You finally winterized your boat, and you think it’s tucked away safe until spring. Think again! The mobility and value of a boat makes it a tempting target for thieves, especially when it’s in winter storage. Before you pack up your boat, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) flags five signs to watch out for to mitigate the risk of theft.
- Electronics left inside or mounted outside the boat grab attention. Remove all movable electronics and appliances. Take pictures of permanently installed electronics, and record the model, serial number, manufacturer and description of each item in case a claim or police report needs to be filed.
- Fishing gear, watersports equipment, life jackets and other gear often get stolen with electronics. Bring home all portable valuables, including important paperwork like the boat’s registration document.
- Personal watercrafts and outboard-powered boat less than 26 feet are most susceptible to theft. If storing your boat at home, do not park with the trailer tongue facing the street. In addition, consider removing one wheel from an axle.
- Outdrives on sterndrive-powered motorboats are expensive to replace if stolen. Remove the unit and store in a safe location during winter and ensure the serial number is recorded. If it can’t be removed, install an outdrive lock.
- Small outboards should be removed and stored in a secure location, such as a locked garage or basement. Install a lock on larger outboards.
Be aware and proactive when it comes to protecting your investment. Follow these easy steps to avoid any unpleasant surprises come springtime!