Did you know that hundreds of valuable boats in Australia get stolen each year? According to the National Marine Register (NMR), an initiative set up by law enforcement to thwart marine theft in the country and the only Australia-wide database of registered boats and personal watercrafts (PWC), professional criminals steal over $11 million worth of vessels annually. Each year, people who own powerboats and fishing boats fall prey to unfortunate boat heists. Boat security and theft prevention should always be high on every boat owner's priority list. Fortunately, there are tried-and-tested steps to take when safeguarding your vessel from theft:
1. Set up an alarm system. Do your research on the best electronic security system that can monitor and track your boat. Your best bet is a marine alert alarm system that offers 2-way communication via SMS between you and the alarm system.
2. Secure your vessel with reliable locks and bolts. A lock and key, even if it's one of the most straightforward precaution measures, is an effective anti-theft method. It goes without saying that you should always lock your boat whenever you or someone you know is not on board.
3. Make sure your boat cannot move easily when parked, especially with a trailer. Reduce the risk of theft further by double-checking that you have adequately secured your vessel to your trailer. Boat thefts can happen in driveways, too.
4. Take your valuable items with you. Visible valuable and high-priced gadgets left unattended inside any boat are too good of a temptation for any criminal.
5. Make an inventory of everything. Take note of all assets found inside your boat. Take pictures, too, and record all boat specifications and equipment in detail. Keep this inventory safe somewhere else.
6. Choose a trustworthy and reputable Marina. When deciding on a Marina, look for one that can provide the highest level of security with full-time security personnel and good lighting everywhere.
7. Protect your fuel. Fuel can be costly. Protect it as effectively as you protect the whole boat. Buy a secure tank filling mechanism that comes equipped with a heavy-duty lock.
8. Use outboard motor locks and immobilisers. Your expensive outboard motor is, unfortunately, a piece of marine equipment that's most accessible to thieves. You can invest in both a heavy-duty motor lock kit and an electronic immobiliser, which locks and unlocks the engine at the push of a button, for maximum protection.
9. Invest in data tagging. A GPS tracker for your boat not only gives you peace of mind but also deters potential thieves. Australia's leading theft-deterrent system, DataDot Technology Australia, can help you recover your stolen boat if this unpleasant experience ever happens to you.
10. Join a boat watch group. Take advantage of an organised support group of boat watchers in your area. They patrol local waters and mooring sites, regularly exchange information with law enforcement, and always keep the boating community in the loop with regard to boat-related thefts.
11. Consider cheap alternatives to fool thieves. Think waterproof LED lights that only activate at night and small solar strobe studs. They emit bright flashes that discourage would-be thieves who want to be as incognito as possible during any boat heist.
12. Maximise security apps and gadgets such as C-pod. Step up your theft prevention scheme with a C-pod subscription. A handy tool, the C-pod shows you your boat location and sends updates, alarms, and live data straight to your phone.
13. Register with the NMR. When you register your vessel's hull identification number (HIN), trailer identification number (VIN), boat registration number, with the NMR, you have a better chance of recovering your boat, if it ever gets stolen.
Boat theft and loss prevention begin as soon as mindful boat owners plan and prepare for unexpected events. Even simple but effective precautions on your part, as an attentive and thorough boat owner, can ward off thefts. Coupled with proper insurance coverage and an experienced safety management consultant you can call on anytime, you'll be fully prepared to face unfortunate circumstances and maximise the joy that comes with boat ownership.