rather than having to determine where to open a restaurant and worry about the old real-estate adage "location, location, location," the owner can actually drive to a new location, location, location if business is poor.

For customers, you add the convenience of having food favorites right outside a particular location -- or inside with a kiosk -- and meet several needs by serving mobile food. First, you offer food that is cost friendly because you need not pay wait staff or bussers. You also offer the convenience of quick service. In many cases you provide food choices that can save those on a busy schedule from the need to sit down. Typically customers can eat street foods while en route to their next destination. Finally, mobile food is often fun to eat and (if it's good) great to talk about.

Goin' Mobile: Your Options Even before you decide what foods to sell, you'll want to consider how you want to sell them.

Clearly, your decision on how to sell your foods will depend on:

Your startup money, budget and potential for returns Your commitment to the business: part time, full time, etc. Your creative ideas and what it will take to fulfill them Your experience at running a business The size of the business you want to start Your ideal demographic

These are a few of the considerations you will consider as you proceed, but for now, let's take a look at the common mobile-food entities.

Food Kiosks

Food kiosks are essentially booths or food stands that are temporary or mobile facilities used to prepare and sell food. Malls and stadiums are popular locations for food kiosks, which sell anything from pretzels and ice cream to more elaborate fare.

Although kiosks may have wheels, they are not mobile under their own power and in most cases need to be assembled. Most kiosks are rectangular and have room for two people to work within or stand behind, preparing and serving the food. They also have counter space and overhead signs.

The low overhead, flexibility and ease by which a kiosk can be opened and closed are among the reasons they're so popular. They are also an excellent choice in areas where your outdoor selling season would be limited by cold or nasty weather. Of course, the size of the kiosk limits the inventory, so it's important for a kiosk owner to carry as much as possible and price accordingly so that she can make money on what is on hand each day. Because they are usually operating indoors, kiosk owners typically sign licensing agreements at malls, stadiums, movie theaters, or other locations. Many major food businesses such as Ben & Jerry's and Baskin-Robbins franchise express kiosks.

Food Carts and Concession Trailers

The food cart and the concession trailer have been around for decades and combined are a multibillion-dollar industry today. The best known have always been hot-dog and ice-cream carts. They are among the most cost-effective ways to start a mobile food business because the carts are typically pulled by your car, truck or van, or pushed by hand. Food is either prepared in advance or purchased ready to sell -- like ice-cream pops or cups of Italian ices -- and stored, and then either heated up or pulled from the freezer. Carts are also fairly easy to maintain, and in many counties and communities, require less licensing than the full-size food trucks. It is also cost-effective if you choose to own several carts and hire friends, family or other employees to help run them for you.

There are two basic types of food carts. One has room for the vendor to sit or stand inside and serve food through a window. The other uses all the space in the cart for food storage and cooking equipment, which is typically a grill. The precise type of cart you'll want should be determined largely by the food being offered.

Modern-day food-cart owners have cleaned up the somewhat greasy reputation of street-food vendors. They have also expanded their menus. Kebobs and gyros came on the cart scene awhile ago, and vegetarian and Mediterranean salads have also caught on, as well as fish and chips. The Euro Trash food cart in Portland, Ore., for example, offers items like a prawn baguette with Portuguese curry prawns. And then there's Portland's Pie Lab, with slices of pie -- extra for ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Trailers, like carts, do not move under their own power, limiting their potential locations. Food trailers are often found at fairs, carnivals, sporting events, or other places where they can be unhitched and sit for awhile. Unlike most carts, trailers allow for cooking and have room for two or three people inside. Skillet Street Food in Seattle operates from an Airstream trailer with a full kitchen within. In short, a trailer can provide more options than a cart but is still less expensive than a truck.

Food Trucks

The food truck can carry any number of foods, and in some cases, more sophisticated equipment for storing, serving, cooking and preparing foods. Traditional food trucks were known for providing lunches, typically stocking sandwiches, kebobs, tacos, burgers and other standard fare for the lunch crowd. Many have expanded to include healthier vegetarian and vegan offerings, as well as not-so-healthy barbeque ribs. They do big business in corporate parks and places that have limited access to restaurants. Most food trucks are stocked from concessionaires, but there is a growing number that are associated with fast-food and midlevel restaurants. Sizzler and California Pizza Kitchen, for example, are putting together their own food trucks, as are other chains.

