No matter how effortlessly you come into money or how lucky you are in finding a good deal, all boats are serious investments. All those upkeep, storage and repair costs can take their toll on even the most money loaded decks, and one thing that can destroy all that cash effort in an instant is not putting the appropriate funds and/or thought into your vessel's security. Simply put, if you're sloppy with how you secure your yacht or even your jet ski then chances are it's going to become the target of a few opportunistic individuals. With these top 10 boating security tips, however, you can ensure control of your boat remains firmly in your hands.
#1 Be Careful Where You Moor
If keeping your boat at a marina or dock is far more convenient than transporting it to and from the water, then there needs to be serious consideration for your mooring spot of choice. Full-time security and good lighting are a must, but you should also ensure the perfect home for your boat has a good safety record, if the waters are protected and what level of access the general public has to the walkways.
#2 Complete an Inventory
Like any rented property or hired car, there's a profound level of value to be found in completing a simple inventory of your boat, trailer and equipment. Ensure you list all removable electronic gear, sailing & navigational equipment and fishing/leisure equipment by brand, model and make. Make a copy of the inventory, and keep one on board and one at home, allowing you to check over all items whenever you feel it necessary.
#3 Remove Expensive Equipment
Aside from just noting down any valuables on board your boat, the best way to keep boating equipment free from thieving hands is to not leave them in reach. From marine electronic gadgets to finishing tackle, the majority of marina thefts are of items left on board, and its a problem you can very easily help alleviate by applying the same common sense you would to a car sat nav.
#4 Alarm Your Boat
Even if you've not got a huge boating security budget, simple alarm systems aren't too expensive or hard to install on your vessel. Your local marina should be able to recommend a suitable model, but any kind of ant-theft alarm with a second hidden switch (should the first one fail) will serve you well. If you have more money at hand, go for a system that fits magnetic or pressure switches on your doors, windows, hatches and holds. Tracking systems are also always worth putting to use.
#5 Make Sure Your Dinghy is Secured
If you're lucky enough to have a boat that carries its own dinghy, then you will also have to keep that little water craft carefully secured when not in use. Stow it aboard your ship if you can, otherwise if it has to stay in the water, padlock-tie it to your boat.
#6 Cabin Entry PREVENTION
Rather than trying to minimize the level of theft, it's always better to outright prevent someone from entering your cabin. Common methods for entry-proofing your cabin include using deadbolts instead of spring-latch locking systems, using hinge plates on the cabin door and adding high-impact polycarbonate backup pieces and solid brass hasps to make the hatch more difficult to open from the outside.
#7 Mark All Equipment
A process that should go hand in hand with your inventory from tip #2, you should inscribe all electronic instruments, communication equipment and anything else remotely valuable with information that will easily identify you, such as your name, the name of your boat and your home port. You should also photograph/videotape the interior and exterior of your vessel in great detail, displaying all the installed equipment and additional on-board tools.
#8 Have an Eye Kept on Your Boat when Away
Once in a while, you'll have to take a vacation without your beloved boat. If you are leaving your yacht for any long period of time, for whatever reason, then always ensure someone you trust is on hand to check up on it regularly. As we mentioned in our guide to Winter Boating, its great to have a regular pair of eyes that can check your boat's still in one piece, but they can also be on hand if the alarm system goes off, to ensure no equipment is missing and to note any suspicious behaviour.
#9 Don't Leave Documentation on Board
Another simple boating security tip; if you're mooring up after a day's sale, ensure your registration, title or document papers on the boat are not left onboard. Whilst it's vital to have them at hand when you're out on the water, you won't want these slips to slip into the wrong hand.
#10 Set Up Video Feeds
Lastly, if you're quite adamant about your boat's safety, particularly if you have it moored at or nearby your house, then a good video security feed may give you that peace of mind. The basic setups can retail at just under £200, but they can allow you to keep a powerful eye on your vessel, and can provide valuable police evidence should the worst happen.
If you have any boat security tips of your own, sail 'em on by to us via the Seachest Facebook page, our Twitter and via Google+.