Boat Theft: Being Proactive is the Key to Preventing Boat Theft

By Patrick Farrell March 27, 2012

Boat Safety Uncategorized

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

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 visible, making it difficult for a thief to steal your boat without being noticed. You should also practice the following helpful tips.

1. Be careful with the keys. Do not leave your key in the ignition when the boat isn’t in use, or when it’s unattended.

2. Secure your boat so it cannot be easily moved.
On land – If your boat is left on a trailer for a short period of time, then remember to install and use a high quality trailer hitch lock. For longer periods of time, remove one wheel from the trailer and store it in a secure location away from the boat. Also, chain the trailer frame to a large tree or another immovable object.

On the water – If your boat is large enough to carry or tow a dinghy, then know that a dinghy in the water is an easy target. If you can, store it aboard the primary boat. However, if it needs to stay in the water, then 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. Choose a marina with full-time security and good lighting (if stored at a marina.) Make sure the marina employees are aware of when your boat is being used. The sooner they are aware the boat is missing, the sooner they can notify you so efforts to locate your vessel can begin.

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

6. Remove all personal property such as portable electronics and fishing equipment from your boat when it’s not in use. If it cannot be easily removed, then store 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. Store your boat behind your house or on the side of your house (if you keep your boat at home.) 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. Avoid entry into your vessel’s cabin, replace the spring-latch locking assembly with a deadbolt-type lock.

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

10. Ask a friend to check in on your boat regularly if you must leave it for an extended period of time. 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, boats and marine businesses, including luxury mega-yachts and sailboats, sport fishing boats, ski boats, personal watercrafts, high performance vessels and select charter vessels, as well as yacht clubs, marinas, boat dealers, boat builders and more.

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

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