Larger than carts, trucks can carry more food and handle more business. However, food trucks need more space to park both when doing business and when off-duty. Essentially, there are two types of food trucks. One is the mobile food preparation vehicle (MFPV) where food is prepared as customers wait, hopefully not very long. The other is the industrial catering vehicle (ICV), which sells only prepackaged foods. An MFPV costs more than an ICV, and both cost more than a food cart. For example, a used hotdog cart may cost under $2,500, while a retrofitted used food truck would typically cost $30,000 or more. A newly designed food truck retrofitted MFPV with new all equipment could cost you upward of $100,000.

Complying with health-department rules and regulations can also drive up food-truck costs. Clearly, a smaller truck, a used truck, or a truck with limited equipment costs less. Therefore, it is up to you to determine whether you'll be cooking in the truck, preparing food somewhere else and serving from the vehicle, or selling prepared and prepackaged foods.

Gourmet Food Trucks

Basically the same as a food truck, the gourmet food truck takes food quality to a higher level. They are run by ambitious young chefs who offer cuisine not typically found in food trucks, such as specialty crepes, kimchi pork-fries, osso bucco, velvet cupcakes, or the chicken marsala meatballs with cilantro chutney found in the Great Balls on Tires gourmet food truck. Like Great Balls on Tires, many gourmet trucks have specialties and themes. In addition, they let their clientele know where they'll be parked through their websites and social media sites like Twitter. While food trucks need not have kitchens, gourmet trucks are more likely to have food prepared on the spot -- and high-end food at that. At the start of the new gourmet food-truck craze, Los Angeles was clearly the place to find such high-end dining. Now, however, New York has gained its share of such fancy food vehicles, such as the Rickshaw Dumpling Bar and The Dessert Truck founded by a former Le Cirque pastry chef. And as the concept of serving fine food rolls along, other cities from Portland, Ore., to St Louis and on down to Miami's South Beach are jumping on the foodie bandwagon with their own regional favorites. Food Network chef Ingrid Hoffmann's black and pink Latin Burger and Taco Truck, for example, has become quite the rage in Miami.

The Mobile-Catering Business

Mobile-catering trucks can be defined in a variety of ways and can overlap with mobile food trucks. Here are three differences: First, a catering truck is hired for a specific event such as a picnic, party or fair. Secondly, the person hiring the catering vehicle can select from a catering menu. Third, a catering vehicle can be used to transport the foods, which are then handed out from inside the truck or set up at the event or gathering, typically on trays or buffet style. This can mean providing the food to be served outdoors or parking and serving from the truck as the food trucks do. The differences are primarily in the manner of doing business. Nonetheless, the need for a reliable vehicle, licensing, permits, sanitary conditions, a business plan, and startup money are quite similar to the requirements of a mobile-food business.

One of the advantages of a mobile-catering business is that you are not risking as much in inventory because you are cooking and bringing food as ordered for the party. Therefore, you are covered for your food costs. You also have a specific destination, so you need not worry whether your favorite destinations will be busy. Typically, you are less dependent on good weather because many catered functions will be indoors. As long as you can get there with the food, you are usually OK. Of course, you do need to line up enough work to support your business. The difference between a mobile-catering business and other catering businesses is that you are using the mobility of the truck to show up rather than having a catering hall or venue.

Can You Handle the Heat?

While it may look easy, the food-truck industry takes a lot of hard work. For Scott Baitinger and partner Steve Mai who run the famous Streetza pizza truck in Milwaukee, Wis., a typical day starts three or four hours before taking the truck out on the road. "First we'll stop at Sam's Club or Restaurant Depot and pick up fresh ingredients. Then we go to our off-site commissary kitchen where we do all the prep work, which includes rolling the dough, making sauces, cutting the vegetables, and all of the things you really can't do in a 10-by-10 truck," explains Baitinger, who still works a day job in advertising but handles the truck on nights and weekends. Mai runs the weekday shifts except at times in the winter when no one in Milwaukee wants to trek outside in three feet of snow -- not even for pizza.

