Theft of equipment from boats, trailers, outboard engines and even entire boats is still all too common, but there are many ways to minimise the risk to you.
Your insurance policy may list certain requirements, so check your policy carefully.
Thieves are looking for easy targets, so look for ways to make their task more difficult. Consider any measure to delay the thief, measures that will cause a disturbance or any measure that will later identify the equipment as having been stolen.
Mark your equipment with your postcode, name or the boat's name/sail number. Consider using visible markings, hidden markings, or both.
Lock trailers, using wheel-clamps, hitch-locks, even a padlock and chain around an immovable object. Use good quality locks and don't leave the key with the boat!
Outboard engines should be locked to the boat, using special clamping locks. Alternatively remove the engine and place in locked storage.
Keep loose equipment out of sight or better still, take it home with you.
Consider an alarm system for larger boats
Get to know the other owners at your marina or sailing club and look out for one another. If you see any suspicious activity - report it.
If you are unlucky and are a victim of a crime, there are also measures you can take to aid the police in recovering equipment and to assist your insurance company in settling your claim.
Keep a note of your Hull Identification Number (HIN) or other unique identifiers
Record serial numbers of outboard engines and other equipment Keep purchase receipts
Photograph your boat from a number of angles
Report the theft to the police and to your insurers as soon as possible. Your quick action may result in a speedy recovery.
Buying a Boat?
Check www.stolenboats.org.uk to ensure that it has not previously been stolen. Be suspicious if serial numbers or Hull identification Numbers are missing or have been tampered with.
This is a free database of Stolen Boats developed by UK Marine Insurers and the Police to record all stolen equipment and circulate details of any theft to any person who has signed up for the Theft Alert emails.
Patrick Altoft is a marine insurance broker with Noble Marine, a specialist insurance broker providing boat insurance for most types of pleasure craft.
Instant cover and online insurance quotations for most classes of pleasure craft can be obtained via http://www.noblemarine.co.uk