Seventy-five percent of all stolen boats match the following description: Less than 26 feet long, rests on a trailer, powered by an outboard motor. There’s more bad news: only 10 percent of stolen boats are ever fully recovered. These statistics come from the BoatUS Marine Insurance claims for the past five years. Whether your boat takes the winter season off or keeps on going year round, here are five tips to help you keep your boat.
1. Lock it up. Two, three – you cannot have too many locks. Secure the trailer tongue, outboard engine, and/or chain and lock the trailer wheels. You want to make the thief lose interest in your baby.
2. Do not leave the ignition key on a stored boat. Never assume your key's hiding place is so good that thieves won't find it. Thieves are good at what they do.
3. Make the trailer difficult to move. Do not park the boat with the trailer tongue facing the street; a removable tongue hitch is good; use removable taillights since thieves usually work the night shift; for long-term storage, remove the trailer tires.
4. Do not attract attention. Use a full winter cover to hide flashy graphics. Store all removable electronics, paperwork and valuables at home during the off-season. You may want to think twice about hanging a "for sale" sign on the side of your boat.
5. Check out new anti-theft technologies. There are devices that send alerts to your cell phone, take photos/video, provide tracking, or kill the motor if your boat moves from its virtual boundary. For more useful information go to www.BoatUS.com/Boat-Thefts.