Boat security is crucial because few situations sour the boating experience like property loss, especially when you think about how much time and gear (and money) we put into our boats each season. We don’t want our stuff taken and we definitely don’t want our boat stolen; in both cases, there’s a significant chance they won’t be recovered. We do have good news though: whether you're new to it or you've been on the water your whole life, there’s always new boat security tips to learn and new products to consider so your property stays right where you want it.
Boat Security Tips and Gear
When it comes to thinking through how to boost your boat security, you always want to have a mix of good habits, helpful hacks, and innovative products on your side. Oftentimes, it’s all about building an increasingly better system for how you secure your boat. Sure, 'where there’s a will, there’s a way' for the bad guys, but many thieves are lazy. Even if there is no such thing as a perfect plan, the following tips and products can make your boat a less appealing target and one that’s harder to come away with, too.
1. Stow Before You Go
Make it part of the process to remove valuables and store your stuff. If you can, connect the idea of storing that gear along with another task you always do, whether it’s locking the truck doors, sending a text to a loved one when you arrive at a tournament, or something else that is already a habit. If it’s out of sight, there will be less temptation for others and if it’s harder to get to, it won’t be as much of an easy mark. Consider putting items in a bag that’s subtle, too — the flashier and nicer the bag, the more appealing it looks for the bad guys.
Relatedly, it’s a bad idea to leave keys on your boat or in your car. Simply removing the ignition key and killswitch key can make your boat much less appealing. With some systems, you can even remove the key to the battery cut-off switch and make it even harder for boat thieves.
As you're removing electronics, consider using a KONG MOUNT. These incredibly strong mounts not only protect your electronics from rough water, they also have an innovative quick release system that saves you time when you're removing your graphs.
2. Lock Before You Leave
There are MANY different locks you can get to secure your boat and although it may be a process to install and remove them, each one adds another layer of difficulty for the bad guys. You can lock everything up from your hitch to your trolling motor, hatches, and more.
For best results, get a lock suited for each specific job, designed for strength, and ready to face the elements,. You might possibly get by with other choices, but you probably won’t save much and there’s a strong chance you’ll even regret springing for something less.
Even if you have factory locks, consider adding an additional line of security in case they fail or are not quite enough. If you have a Loc-R-Bar mounted on your bow, for example, you have what you need to stop thieves from easily opening hatches along with a lock that can sound alarm if someone tries tampering with your stuff.
3. Arm an Alarm and Stay Alert
When the rubber hits the road, alarms are your last chance for prevention. You can use something as simple as a vibration-activated screaming padlock or install a full alarm system with a key fob that tells you when there’s trouble. In any case, you want to give your boat the chance to attract attention and call for help when someone tries to mess with it.
4. Scope Your Surroundings
If an area feels unsafe, there’s a reason it feels that way. Trust your gut and take all the precautions you can. Even if an area looks okay, it’s still a good idea to take those precautions. And if you’re going somewhere new, be sure to check relevant Facebook groups and forums for reports of theft and other local crime so you can size up the situation and make the right arrangements. This can be particularly important if you are fishing somewhere new for a tournament and leaving your boat outside overnight.
5. Process Your Property
When it comes to keeping track of your electronics, make sure you’re recording what you own — Manufacturer and Model information, Serial numbers, etc. Along with photos of your boat and gear, you can attach waterproof labels as this can help with insurance and potential indicators of ownership. You can make the identifiers on those labels less obvious, too, like putting your HIN / Boat Registration Number on there. If the thief isn’t that bright, they may leave it while they will likely remove a name and phone number.
If something does get stolen, ALWAYS report it. This helps with crime data and can help with increased deterrence programs and property recovery. From there, it’s your choice what to do with your insurance.
When Your Boat’s Safe, You Won’t Be Sorry
Even if you have the best insurance, the process of a claim and replacement is a hassle. Don't let the bad guys get your gear and don't set yourself up for having to spend time trying to replace and recover your property — you could be using that time enjoying your boat instead.