Then the Streetza team, which also includes a small staff on various shifts, parks at well-selected locations and prepare and sell food. At the end of a day, which is typically when they run out of food or the crowds have dissipated, comes the cleanup. "It's a lot like a restaurant cleanup with stainless steel cleaners, scrubbing, mopping, and making sure everything is in perfect shape to start again tomorrow," adds Baitinger.

Most mobile food business owners follow a similar set routine, whether it includes running the kiosk, cart or truck themselves or having employees run it. The routine, as is the case with Streetza, may include very early morning food shopping a few days a week, if not every day. Then there is stocking the kiosk or vehicle and heading to your destination(s). There is also a need to take some time during the day for marketing, usually via Twitter or another social media. Most mobile food vendors work roughly 10 hours a day. There are also days in which a business owner needs to sit down in a quiet office space, preferably at home with his feet up, and do all of the bookkeeping: paying taxes and bills, renewing licenses, and handling other fun paperwork responsibilities. The work is tiring and the day is long.

Can you handle such a day on a regular basis?

Full article https://seriable.com/key-tools-for-modern-machinist/

Darkest Legal Tint Installation Issues

Almost everyone who installs window tinting on their vehicle wants to install the darkest legal tint, to maximise the glare and heat reduction benefits, but there are a few issues that, if the installation isn't properly managed, can cause people to unwittingly break the law, and even put them at risk of being sued. In this article we discuss exactly these risks are and how they can be managed.

The first thing you need to be aware of is the darkest legal tint that is allowed to be installed in your area. This differs in different states and territories around the world, but you should be able to find your regualtions with a simple search on Google.


In my home country of Australia, the darkest legal tint permitted on a vehicle is generally one with a VLT (visible light transmission) level of 35%, on all vehicle windows (excluding the front windscreen, which is not allowed to have any window tint except for a visor strip across the top). The only exceptions to this are in the NT and WA. In the NT you are permitted a minimum VLT of 15% for windows behind the driver; and in WA you are allowed 20% VLT on windows behind the driver.

Knowing the law is an obvious first start, but what isnt so obvious is the technical issues that come up when installing window film. You see, many vehicles already have a slight tint in the glass in their windows, fatory installed, and it's vital that this is considered when adding after market tint. Here's how the maths looks.

If the factory installed windows on your car already block 30% of light, when a film with the "darkest legal tint" of 35% is added to this glass, it will emit only 35% of light into a window that is already only emitting 70% of light, so the final VLT will be calculated by the addition of both tint ratings.

So what are the potential problems of getting this maths wrong? If your car accidentally fails to comply with tinting regulations, the first problem you have is that the Police can pull you over and issue you a fine and an un-roadworthy notice. That means your car can't be driven until the illegal tint is removed. But that's just the start the potential problems, there are other legal ramifications that are potentially more serious. Let's say you are involved in an accident and your illegally dark windows are considered by the court to be a contributing factor in the cause of the accident. This can result in the nulling of your insurance policy, leaving you exposed to the full financial culpability of the accident. Even worse than this, criminal charges could apply, especially if property is damaged or people are hurt.

The last issue is the inconvenience and waste that can be caused. If your vehicle is deemed un-roadworthy, you can't drive the car again until it has been put through the pits, in which case the illegal tint will have to be removed and you may also get a bill for other unexpected mechanical repairs at the same time.

So what's the moral of this story? When it comes to window tinting, make sure you use a good quality installer that has the knowledge to be able to offer you the exact right film for your vehicle, otherwise you may end up installing a bunch of bad risks and problems instead of the window tint you expected.

Purchasing The Right Tyres For Your Vehicle

Purchasing the right tyres for your vehicle depends on several factors like cost, safety, appearance, brand, and comfort. There are crucial steps involved to make sure that you obtain the right set of wheels for your vehicle.

