When it comes to storing your boat – whether in between outings or during the offseason – it’s important that you carefully think about security. In particular, you need to be cognizant of the marine electronics on your boat, which are often targeted by criminals.
Why Criminals Target Marine Electronics
Boat owners are part of a large fraternity of sorts. There’s a mutual sense of trust and respect that extends far beyond boating. So when you dock your boat in a marina, you instinctually have a certain level of confidence that your boat will be safe from harm.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. Criminals – some of them members of the boating community and some outsiders – often target boats because of their vulnerability. And when boat theft occurs, marine electronics are usually the first items taken.
Marine electronics are preferred because of their value and ease of access. With simple tools like bolt cutters and screwdrivers, navigation systems, sound equipment, sonar devices, and other electronics can be quickly removed and easily hidden. And if you don’t have a plan for protecting your electronics from theft, your boat could become the next target.
How to Protect Your Marine Electronics
“Help prevent theft by remembering time, noise, and visibility,” Hillary Johnston writes for SafeWise. “The more you can do to increase the time it takes to steal your boat, the better off you’ll be. Every measure you take toward theft prevention should make noise to keep the burglar away and your boat should be visible, making it difficult to steal.”
Theft of marine electronics isn’t exactly an epidemic in the boating community, but it’s not an isolated problem either. As a boat owner, here are some simple steps you can take to preemptively avoid becoming a victim.
1. Properly Store Items
The first step is to properly store your electronics so they can’t be easily lifted from your boat.
For electronics that can be removed without much effort, it’s always best to take them with you when the boat isn’t in use. While it’s a little bit of a hassle, it’s worth the additional time and effort.
For electronics that can’t be removed easily, make sure you have them properly stored. Putting the appropriate locks, screws, and safeguards in place will make it much more difficult for a criminal to access your electronics. (Thieves prefer to get in and out. They don’t typically have the patience or skill to steal items that are well secured.)
2. Invest in an Alarm System
Boat alarm systems are becoming increasingly popular. As the technology has improved in recent years, adoption rates have skyrocketed. If you’re thinking about installing an alarm system on your own boat, here are some things to consider:
- The alarm system needs to be simple and intuitive – otherwise you won’t take the time to use it.
- What sort of safety features are you looking for? Do you want an alarm that goes off as soon as someone steps foot on the boat, or would you prefer one that activates when decks, hatches, or doors are disturbed?
- Do you want an alarm with professional monitoring services? Or do you simply want one that makes a loud sound and brings attention to the boat (like a car alarm)?
Do your research and find the right alarm system for your boat. There are plenty of solutions available and you want to find one that meets your demands.
3. Avoid Making Your Boat a Target
Criminals are looking for quick, low-risk jobs. If your boat looks like a challenge, you won’t be targeted. Here are some things you can do to avoid theft:
- Never leave loose items out in the open (electronic or otherwise).
- When not being used for a few days or weeks, use a boat cover. Not only does this add a physical layer of defense, but it also makes your boat less enticing to burglarize. (Criminals don’t know what’s inside and usually won’t waste time on an exploratory mission.)
- Avoid being flashy. The more attention you draw to your boat, the more likely it is someone will assume you have valuable items on board.
4. Choose the Right Marina
Be smart with where you store your boat. A cheap boat slip may be easy on your wallet, but does it provide enough security? You typically pay for what you get. Choose a marina with monitoring services, security cameras, and attentive staff. This will significantly lower your chances of being burglarized.
You don’t need the nicest boat or the newest technology to enjoy boating. What you really need is a smarter approach. From the type of boat you buy and how you use it to the ways in which you prevent premature damage and theft, every little detail matters. Take the time to perfect your approach so that you can maximize your enjoyment for years to come.