Boat security – how to keep a tight, safe ship

Boats are prime targets for thieves; have your boat insured and take every reasonable precaution to keep it secure. Use a hardened alloy steel chain or vinyl covered cable to tie a small boat to a dock or mooring. If it’s an open boat, run the chain around a seat.

A boat stored on a trailer is especially susceptible to theft. If possible, park it out of sight of the road. Remove loose gear from the boat, and remove or lock the motor and prop. Lock the trailer securely. Off season remove a wheel from the trailer, block the frame, and lock or dismantle the trailer tongue.

To make a boat cabin more secure, lay wooden dowels in the tracks of sliding windows. Put strong hinges with long screws on the main hatch and add an exterior lock. On the forward hatch, add special interior hatch fasteners or a padlock. Finally, install an alarm system to discourage intruders. Marking gear and taking inventory Mark deck chairs, flotation gear, windbreakers, and other loose items with your name, your boat’s name, and your home port. Electronic instruments, communication gear, outboard motors, and the like should be engraved with your driver’s license number and state or your Social Security number. (The police can locate you right away if they find an item with your license number; with a Social Security number it takes longer.) You can buy an engraving tool at a hardware store or make one of an electric drill fitted with a burr bit.

Make a complete inventory, including descriptions, serial and model numbers, and manufacturers of your boat and its engine, sails, electronic gear, and other equipment. Boats built after 1972 have a hull number, which you should record. Take photographs from different angles. Keep the inventory and pictures at home. Other precautions Ask forb right, all-night lighting at the marina, and encourage the other boat owners to watch your property in exchange for your watching theirs. If you put the boat in dry dock, remove instruments, fittings, canvas, and loose gear. Visit the boat regularly.