When it comes to price, you have a choice between a premium and a budget type of tyre. The premium ones are for high performing vehicles, such as Formula One and luxury cars. If you own this type of vehicle, you can even fit it with custom wheels. The budget ones are for everyday cars and for those who are watching the expenses for maintaining their cars and looking for the cheapest tyre available.

Fitting Your Car with the Right Type of Tyre

A specialist from a tyre shop can recommend the right kind of tyre that is suitable for your vehicle. Prices vary depending on the tyre and vehicle type. A good quality tyre can endure any type of weather. If you cannot decide on your own, you can talk to an expert regarding the best type of tyre that your car needs.

Used Car

If you purchased a used car, it is important that you inspect the tyres to make sure they are the right ones. If you are uncertain about it, check the handbook that goes with it. However, if it does not go with a handbook, you may be able to find the information online. Better yet, you can also consult a specialist, so you can replace your set of wheels in case you have the wrong ones.

Different Types for the Same Vehicle

There are vehicles that can be fitted with different tyre types. In this case, one set could be cheaper than the other. This is the reason why cost is a huge factor in deciding on the type of tyre. Many people prefer the budget type of tyre if they are suitable for their vehicle. An advantage of this type is that it is easy to replace because there are more of them in demand.

Conclusion

The price is such an important factor when purchasing tyres for your vehicle. This has become even more crucial because of the increasing costs of maintaining a car. A specialist from a tyre shop would have a good idea of the type of tyre that you need for your car. You must also do a research because some of them may just want to have a quick sale.

Getting The Right Wheels And Tyres From Streetwheelsandtyres.com.au

There are various types of cars these days when it comes to style and design. Cars designed for young people are usually the sporty and fast types of vehicles that they enjoy modifying in order to fit their personalities and style. With a bit of creativity, this can be a lot of fun. The car experts at streetwheelsandtyres.com.au are aware that the mag wheels are normally the first thing that people modify so that their car would have a new look. If you have the perfect set of mag wheels, it could instantly improve the style of your car.

Obtaining the Right Wheels

You will need bigger or wider tyres if you want to grip a bigger surface area on the road. This means that you will also need bigger mag wheels, but you need to check that the mag wheels and tyres you buy would be suitable for your vehicle and have the right fitting sizes. It does not make sense obtaining wheels that would not fit your car.

When to Change Your Wheels and Tyres

Once you are able to obtain the right wheels and tyres, you need to take care of them. An apparent sign that you need to change your mag wheel or tyre is when it is damaged because this is quite unsafe and reckless. If it has a huge visible damage or a hairline crack, streetwheelsandtyres.com.au suggests that you take your car to the nearest wheels and tyres centre. It is risky to drive long distances if you have a damaged mag wheel or tyre.

Your wheels could be damaged beyond repair if you drive into a pit too hard, too fast, or at a wrong angle. This kind of accident may cause the wheels to be broken up to the point that you may not be able to get to a fitment centre. As such, your car will be towed and you need to replace your wheels and tyres.

Getting Durable Wheels

Alloy wheels are now available in most fitment centres. These wheels are durable because they can withstand various conditions like dust, rain, and many more. However, remember that you also have to take care of your mag wheels. If possible, you need to clean it weekly.

If your wheels and tyres are in good condition, you can drive with them for a long time and you do not need to change them often. When they get damaged, simply go to streetwheelsandtyres.com.au and visit their fitment centre to have your wheels and tyres replaced.

Why Trucking Companies Need A Fleet Vehicle Tracking System



The trucking industry and delivery industry is a multi billion dollar giant. The problem is their is quite a bit of loss in the industry as well from the wrong trucks being dispatched to runs and the dispatcher providing people with the wrong routes. This is when people may want to know more about why their vehicles need a fleet tracking system. Once people know about this, it is going to be easy for people to know if the vehicles are going to be dispatched with the right vehicle being sent to the right location or not.

Cost savings is a major sticking point for a lot of companies. The companies will generally want to know the cheapest way possible to move the vehicles around and often when the drivers are relying on their own skill they can find the route to get where they need to be, but it may not be the fastest route. With that being said, people need to realize these tracking systems can start to route the vehicles around to the areas that are going to benefit them the most and allow them to get to the area they need to be at.

