Outboard thieves (Ladrones de motores fuerabordas)

by Julian

It finally happened. I suppose we had been riding our luck for a long time. Our Mariner 3.3 outboard motor was stolen. The tender (dinghy) was on the pontoon, tied onto the outside of a larger tender. The yachts on the outside of the pontoon were all occupied, which isn’t always the case. However, the motor was there Sunday night and not there Monday morning.

Sanlúcar de Guadiana is generally a safe place. Thefts from boats are extremely rare. It is a small village and there are eyes everywhere, making sure nobody is up to mischief. Except at around 04:00 Monday morning, and the thieves know this! They visit the pontoon once or twice a year, either by boat or by van and steal two or three outboards. This time they took two, one was ours. We are rarely on the pontoon overnight, so doubly bad luck. Our outboard was small and not chained on, which might have stopped them this time. However, previously the thieves have stolen large 60 HP outboards, cutting the chain and all the cables and generally making a real mess of the boat.

People who know more than anybody ought to, have even speculated that the thieves have a place near Villablanca and had been tipped off about the outboards. Whatever the truth, it is very frustrating. Given the multiple outboard thefts many of us would like to see something like a security camera. However, the mayor has already spoken to the police about this, and there are laws against installing CCTV in public places (the pontoon is not an enclosed marina, but an extension of the village).

Anyway, until we can sort out something permanent, Eric on the boat “Signora” has kindly lent us his outboard. It is basically a grass strimmer with a propeller. It is sold as an “air-cooled four stroke outboard”. There is very little that can go wrong with it and we have been told it is reliable, but it is a thorough nightmare to use, and Martina complains that motoring around on a grass strimmer cramps her style! Anyway when we get a replacement, we will be vigilant and keep it chained on. However, to be really secure we should chain the tender on as well, but I don’t like that idea because it can be a real pain to other pontoon users. It is a shame that seven years of not chaining our outboard has now come to an end.


Four stroke air cooled “Grass Cutter” outboard aboard our tender Freja.


3 thoughts on “Outboard thieves (Ladrones de motores fuerabordas)

    • Thankfully this time they didn’t pinch the oars, and my muscles are getting a good workout! However, our Zodiac oars were nicked outside Ayamonte last September. Thankfully we’d hidden the outboard that time and so were able to get back to Carina! Although I don’t much like doing it without the backup of the oars.

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