Boat & Marina Security

Oct 12, 2011

Deck chairs, floatation gear, windbreakers, and other loose items are frequently stolen or lost. Marking such items with the name of your boat, home port, and your name will make them less desirable to a thief and much easier to recover.

Operation Identification
Electronic instruments, communication gear, and other valuable items should be permanently inscribed with your driver’s license number and state. This allows instant identification of your belongings by law enforcement computer networks. Prominently display the Operation Identification sticker so the thief will know you’re serious about crime prevention.

Know What You Have
Keep a complete inventory with a description, serial number, model number, and manufacturer of your boat, engine, sails, equipment, gear, radio, and T.V. This is a vital aid in recovering any stolen property. A few snapshots filed with your insurance papers will also be helpful to the police.

The Barrier Concept
Physical measures alone cannot keep a burglar out of your boat. Any barriers you add increase the three natural enemies of crime - time, noise, and visibility - will reduce a burglar’s opportunity and increase the risk of being caught.


  • Replace the spring-latch locking assembly with a dead-bolt type lock.
  • Install lugs in the hinge-plates to prevent opening the door by removing hinge pins.
  • Close or cover any gaps that could allow prying.
  • Lay wooden dowels in the tracks of sliding windows.
  • Add a back-up piece and solid brass hasp to make the forward hatch more difficult to open from the outside.
  • Install an alarm system to ward off intruders. Magnetic or pressure switches on doors, windows, hatches, and holds, plus pressure mats at entrance points and in front of the operating console can activate the alarm. A hidden ignition kill switch can double as an alarm disarming switch. Please note that magnetic switches affect the calibration of compasses and should never be used on instrument mounting.
Avoid leaving loose gear visible in open boats or on the decks of enclosed boats.
Keep radios, television sets, and other items of value away from windows and out of sight.

Boats under twenty feet, whether gas, wind, or man powered, are much more susceptible to theft than larger crafts. There are many more of these boats in any given make or model. They can disappear in the crowd, be easily transported on land or water, and be easily sheltered in a building.
Secure your boat to the dock with a hardened alloy steel chain or vinyl covered aircraft-type cable.
Chain your boat to something secure with an equally secure chain.
Reinforce cleats or eye bolts with aluminum or plywood plates using one-way bolts and lock nuts.
On small open boats, run the chain under a seat.

Investigate security measures taken at the marina. Encourage the use of security officers, patrol vehicles, alarm systems, and controlled access. Good lighting is an effective crime prevention measure. Promote adequate all-night lighting at your marina. Use automatic timers on your boat to turn on a light and a radio. Darkness and silence signal a burglar. Get to know the people at your marina. Let them know who they can expect to see on your boat when you’re not there. Encourage watchfulness and attentiveness. Challenge strangers
who look like they do not belong in the marina.

This is when your boat is most vulnerable. Don’t take chances.

In Dry Dock
Strip the boat so someone else can’t. Remove all loose gear, instruments, fittings, canvas, etc. Make sure it is well lit. Maintain a regular visitation program.

At Home
Remove or lock the motor and prop. Remove a wheel and either block the frame or lock the trailer securely. Lock or dismantle the trailer tongue. Remove all loose gear. Keep it in the garage or behind the house, out of sight from the road.

Category: Home Security

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