Dispatching issues will be resolved is going to be one of the other things that people are going to enjoy. While most of the time people never think about this, they need to realize their are going to be problems with the vehicles being dispatched improperly because their were closer vehicles or their were other vehicles that can handle the job. So this is going to be a great step in the right direction in the time savings on the driver and even the company because they will have a lower amount of waste being done because they will finally be able to get the proper drivers to the right area.

When people are looking at their trucking company they may not realize their are a variety of ways for them to save quite a bit of money. The problem is so many companies miss out on these opportunities that it is not funny. This is when people should know more about why they should be using a fleet tracking system. By knowing more about why they should be using these systems it is going to be easy for them to save quite a bit of money and make better business deals because of the savings.

Boat and trailer security

Marine Security

In this article we talk about easy methods to prevent boat and trailer theft.

The idea of security is to implement simple techniques that make your marine possession “too difficult” or “too high a risk” to be stolen. Some might say you only have to provide enough security so a thief chooses the next boat.

This may not be that far from the truth. A quick scan of ten trailers at a local boat ramp showed only one wheel lock in use and three of ten boat trailers had no security at all.

Lets look as some deterrents to theft-

* An alarm system, * An upgraded locking system, * Marking the boat for easy identification. * Methods of immobilizing boat, Reducing motivation includes-



* Lowering the amount of perceived gain from theft * Reducing the perceived value of the stolen items-IE paint and permanent engravings #1 Rule-Keep valuables out of sight

Keeping valuables out of sight is listed as the number one theft deterrent on every police and insurance checklist. For the owner of a boat this is not really an option. The crew may be living or vacationing inside the boat so the thief may imagine there will be something of value inside even if every cupboard is closed and the table is clear.

Lets look at some other deterrents.

Trailer boats Trailers and boats are particularly easy to steal as they are designed to be drug behind another vehicle. Some common methods of theft prevention are-

Wheel Locks

Wheel locks are a simple device that immobilizes the wheels of a vehicle or trailer preventing movement. Wheel locks are often used by police to immobilized vehicles and have a sound reputation as a theft deterrent.

Wheel locks come in a variety of qualities. In the most basic form they simply clamp around the wheel, but leave the lug nuts and bearing exposed. For the professional thief this is slightly better than no wheel lock. Once the thief has a collection of trailers it’s only a matter of carrying a spare tire in the tow vehicle. By changing the tire protected by the wheel lock the trailer is quickly rolling along behind the new tow vehicle.

Better is a wheel lock that covers the lug-nuts and wheel bearing. The SAS wheel lock made in New Zealand is a prime example of the higher level of protection that covers the wheel bearing and a lug nut. This is good as it prevents the thief from easily changing the tire.

Vulnerable ball hitch

Most ball hitches arrive with some type of locking mechanism. At first glance this may seem sufficient, but is it really?

The lock on the tongue of the trailer must be designed to prevent a pair of bolt cutters from reaching the lock shank. An inexpensive pair of bolt cutters will slice the shank of almost any lock quickly and quietly. For this reason most trailer locks now employ the single shank style of lock, thus preventing bolt cutter access.

Hacksaw the lock

The single shank is still vulnerable to a hacksaw. A short length of pipe placed around the lock shank prevents the hacksaw from getting a bite. Make sure the pipe completely fills the shank width so a hacksaw blade can’t be slid down the side of the lock.

Ball hitch bolts

The bolts that secure the ball hitch to the trailer are the next easily removed piece of the security puzzle. Once a thief is in the trailer theft business keeping a supply of interchangeable trailer parts is simple.

The tongue nuts can be made more secured with red lock tight or tack welded to prevent simple disconnection and re-bolting to another trailer. Leaving extra thread showing on the securing bolts during installation can also increase the difficulty of removing the hitch.

Warning

Recently there has recently had a rash of trailer thefts from boat launch areas. When the unfortunate fisherman returns to the dock to find his trailer nicked he often heads off in search of another trailer. During his absence the stolen trailer returns to load the victims boat (fitting perfectly) making a clean get a way with a double theft, boat and trailer.

