Top 10 Ways to Avoid Boat Theft

It’s no secret that theft of/on a boat is usually easier than theft on land.  Seaworthy Magazine takes a look at theft through the eyes of a thief:  How hard would it be to steal the boat?  How long would it take?  Here are the top 10 ways to protect yourself against theft:

1. Hide your trailer. Most boats are still taken while hooked up to their trailer, so park the trailer as far away from the road as possible or chain it to a tree or sturdy post.  If nothing else, remove a few tires and store them inside.

2. Store equipment at home. If you have a small outboard engine, take it home!  The more stuff you take off, the less attractive your boat will be to a thief.

3. Lighting is key. Make sure there is good lighting where you keep your boat.  Would a burglar feel threatened?

4. Close your curtains. Keep them drawn to keep prying eyes off of valuables.  If you don’t have curtains, make sure to store alcoholic beverages and valuables out of sight.

5. Be smart about where you store your keys. Don’t leave your keys in a cockpit locker.  This is a common practice and thieves know it!  Safest bet: take your keys home.

6. Invest in an alarm system. Rest easy with the purchase of a cheap alarm system… even the smallest alarm can scare off a thief.

7. Avoid displaying “For Sale” signs. This gives thieves an excuse to snoop around without drawing suspicion.

8. Display anti-theft device warning stickers. Often thieves pass up on a boat that appears to be well guarded.

9. Visit your boat frequently. If you can’t check it frequently, make arrangements with other boat owners to check on each other’s boats… sometimes thieves will stake out the site ahead of time.

10. Display your BoatU.S. reward decal. A $1,000 cash reward will be paid to any person or persons providing information resulting in the arrest and conviction of anyone stealing or vandalizing a boat or its equipment registered with BoatU.S.

What are the chances of your boat being stolen?

Personal Watercraft = 10 out of 1,000

Runabouts = 2 out of 1,000

Cruisers (with cabins) = 8 out of 1,000

Trawlers = 3 out of 10,000

Sailboats = 2.5 out of 10,000

*Based on a 10 year study of the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Claim Files

Hope this helps!  Did we leave something out?  How do YOU keep yourself protected against theft?


  1. JonesAct says:

    Good post! these tips are very helpful not just for boats but for cars too.

  2. Liz says:

    Thanks for sharing this list! Great information to know. I feel pretty comfortable with the people at the marina and we know many of them, but you never know what could happen. It’s best to be prepared.

    Are there any specific products or special alarm systems/security products you suggest investing in?

    Liz Lembeck-CoolProducts

  3. It seems like you are protecting your boat from every evils which is unknowing preventing it to sail further. Nowadays anything that makes you earn needs to be saved. However, I generally check my boat time to time and even prefer to anchor it while it is not in usage. I know security can’t be guaranteed 100% but your points make sense and I will try on the same. Thanks!

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