The Boat Thieves Want to Steal
5 Tips to Stop Yours From Being Taken This Winter
According to an article published in BoatUS, there seems to be a sweet spot for boat thieves
Is your boat less than 26 feet? Does it have outboard motor power and rest on a trailer? If you said yes, beware – you’re a big target for theft. A newly released study that looked at five years of BoatUS Marine Insurance claims files shows that 75 percent of all boats stolen matched this description. With the long winter lay-up period nearing, here are five tips to make your boat harder to steal.
- Just one lock? Try another, and another. You simply can’t have enough. The whole goal is to make someone else’s boat more attractive than yours, so the more locks a thief sees on the trailer tongue, outboard engine, or used with chain around the trailer wheels the better the chance he’ll move on.
- Don’t leave the key on a stored boat. Never assume your key’s hiding place is so good that thieves won’t find it. Remember, that’s what these people do for a living.
- Make the trailer impossible to move. A removable tongue hitch, or, better yet, removing the trailer tires if the boat’s going into long-term storage turns your rig into 1-ton dead weight. The little things can help, too, such as not parking your boat in the driveway with the hitch facing the street. Consider using removable trailer lights – with most thieves working the nightshift, they want to avoid attracting the attention an unlit trailer would cause.
- Don’t stick out. You may want to think twice about hanging a “for sale” sign on the side of your boat. Use a full winter cover to hide attention-getting, splashy graphics. Store all valuables, removable electronics and paperwork at home during the off-season.
- Check out new anti-theft technologies. Devices that send alerts to your cell phone, take photos/video, provide tracking, or kill the motor if your boat moves from its virtual boundary can stop a theft in its tracks. Once a boat is gone, the BoatUS study finds that only one in 10 vessels are ever fully recovered.