One method to help prevent theft like the above scenario is to leave the trailer locked to the vehicle. Back the trailer into an obstacle like a curb or tree so there is less room to maneuver the trailer away from the vehicle.

Trailer load locks

Once the trailer itself is secured now we turn out attention to the load carried on the trailer. Jet skies are a prime theft target. Two or three men can easily lift a jet ski from the trailer and transfer it to another location. For this reason the Jet ski or load itself can be cable locked to the trailer.

Paint

Most law enforcement agencies recommend painting the trailer and boat with a distinctive paint job. This can be difficult for a boat trailer, but the plate number or phone number can be welded directly into a support beam. It’s a good idea for this number to be plainly visible to help reduce motivation.

A detailed paint job can be expensive. Some prefer to simply paint stripes while others use high quality printed stickers. This paint scheme can increase the value of the trailer and boat while deterring theft.

Location

Picking the location to park your boat is an early choice that greatly effects the risk of theft.

Phil McSweeney of “Safe and Secure” (SAS) wheel locks tells us the highest theft risk is light industrial areas during the day. The amount of noise and work normally taking place in such areas can mask a theft, yet this is commonly thought of as a safe parking area.

Parking on the street in front of your house is better, but it’s easy for thieves to notice when the house is vacant. Parking by the side of the house, or between houses is better yet, and a second stored vehicle blocking the departure path of the trailer is an added deterrent.

Best is storing a boat in a well lit, camera-monitored area with one road in and out. Signs warning of passive recording of the number plate of every vehicle can go a long way in deterring the initial theft or locating a stolen vehicle.

Marina Security

Boats stored in the water are reliant on the marina security system. When deciding on a marine consider-

* Are security cameras set up? * Are they monitored? * Have there been thefts recently? * Was the security upgraded since the thefts?

It’s common for a company to purchase all the correct security devices only to ignore the system expecting to review the tapes if a theft happened to occur.

Marinas like Gulf Harbor, north of Auckland, have an excellent protection record, while boats on moorings in the adjacent Wade River have reported a string of violations. The difference can be attributed to the Gulf Harbor single road access and monitored security while the Wade River has multiple road access points and little security.

Window Markings

Etching the plate number into the window of a boat can help deter thieves. It should be noted the vehicle identification number should not be used as this number can be matched to the boat key for easy duplication.

A window marking warning of an alarm can help, but the warning should not include the alarm brand name as this gives the thief a clue to the type of alarm he has to disable.

Photos

Take photos of your boat from all angles. Take photos of the serial number, number plate, and engine identification tags. Take another set of photos of each piece of equipment’s identification plate (IE radios, auto pilots, etc) so if the equipment is separated from the boat you have a method of easy identification. By photographing you don’t have to spend time writing long numbers as the serial numbers are stored in a single photo set.

Keep boat photos (and document photos) in a safe place, preferably stored on the net (IE emailed to yourself) so you can find them quickly if needed or away from your home computer.

GPS Tracking

GPS tracking is quickly becoming the prime method of locating a stolen boat. The GPS tracker runs continuously monitoring a pre-determined guard ring. If the boat leaves the trailer park or marina the alarm sounds, and sends a text to a cell phone. The owner can view a web page that shows the vehicle’s progress. It’s a simple matter of calling the police with a description and current location of the vehicle.

GPS tracking can be purchased with two reporting options, satellite, or the less expensive cell phone reporting. This is important as if a vehicle is driven into an area without cell coverage, or a yacht is taken offshore the locating beacon will stop reporting.

Some tracking systems, such as pivotel.com.au report worldwide through the Global Star satellite system while Geosystems.co.nz and Verifind.co.nz are local NZ suppliers that report through the cell phone network.

Equipment costs start around seven hundred dollars. Short-term rentals units are available.

Outboard security

Yachts from the Caribbean have found themselves in a one-upmanship challenge with local thieves. In an attempt to prevent outboard theft, yachts began using a standard clamp lock on the securing bolts that hold the outboard to the tender transom. Thieves quickly learned to disable the commercial locking devices with a simple crescent wrench.

