Preventing Boat Theft & Vandalism

Boat on TrailerThere are ways to protect yourself from vandals and thieves before you face having to make a boat insurance claim.

Here are some ways you can make it harder for people to damage your marine investment:

Keep it secure – The best option is in covered storage, such as a locked garage, rented storage unit, or secure boat storage facility. If you have to store your boat outdoors, try to keep it out of sight or blocked by another vehicle so it doesn’t look easy to steal. Something as simple as a trailer hitch lock (or the kind of trailers that have a removable hitch) or removing one wheel from the trailer will deter would-be criminals. Make it difficult for someone to steal your boat by taking another security step like locking it to something with a secure lock and chain, installing a motion-activated floodlight, or installing a video surveillance camera. If your boat is stored outdoors you may also want to invest in a motor lock.

Engrave it – The problem with boat thieves is that they quickly sell stolen vessels, sometimes chopping them up and selling off the parts. Make sure your boat, trailer, and accessories or electronics are identifiable by engraving your boat’s hull identification number (HIN) or your name somewhere that isn’t very noticeable. This way, if it is stolen, you have a way to prove without a doubt that it is your property. Don’t forget to record your HIN somewhere for safekeeping (like with your boat insurance policy).

Take inventory – Take the time to photograph and document everything that you have from the boat itself down to your GPS or first aid kits. You need a complete list of everything that’s on board, including the make and model number or other relevant details. If you have receipts, keep them with this list for safekeeping in the event you are a victim of theft or vandalism. You’ll have a complete inventory to hand over immediately not only to your boat insurance agent, but also to the police. Make sure the original is in your safety deposit box or somewhere equally safe and have a copy tucked away on your boat for easy reference.

Make things secure before storing your boat – Again, prevention means making it difficult for thieves to steal from you. When away from your yacht put valuables in locked cupboards or secure lockers below deck. If you are storing your boat for the winter, we recommend removing everything of value and keeping it somewhere secure. Always lock motors and fuel tanks to the boat because these are popular targets for thieves. Remember to close window blinds or curtains so people can’t easily see what you have inside.

Naturally, we recommend that you take safety and security precautions with your boat, but also make sure that you have the right boat insurance to cover you adequately in the event of theft or vandalism. Make sure that you fully understand the deductible you would have to pay as well as any limitations to the coverage such as due diligence requirements.

Be sure to ask your boat insurance company if your policy covers you for agreed value or market value. This is one of many important things you need to know about boat insurance.

To find out more about your boat insurance options, call the marine insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to review your needs and discuss policy coverage. We specialize in recreational and commercial boats and work with the best insurance carriers in the marine industry.

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