According to the National Marine Register, an estimated $11 million worth of marine vessels are stolen each year, with the most targeted vessels being fishing boats and jet skis owned by ordinary people. We at Black Knight® have outlined some of the essential security tips to ensure your boat is not stolen, and why every boat owner should invest in a GPS tracking device for their boat.
When storing your boat, cover it and find a place that is out of sight and secure. Ideally, in a shed, behind a locked gate or somewhere on your property. If its on a trailer, attach a coupling lock or wheel clamp to immobilise the trailer, deterring thieves from steeling it. Even something as simple as chaining your trailer to a sturdy object such as a tree, while not the best solution, is better than nothing. Make sure the bow is facing the opposite direction of your driveway or carport.
If you’re storing your boat in a marina, chose one that is secure: one with good lighting and full-time security. Store your keys somewhere secure. That is, not on the boat itself. Ensure that any important documents such as registration and boat title and are not stored on-board.
When storing any items on your boat (such as PFDs and fishing rods), ensure they are stored behind a lock and key. In addition, keep an inventory log of everything, note their serial numbers and value.
One of the joys of owning a boat is the chance to name it. Once you’ve settled on a name, mark it on the side of the hull. This will help identifying your vessel should the worst happen.
Take pictures of your vessel detailing every unique aspect that will help identify it. Also, keep a log of important details such as its Hull Identification Number (HIN) and your boat’s make, model and manufacturing year.
Much like a car or motorcycle, a GPS tracker can be installed onto your vessel for a simple yet effective vessel tracking solution. Whether you own a luxurious yacht or a small runabout, a GPS tracking device for your boat is a must-have to ensure it remains secure.
A GPS tracker can monitor in real-time the location of your boat from your phone, tablet or personal computer, and with geo-fencing alerts, it can notify you of any unauthorised use of your boat. Other features include checking the speeds you were going, and it can log where you went and how long you stayed at a certain location. Beyond being a security device, this information can be used to log the best spots for fishing or diving, without having to physically measure out and mark it on a map.
If you are worried about the cost, GPS trackers are inexpensive and paid for by a monthly payment that is no more expensive than a cell phone plan. In addition, if your boat is traceable by a GPS tracking device, your insurance provider may offer you a lower premium (check your insurance provider for details). Any upfront and ongoing costs are outweighed by the peace of mind a GPS tracker provides.
Given the value of marine craft, it's no surprise they are a sought-after target by thieves. When storing your boat, whether at home or in a marina, air on the side of caution and consider anti-theft devices. Personalise your boat and making it unique to make identification easier, and GPS tracking devices are an essential addition for boats of every size and type. Should the worst happen, and your boat is stolen. A GPS tracker can quickly locate your boat, allowing for a swift recovery.