Specialty shops began making an upgraded stainless version of the outboard clamp. Thieves began using a hand sledge and a large punch made from rebar to break the outboard mounting clamp bolts. Stainless clamp bolts were built and distributed throughout the fleet.

The thieves then began cutting the transom out of the tender with battery operated reciprocal saws to remove the outboard. Yachts started adding a stainless plate on each side of the transom in an attempt to outlast the battery packs.

Yacht crew’s took further precautions by hoisting and locking the tender into davits, but thieves cut the locks. Special davits were designed that clamped the complete tender or outboard. Thieves began using high tech pipe cutters to slice through stainless davits or rails that secured the tender. The yachts began building davits and rails with an inside tube that a pipe cutter couldn't’t reach.

Safes

Traveling by boat means we often carry many important documents with us. Passports, bank cards, ownership paperwork, even the possibility of a document that may allow the thief further access to our lives might inadvertently be kept in the boat. To help secure these valuable papers many install a safe or a strong box.

A safe should be well hidden away from public view and well secured to the hull. The idea is to install the strong box so it takes time to find, and makes noise to remove. Thick bolts that can’t be accessed from the backside are a good start.

One of the most common mistakes in safe installation is talking about it. This is a real case of “loose lips sink ships.” Once the a potential thief knows about the safe their motivation level rises to open the “surprise.”

Electronic safe prices start as low as $75 dollars and a better version with mechanical tumblers can cost upward of $400.

Insurance

Once you have taken all the anti-theft precautions you can simply relax and enjoy the day. If you return to a stolen trailer or boat you will have an inconvenience, but at least you’ll be financially covered.

Or will you?

Phil McSweeney of SAS reports many insurance companies require that some forum of extra protection had been installed and used on the stolen trailer. For this reason Phil recommends checking the fine print of your policy and taking a photo of the anti theft devices in use. Keep these photos stored on your hard drive and emailed to yourself so if the unfortunate were to occur you have simple proof the secondary locking device was used. This can reduce the chances of a delay of payment.

Post theft

In the unlikely event your boat or trailer is stolen you should take the following steps-

* Call the local police to file a report. * Notify your insurance * Post photos of the stolen items on http://www.stolenz.co.nz

Don’t buy a stolen boat

One way to reduce the chances of your boat being stolen is to reject the purchase of a stolen boat. The NZ Police website recommends the following to prevent unknowingly purchasing a stolen vessel-

* Expect to pay a fair price. An unreasonably low boat price should raise concerns. * Be sure to inspect the serial number of the boat and outboard motor. * Look for signs of recent ownership changes. * Trace the ownership history. * Record the seller’s details. * Take a photo of the seller. * Contact the local police with the plate number to check if the trailer is stolen.

See- http://www.police.govt.nz/ for more information.

Ten cent solutions

Ten cent solutions are mostly a bluff in an attempt to prevent theft. Still for the DIY here are some simple techniques that have proved themselves in the field.

A common “ten-cent” alarm system is to connect a battery to a siren. A clothespin with contacts on the openings acts as a trigger switch. The clothespin is held open by a bit of plastic sheet. If the skiff is moved the plastic pulls free, and the clothespin snaps shut sounding the alarm.

More simple and inexpensive methods of reducing theft include-

* A red LED flasher mounted on the trailer can present an image of an alarm system. * Remove the coil lead, or other important part when the boat is left unattended. * Engrave your number plate on the engine, parts, and windows in a high profile location. This will lower the motivation, as the vessel parts will be less valuable. * Engrave another set of numbers in a hard to find location so if you ever stumble across your engine you have proof the outboard was once yours.

Future

On the horizon are a series of new technologies to help prevent theft.

The advent of computerized engine control systems will soon lessen the value of stolen vehicle parts. Without the manufacturer interface the stolen parts will not function outside the original vehicle thus reducing the “chop shop” value.

GPS tracking and satellite monitoring means the main engine can be shut down by a single push of a button from a remote location. Imagine the surprise of a thief when motoring along and the engine suddenly shuts down. A voice from a manufacturer representative asks why the boat is underway.

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