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How to Keep Your Boat Safe at Night and While You're Away

by Duncan Seawall

Obtaining the boat of your dreams can require a lifetime of careful planning and saving. But, unfortunately, all of that hard work can be undone in an instant by an enterprising thief. And while boat theft is less common than auto theft, statistics show that only 1 in 10 stolen boats are ever recovered. So it can be a harsh blow to both your finances and your pride for your prized watercraft to go missing at night or while you're away.

Related Blog: The Benefits of Storing Your Boat on a Boat Lift


However, there are ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of maritime theft. Most of them are more straightforward than you might think. Here are several strategies for keeping your boat safe and sound.


Use Adequate Locks On Your Boat

A good lock is worth twice its weight in gold. Therefore, it would be best to keep your boat's cabin, door, and windows locked securely whenever your boat isn't in use. Boats generally come with locks installed on each of these entry points. However, if the manufacturer's locks don't seem like enough of a deterrent, consider replacing them with more robust locks that potential thieves can't pick or tamper with easily. And keep any keys on your person or in a safe place far away from your boat.

If you've tied your boat to the dock, be sure to check the security of the moorings. There are few worse feelings than arriving at the dock for a day on the water only to find a pile of slashed or unknotted rope where your boat used to be. Replace the rope if it seems worn, and make sure you use a sturdy knot to secure your boat. 


Install An Alarm System

When a car alarm goes off, you can't help but notice and pay attention to it, right? That's the same principle behind a boat alarm. It's intended to draw attention to any unwanted presence around your boat and alert you in enough time to allow you to do something about it. Even if you aren't near your boat when the alarm goes off, the sound of it can be enough to deter any would-be thief.

You can find boat alarms with lock sensors, camera equipment, and the ability to shut down the boat's power systems in the event of a theft. There are even alarms that can alert you or others via text message through an app that you can download. That way, you can be aware of what is going on even if you're miles away from your boat.




Utilize A Boat Lift

A quality boat lift is an invaluable security measure. Simply put, it elevates your boat above the waterline. Not only does it make your boat harder to steal, but it also helps to keep your boat's hull clean. It also protects the hull from wear and tear caused by hull blisters, accidental impacts, and marine life. Be sure to not only turn off the power to the lift but also lock the lift control and breaker boxes when your boat is not in use.


Disable Your Boat

It can be a bit more extreme of a measure, but if you don't plan on using your boat for a while, you can disable it altogether. Removing the battery or shutting off the fuel lines works if you have a motorized boat. If your vessel operates by wind power, you can take the sails down and store them somewhere away from your boat.

Secure Your Boat's Trailer

Leaving your boat on an unsecured trailer is not much different from leaving your car with the door open and the keys inside. Use a wheel lock and a hitch lock on your trailer. If you plan to be away for a while, you can even remove a wheel from the trailer. And, if possible, keep your trailer parked in a locked garage or storage facility away from prying eyes.


Utilize Security Lighting At Night

Thieves work best under cover of darkness so that no one will spot them during their illicit actions. Security lighting is the best deterrent outside of a very loyal and vicious guard dog. Be sure to install your lights somewhere that they can shine brightly and be seen even dozens of feet away. If you're installing the light on a private dock, use a color that will cut through the water easily.


There are many easy measures that you can take to prevent your boat from being stolen. If you're using equipment for it, be sure to purchase high-quality locks, alarms, boat lifts, or lights. If you need anything installed, hire a trained professional to ensure that the job is done well.

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