Simple Boat Security Recommendations

boat insurance mooring pinThis article aims to provide you with some quick-hit knowledge, facts and recommendations about how to better secure you vessel and boating belongings. This article is written merely to generate goodwill and to meet our intended aspirations of being a responsible boat insurance provider, it is provided on a best intentions basis only and inevitably is not comprehensive... do also take local advice.

Unfortunately those who would seek to take advantage of your boating worldly possessions range from the opportunistic to the dedicated professional criminal, therefore as a result anyone’s vessel and associated belongings can be a target of crime no matter what it’s size or value. Besides the actual boat itself, common items stolen from boats primarily tend to be those easily picked up and carried by humans or those that are portable, of higher value with a ready resale value. Outboard motors and generators, marine communications and navigation equipment, tools and toolboxes, trailers and portable personal belongings are all desirable items that fit this description, as well as any metal items with decent scrap value. This points made, the ease of selling items via the internet, even those which you might assume of little market value due to their specialist nature, if not put away or fixed down are vulnerable.

In short, you need to take a pro-active, broad and comprehensive approach to boat security. We all need to periodically take an objective review of our own security vulnerabilities, do the simple things consistently and objectively consider taking additional security precautions now rather than later. Much of the advice surrounding boat security may be common sense when you read it and actually the precautions are often no different from the way you would protect your home or other cherished belongings, but being a company that deals with a very broad range of boat insurance and content insurance claims we can assure that that many overlook undertaking the seemingly most simple security precautions. Why risk your excess and the surrounding aggravation of having to make an insurance claim, when some simply pro-active measures can be taken?

Audit your situation

The task here is to put yourself in the shoes of a wannabe thief. Walk around your vessel mooring and then your boat and ask what would I be attracted to steal here, what opportunities do I have to steal something without being detected? Consider the following items;

  • What items are loose/ detachable on the outside of the vessel.
  • What is on display inside the vessel.
  • Where could entry be most easily be forced.
  • Is my mooring too highly concealed (particularly important to consider when on tour/ roaming).
  • Or adversely, is my mooring too easily accessible.

Write down the issues you find, rank/ weight them in order of greatest impact/risk and decide what actions to take to mitigate the risk.

The Simple Measures

Listed below are things to do consistently. They cost nothing and we suggest should just be part of your standard operating procedure not matter where you are.

  • Never leave keys in the ignition when not needed.
  • Always lock your boat when not on-board.
  • Always store loose items inside the boat when moored or take them away (e.g. oars/ paddles or dinghies).
  • Always hide valuables from sight.
  • Keep a record of all serial numbers for valuable articles (your boat insurance company will inevitably want these in the event of a loss!) and importantly store them away from vessel!
  • Never leave any boat ownership related documentation or personally identifiable information on board.

Security Measures to Consider Implementing

If not implemented currently, these items will all require at least some financial outlay but guarantee to reduce the risk of being targeted by thieves. All suggestions should be considered in the context our your vessel and the risk you identify.

  • Fit an alarm.
  • Fit an internal secret/ secure storage unit or safe for valuables (and make sure you store the PIN securely and only entrust it with a minimal number of people).
  • Change door entry PIN numbers on a periodic basis (the more people that have access the more regularly you need to change it).
  • Fit heavier/ insurance approved padlocks and bolts to doors, plus rim-locks to hatches and heavier chains to trailers/ generators etc
  • Home postcode tag your valuables.
  • Get wheel locks for any trailers.

Finally, be vigilant

Being watchful for others provides both goodwill and prevents thieves being inadvertently being attracted near your boat through the lapse security of others. The goodwill generated also encourages others to be watchful for your belongings.

  • Always, always close/lock gates and lockable onsite facilities behind you... why risk it?
  • Be on the lookout and question the identity of strangers.
  • Point out obvious security flaws to fellow boaters.
  • Keep an eye on other boats as well as your own.
  • Report any suspicious activity to marine security personnel or yard masters (and if it is safe to do so photograph/ video it on your smart phone ).

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