Don’t let thieves throw wet blanket on your boating season

May 14, 2014

If we can’t catch criminals to send them up the river, at least divert their attention

  POSTAGE  by Rob Stamp

Thieves look for the easiest opportunities to engage in their special evil brand of wrongdoing. Boatowners can help deter theft by keeping in mind three basic principles: time, noise and visibility. This means taking measures to increase the time it takes to steal your boat, making sure it creates plenty of noise to steal your boat, and keeping your boat in plain sight so that it becomes difficult for a thief to steal your boat.

Compiled from prevention tips offered by various law enforcement agencies, here are 10 precautions boatowners can take to prevent becoming a target of a lowlife thief:

  1. Do not leave your key in the ignition when the boat is not in use, and do not leave your key on the boat when it is unattended.
  2. Secure your boat so it cannot be easily moved. On land, install a high quality trailer hitch lock, remove one wheel (and store it elsewhere), or consider chaining the trailer to a large tree or other immovable object.
  3. Never leave a For Sale sign posted on your boat. According to the cops, it may just as well read Steal Me.
  4. When possible, choose a marina with full-time security and good lighting. An abundance of attractive, bikini-clad women is always a nice touch, but the jury remains out on whether that actually deters criminal activity or encourages it.
  5. Install an anti-theft alarm and/or tracking system on your boat. Your local marine supplier should be able to recommend a quality model.
  6. Remove all personal property, such as portable electronics and fishing equipment, from the boat when not in use. If it cannot be easily removed, stow your equipment where it is out of sight and preferably in a locked storage location. Don’t make it ridiculously easy for some punk to just reach into the boat and steal your crap.
  7. If the boat is kept at your home, store it behind or along the side of your house. There are specially designed stern drive and propeller locks whose appearance alone may send away the dirtbags looking to steal your watercraft.
  8. To avoid the bad guys from gaining entry into your vessel’s cabin, replace the spring-latch locking assembly with a deadbolt-type lock.
  9. Do not leave registration, title or other important documents onboard when it is not in use.
  10. If you must leave your boat unattended for an extended period of time, ask a friend to check on it regularly. The 12-pack it costs to receive such service is well worth it.

Unfortunately, one could follow all of these suggestions and do even more, like hire a trained sniper to stand guard, yet still find themselves the victim of a boat thief. If that happens, you’ll be glad you bought the comprehensive insurance policy recommended by your friendly Meadow Park agent.