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VOL. 10 NO. 12
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Prevent boat theft

5 tips to stop thieves from stealing your boat

Prevent boat theft

Is your boat less than 26 feet? Does it have an outboard motor and rest on a trailer? If yes, beware: Your boat is a big target for theft. A newly released study shows that 75 percent of all stolen boats matched this description. With the long winter lay-up period upon us, here are five tips to make your boat harder to steal.

  1. Use more than one lock. You can’t have enough. The more locks a thief sees—on the trailer tongue, outboard engine, or used with chain around the trailer wheels—the better the chance the thief will move on.
  2. Don’t leave the key on a stored boat. Never assume your key’s hiding place is so good that thieves won’t find it.
  3. Make the trailer impossible to move. A removable tongue hitch, or, better yet, removing the trailer tires if the boat’s going into long-term storage, turns your rig into 1-ton dead weight. The little things can help, too, such as not parking your boat in the driveway with the hitch facing the street. Consider using removable trailer lights. Most thieves work at night and want to avoid attracting the attention an unlit trailer would cause.
  4. Don’t stick out. You may want to think twice about hanging a “for sale” sign on the side of your boat. Use a full winter cover to hide splashy, attention-getting graphics. Store all valuables, removable electronics and paperwork at home during the off-season.
  5. Check out new anti-theft technologies. Devices that send alerts to your cell phone, take photos or video, provide tracking, or kill the motor if your boat moves from its virtual boundary can stop a theft in its tracks. Once a boat is gone, the study found that only one in 10 vessels are ever fully recovered.

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