Boat Theft – How to Protect your Boat from Theft

If you own a boat, or you’re thinking of purchasing, please review these theft-prevention tips to keep your boat safe. Boat theft occurs all year round, whether it is in use or during lay-up. As one of your largest assets, your boat or yacht should be protected. In addition to comprehensive boat insurance, it is always helpful to take steps toward preventing theft.

1. Careful with the keys! Do not leave your key in the ignition when the boat is not in use, or when it is unattended.

2. A secure boat is a safe boat. Secure your boat so it cannot easily be moved.

  • On land – If Remember to install and use a high-quality trailer hitch lock if the boat is left on a trailer for a short period. For longer periods, remove one wheel from the trailer and lock the removed wheel in a secure location, away from the boat. Also, chain the trailer frame to a large tree or other immovable object.
  • On the water – If your boat is large enough to carry or tow a dinghy, know that a dinghy in the water is an easy target If you can, try and stow it aboard the primary boat. If it must stay in the water, use a cable and a padlock to secure it to the primary vessel.
  • 3. Never leave a “For Sale” sign on your boat when you’re away for a long period of time.

    4. If your boat is kept at a marina, choose one with full-time security and good lighting. Make sure your marina is aware of when your boat is being used by you or an operator approved by you. The sooner they become aware the boat isn’t in its slip or where it is supposed to be, the sooner they can notify you so efforts can begin to locate your vessel.

    5. Install an anti-theft alarm and/or tracking system on your boat. NBOA Marine Insurance has a variety in our Ship’s Store, and we can recommend a quality model based on your needs.

    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. Use a diamond-tipped tool and etch identifying marks on all electronic cases, high-value rods and reels, HD/Plasma TV sets and other expensive personal items.

    7. If the boat is kept at your home, store it behind your house or on the side of your house. Avoid leaving it in a spot that is visible from the street. Also, park it so the trailer tongue doesn’t face the street.

    8. To avoid entry into your vessel’s cabin, replace the spring-latch locking assembly with a deadbolt-type lock.

    9. Do not leave registration, title or document papers on the boat when it is not in use. While in use, these papers must be onboard the vessel.

    10. If you must leave your boat for an extended period of time, ask a friend to check on it regularly. Of course, if the worst should happen and your boat or equipment is stolen, it pays to have comprehensive insurance in place. NBOA Marine Insurance offers exceptional, all-risk insurance coverage for pleasure boats of every size -from the smallest to the largest – throughout the United States. Programs are available to protect an entire spectrum of pleasure yachts and boats and marine businesses, including luxury mega-yachts and sailboats, sport fishing boats, ski boats, personal watercraft, high-performance vessels and select charter vessels, as well as yacht clubs, marinas, boat dealers, boat builders and more.

    Thieves typically strike where they find an easy opportunity. You can help deter theft by keeping in mind three basic principles – TIME, NOISE and VISIBILITY. Do things that increase the time it would take to steal your boat. Take preventative measures that would force a thief to make noise in order to steal your boat. Keep your boat where it is invisible, making it difficult for a thief to steal your boat without being noticed.

    NBOA Marine Insurance is committed to keeping you, your family, and your boat safe. If you have any questions regarding boat safety, or if you would like more information on NBOA’s boat insurance, please visit or call one of our agents directly at 1-800-248-3512.

    Read More About Your Boat Insurance Policies
  • Go to our Boat Insurance Guide Homepage page to go back to the boat insurance basics.
  • Go to our Physical Damage Exclusions page to see what is NOT covered in some boat insurance policies.
  • Go to our Policies page to research different marine insurance policies.
  • Go to our Boat Towing and Personal Property Insurance page to review personal property and boat towing coverage.
  • Go to our Medical Payments page to read about medical liability insurance.
  • Go to our Uninsured Boater Coverages page to read about uninsured boater insurance.
  • Go to our Boat Insurance Rates page to check all the possible factors that affect your boat insurance rate.
  • Go to our Boat Insurance Myths page to dispel some common misconceptions about boat insurance coverage.
  • Go to our Lay-up Coverage page to see why you should keep your policy active during the lay-up
  • Go to our Hurricane Preparation page to see how to prepare your boat for a hurricane.

    Get Quote