If you own a boat, boat security might be the last thing you expect to have to worry about, but just like all types of vehicles boats are often the target of opportunistic thieves. According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau there were 4240 watercraft thefts in 2019 alone. So in the interest of making your boat safer and more secure this article will explore some security measures and boat security devices you can use to ensure you don’t become a victim.
Let’s talk about boat theft
Every boat owner needs to consider the security of their watercraft. In this section we will be looking at some statistics around boat theft in the US, so we can better understand what types of boats are targeted and which areas are hardest hit. The statistics shared below are taken from the NICB: 2019 Watercraft Theft Report.
Boat theft statistics in the USA
While boat theft happens all across the United States there are some areas where it is more prolific. Florida, California and Texas are the hotspots for these types of crimes. It is also interesting to note that boat theft is most prevalent in the summer months of June and July, which makes sense as this is when boats are most likely to be used. When we look at the types of watercraft stolen the results may surprise you. Personal watercraft such as Jet skis are the most often stolen type of watercraft, followed by runabouts, with utility craft such as canoes taking the third spot. However, it is important to remember that petty theft is also a problem on boats where their inherently bad security allows thieves to steal valuables that have been left unattended.
Upping your boat security measures
Now that we better understand the types of boat crime and where it occurs, let’s take a look at some measures you can take to make your boat more secure. While the security measures that are right for you will vary depending on the type of boat you own and where it is stored, there are some universal tips that will apply to most types of boats.
Lock the doors
If your boat has a cabin it is important to ensure that it is properly locked to stop people accessing it when the boat is standing in the docks. Many boat doors feature rudimentary locks, so you may want to consider adding supplementary locks to the door to make it more secure. One device that does just that is the LockLatch, a lockable window and door latch which was designed with boats in mind. LockLatch was invented by Anthony Bairos an accomplished round the world sailor who saw a need to develop a more secure way to secure his boat on his travels. The real beauty of the LockLatch is that it allows you to keep your boat doors locked, but slightly ajar, meaning that you get security, but can also keep the door open to allow for ventilation, which is a constant issue for many small cabins, which can get hot and stuffy when the boat is locked up. LockLatch has a patented design that can be fitted onto any type of boat door in minutes with a few rivets or screws in the case of wooden boat doors. The C304 stainless steel arm can then be adjusted allowing you to control the size of the opening to provide just the right amount of ventilation for your cabin.
Install window locks
LockLatch can also be used to secure boat windows and here it offers the same advantages as it does for boat doors with more security and improved ventilation. Although LockLatch is now used to secure homes, caravans and sheds around the world, it was originally invented for use on boats and thus the stainless steel construction means it will be able to stand up to the rigors of life at sea, adding longevity to the product and more security to your boat.
Lock the engine casing
Criminals may not be after the whole boat and so it is important to ensure each expensive area of your boat is properly locked. This includes the engine casing, which houses many important and expensive parts. Some engines come with built in locks, but if yours doesn’t have one you may want to invest in a sturdy lock.
Lock the wheels if the boat is on a trailer
If your boat is off the water, you may be at risk of having your boat trailer stolen. To prevent this you may want to look at getting a coupling lock which will make it far harder for an individual to hitch your trailer to their vehicle. Another option is to look into wheel clamps or locks which will prevent the trailer from being towed away.
Lock the propellers in place
Propellers are another expensive part of the boat, which can be targeted by opportunistic thieves.To prevent this you should look into installing a propeller lock. These devices lock the propellers in place to prevent theft. Furthermore, if your boat has an outboard motor, you may want to invest in a lock to stop a criminal removing it from your boat.
Install a satellite tracking device
In the unfortunate event that your boat is stolen you will want to get it back. Even if the boat is insured, recovery can be better than filing an insurance claim, which will no doubt cause your premiums to go up and cost you the excess payment. A satellite tracking device will allow you to locate your boat if it is stolen, and this information can be shared with authorities to help you retrieve it.
Additional boat security options
Now that we’ve covered the conventional methods of making your boat more secure, let’s look at some alternatives and new technologies you can employ for even more security.
Alarm systems are a great way to prevent petty theft on your boat. While you can just install an alarm with a siren, it is far better to get one that will notify your smartphone or a security company that there is an intruder on your boat. These devices are getting easier to install and more cost effective every day, so there is no reason why your boat shouldn’t have one.
Remote viewing cameras
Just like wireless alarms, remote cameras can send their feed directly to your smartphone, meaning you can see what has triggered them and take appropriate action by calling the dock security or the authorities if an intruder is on your boat.
Kill switches are generally used to stop the engine in an emergency, these are usually tethered to the arm of the captain, and can be tugged to cut the engine off immediately. While this is a useful function, they also double as added protection against theft. If you are leaving your boat for an extended period you can remove the killswitch to render the boat inoperable.
Secure your boats doors and locks with LockLatch
LockLatch was purposefully designed for use on boats and thus offers manys security advantages for boat owners, while the stainless steel is able to withstand the salty air and water. Why not start making your boat more secure with a LockLatch.