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Most boating-related thefts are crimes of opportunity. How many times have you been on a dock and watched someone walk away from their vessel with the keys in the ignition, or leave their expensive electronics on board and in plain sight? Similarly, a quick scan of trailers parked near a boat ramp will normally show only one or two with locks of some kind.

So, what’s a safety-minded boat owner to do? Here are some tips for keeping your boat and boating items where they belong.

  • GPS Tracking – These systems, found mostly on larger cruisers and yachts, are the gold standard for boat security. They continually monitor a boat and sound an alarm if it leaves a predetermined area, all the while tracking the location of the boat to aid law enforcement in recovery.
  • Boat Alarms – Install a self-contained boat alarm, available at most marine stores, and be sure to put a sticker in the cabin window or on the windshield to warn would-be thieves that it is aboard.
  • Do-It-Yourself – Are you a true do-it-yourselfer? Try removing a critical, but easily replaced, part of the ignition system in between boat outings. A hidden kill switch or a fuel shutoff can also work well.
  • Choose the Right Berth – Boats stored in water can be particularly vulnerable. Make sure your marina is gated and has security, whether cameras or guards. Dry storage can provide a safer option than in-water storage. It’s always a good idea to remove valuables when possible, or at least hide them from plain view.
  • Mark it Up – Most police departments and insurance companies advise that marking key boat parts, including trailers, will lower their value to thieves. Engraving or some kind of permanent marking is important.
  • Trailered Boats – At the boat ramp, always lock your trailer (and your trailer hitch) to your tow vehicle. A heavy chain attaching the trailer to a sturdy object also goes a long way to deterring thieves. When storing your trailer, face the tongue in to a building or fence to make moving it that much more difficult. Another option is to use a wheel lock of some kind.

United Marine Underwriters is more than just boat insurance. Browse our Boats For Sale at BoatBrowser or our Lake Resource Guide at LakeBrowser or share your fishing stories and photos at True Fish Tales – the ones that did not get away.

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2 Responses to Theft Protection for Your Boat

  1. Boat Parts says:

    simply loved reading this great post. keep up the good work.

  2. Wally says:

    Thank you for those tips, very informative and useful. Appreciated

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