One Saturday morning in early 2014 I got a panicky email from client Kurt. He’d woken up, looked out through the front window, and received a shock none of us would ever want – his trailer boat had been stolen overnight. The wheel clamp intended to prevent that happening was left neatly on the nature strip. Could I help by posting a picture of the boat on our popular Facebook page? That way, readers could keep an eye out for it. Of course I could:
The pic and the request went viral, with five hundred plus shares and ninety thousand views. The boat was found next day, parked outside a metal recycling facility in south west Sydney.
I don’t take credit for that by any means, but the happy owner said the recovery was due to the Facebook post. Subsequently a visitor who knew about these things told me that a 6.5metre alloy boat could be worth around $2800, for scrap metal. That explained the motive.
A few weeks passed, and it happened again. Another panicked mail and another justifiably upset owner. This time, a fibreglass Trophy:
Hi Andy. My best mates boat was stolen yesterday morning from out the front of his house between 6am and 8am at Mt Annan The trailer had a wheel clamp and two padlocks. There were no drag marks so I would say these guys were grade A professionals. It was obviously his pride and joy, any help would be highly appreciated.
Posted that straight away hoping for the same result, and this time the boat was found by police. It was undergoing a ‘number job’, where the thieves change the ID panel on the stolen boat, then resell it. Once again the owner was super happy to get his pride and joy back, with only some tools and safety gear stolen out of the cabin.
Hey Andy, police found the boat!! It was found at Lansvale halfway through a number job. Thank you so much for all your help. We should get the boat back in two weeks or so after the investigators have finished with it. Just hope everyone from the dogs that stole it, the scum that organised it and the dirt that were preparing it for resale get what they deserve.
Thanks again Andy!!
Discussing this with a switched on client I learned it’s mostly tow truck drivers doing it. Apologies to all the honest towies out there but I’m told that dishonest ones spot trailer boats either parked on the street or in the driveway and mark them down for a visit on a rainy windy night - when they’re less likely to be heard or observed. And that it’s not just the value of the boat that’s of interest – the radio, sounder, outboard and safety gear and the like can be easily sold for cash too.
At the same time, I was reading online about GPS trackers and how amazing they have been in locating stolen property. If you’re not familiar with them, these are small electronic devices, smaller than a cigarette pack, and easily concealable.
They interact with your mobile phone to let you know their current location. Meaning that, if your boat or car is stolen, you simply send an SMS to the Tracker. It responds immediately with a Google map link showing its location:
These are being used by people to recover their stolen property – without police involvement. In this case, a thief was busted stealing from charity bins, when someone hid a tracker in a teddy bear (read):
And this scumbag was caught after stealing another teddy bear – with a tracker hidden inside - from a grave:
But they’re pretty expensive. The one mentioned above costs £200, or $350 Australian. We wanted ours to retail for a third of that. So we started with some research to find what set up most suited trailer boats. All Trackers need to see the sky – meaning they need protection from rain. And even though they’re very low current draw, a power supply is necessary for one to work for more than ten days.
After multiple trials and plenty of testing we’ve come up with the perfect option. Our tracker is small and concealable. It works like a dream and sends a Google map link to your mobile phone. Click that and you know its location immediately:
Our model is supplied with a ALDI SIM card pre-fitted, so you don’t have to waste your Saturday morning getting everything sorted at your local phone shop.
Here’s how to install and use your GPS Tracker.
Firstly, unpack and check everything’s complete.
You should have:
First job is to supply external 12 volt power. Our 7 AH 12V battery supplies around 220 days battery life. This makes the Tracker a standalone unit with no other wiring needed:
If you ordered one of these with your Tracker, simply trim the red and black wires and crimp on the push terminals supplied.
Connect to the battery lugs and use the double sided tape supplied to stick the Tracker to the battery. You are now powered up:
Put battery and Tracker in the waterproof bag supplied and you’re good to go for 220 days in any weather conditions:
If wiring to boat power, you will find the Tracker has 4 wires in its loom. Red and black are for positive and earth. The other two wires – yellow and white - can be used to operate a relay via mobile phone. Their original intent was connection to a vehicle fuel pump enabling switching off the fuel supply by SMS, should the car be stolen. Those wires can be used – for instance – to remotely switch on a siren. We don’t recommend that either, because you are notifying the thief that your boat is being tracked, and the likelihood is he will quickly disable both the siren and Tracker.
So for hard wiring to the boat, trim yellow and white wires close to the clip, then join and connect positive and negative to red and black wires in the usual way. Note – your installation point must be a spot where your Tracker can see the sky and read GPS signals. Consider some form of camouflage so the Tracker is not on obvious display:
Your Tracker is now powered up and concealed in a dry place where it can see the sky. Time to get your mobile phone to communicate with it, so position details can be sent to you by SMS. With your ALDI SIM package handy,
go online to www.aldimobile.com.au and click the ‘Activate a SIM’ tab:
The SIM card is already installed in your Tracker but you need to activate it and also recharge the account with $10 from your credit card. That means your Tracker can only be accessed from *your* mobile phone. Enter the details shown on the card enclosed with your Tracker, and follow the prompts. It’s an easy process. Firstly, enter the activation code into the appropriate field:
Click through, then enter your contact details in the fields as shown. ALDI will send your account number and password to the email address you nominate. When the email arrives your service is activate. All that’s needed now is to recharge the SIM card to give you 365 days of credit. Go to www.aldimobile.com.au and click the recharge tab.
Enter your mobile number and password into the ‘Login To Recharge By Online Payment’ field:
Click ‘Login’, then select ‘I want to buy Flexible Pay As You Go.’ Use your credit card to add $15 credit, giving 365 days of coverage:
All done! Enter your Tracker’s phone number into your mobile phone address book.
Then send it the following SMS (in capitals, no spaces)
You will receive a Google Map showing your Tracker’s location by SMS:
If your phone does not have Google Maps capability, just copy the co-ordinates into your computer’s Web browser.
If your Tracker internal battery gets low, or mains power is cut off, it will sent you an SMS warning including current location:
Any questions, please call or email?
Thanks for reading,