Ahoy, fellow boat owners! With warmer days approaching, you may be itching to get your boat onto the water. Whether your boat or watercraft is currently stored outside, in the garage or in the marina, you’ve likely invested a lot of time and money into this valuable asset, not to mention dreams.
In addition to investing in your boat, you may also have invested in additional equipment and gear you keep on board. It’s important to remember to keep your boat and gear safe when you’re not using it. A thief will look for any opportunity and many boaters make theft all too easy. While insurance is there to protect you, theft of any kind is an inconvenience and recovery involves a lot of work. Planning ahead to make sure you’re prepared for any possible situation is key.
This guide walks boat owners through different ways you can protect your boat and your gear.
Ensure your boat is docked or parked securely
The harder it is to move the boat, the more difficult it is to steal. Many boats are stolen while they’re still on the trailer, so if you have to store your boat this way here are some things you can do:
- Chain the trailer to a sturdy object like a tree.
- Put a boot on one of the tires.
- If the boat is stored at home, park so the trailer tongue doesn’t face the street.
- Parking the trailer and boat on the side or behind the house also helps.
- If your boat is on water, don’t leave the keys anywhere on the boat.
- If the boat has a dinghy, store this on the primary boat if you can.
- If the dinghy cannot be stored on your boat, then use a locking cable to secure it to your primary boat.
When boating, there are many safety parameters to follow, to keep yourself, others and your boat safe. And, if you use your boat to earn money, you’ll also need to have the right kind of insurance coverage in place. Rest assured, BrokerLink insurance experts can guide you on the best ways to insure your boat to meet your specific needs.
Install an alarm system
An alarm system is one of the best things you can do to prevent theft. However, it isn’t always easy to find the right security provider. Here are some things to consider that’ll make the task easier:
- How reliable is the system? Is it designed to work long-term in a water environment? How sensitive is the alarm? Will it be triggered by a bird landing on the deck or motion caused by waves?
- How easy is the system to use? If it’s overly complicated, chances are you won’t use it properly. It’s important to feel comfortable operating the system.
- What kind of coverage does the alarm system have? Does it cover decks, hatches and other areas of the boat? You’ll want to find out how the alarm is triggered and if it goes off when an intruder first climbs on board or if it waits until someone reaches the cabin.
- Is the security system protected from wear and tear due to the environment it’s being used in? Since you’ll be out in nature and water, your alarm should be coated with something to protect it against weather.
- Well lit boats will deter a potential intruder. When motion sensor lights are illuminated, you’ll know something is happening.
Is year-round insurance for my boat, motorcycle or seasonal vehicle necessary? Your BrokerLink advisor will be able to advise you about what works best for your situation.
Avoid leaving valuable items behind
Avoid storing personal property on your boat when you’re not there and when your boat isn’t being used. It may be convenient to keep certain items on your boat, such as: electronics, fishing equipment and registration papers (e.g. ownership), but these are all easy things for a thief to grab quickly.
While insurance for recreational boats can help recover costs, it can still be a hassle to replace stolen items and get documents re-issued.
Here’s how to prepare yourself and passengers if you’re caught in severe weather:
- If safety wear is not already on, make sure everyone wears a Canadian-approved lifejacket or PFD securely.
- To make your boat more stable, ask passengers to sit on the floor, close to the centreline.
- Have a bucket ready in case you’re in a situation that requires bailing water out of the boat. If water gets on board, clearing it over the side will prevent dipping.
Choose a marina wisely
If you plan to store your boat in a marina, choose one with good lighting and full-time security. Marina employees tend to be familiar with boats being stored and when customers use them. If a boat is missing, they’ll be able to tell and alert you right away. That will help increase your odds of getting your property back.
You purchased your boat to enjoy it, so practicing boat safety and security can only benefit you more. Contact BrokerLink today to get a free, no-obligation quote on your boat. We’re here to help!
How to secure your boat FAQs
What should I do if my boat gets stolen?
If your boat is stolen, it’s important to get the proper authorities involved right away. We know this can be a challenging experience, so our BrokerLink advisors will be able to walk you through the process and everything that needs to get done.
Are there security guards in a marina?
It depends what marina you choose to store your boat on. Some have full-time staff while others may only have employees around during peak season. We encourage you to learn about your marina to help prevent theft.
Can wild animals cause damage to my docked boat?
While it may be rare, we’ll never say never. There are so many unexpected events that can happen, so it’s important to be aware of what your insurance coverage looks like. Your BrokerLink advisor will be able to walk you through your policy and make expert suggestions based on your unique situation.