Boat Security Guide

Boat Security Guide

If you are faced with the prospect of leaving your boat for a while, here’s a few tips on basic security. We also look at how to secure trailers and other valuables possibly stored off the boat…


Look at where your boat is stored.

If you are leaving your boat for a while, it’s worth considering having the boat lifted, or at the least moved in to a marina from a swinging mooring. Thieves are always on the lookout for an easy target, and boats moored in isolated locations make very attractive targets. Thieves will have the upper hand when attacking boats out on swinging moorings, or those moored on quite stretches of river or estuary. If possible, move your boat to a marina, where security is more than likely better, even if only because fellow boaters can keep an eye out for one another.

“Does your marina or yacht club have swinging moorings? Why not set up a boat watch scheme? Thieves can be locals, and word will get around”

- Force 4 Expert Advice

Remove any valuables

It may seem obvious, but are we thinking of all the valuable on our boats. We often remove chartplotters, radios and outboards when we leave our boats, but with modern anchors costing hundreds of pounds, and liferafts potentially costing thousands, are we really removing all of our valuables? Don’t forget things like oilskins, inflatable tenders, coolboxes and even batteries. We’re not suggesting you take these with you every time you leave the boat, but if you are leaving the boat for a long period of time, particularly if it is in a vulnerable location, these are all worth thinking about.

"Our waterproof briefcases can be customised internally with foam to securely hold all of your valuables in an easy to carry waterproof box. A neat slot for everything also makes it very difficult to forget something!"

- Force 4 Expert Advice 



As we said above, theives are looking for an easy win, and can more often than not will be put off by overt deterrence items such as stickers that say the boat is alarmed, and additional locks and padlocks. No lock is impervious to the determined thief who has time on his hands, but cheap locks can be cut in seconds with a small set of bolt croppers, and most importantly this can be done quietly. A good quality lock will possible need an angle grinder, which is a big no no for your stealthy thief. The object here si to slow them down, make them make noise, and generally put them outside their comfort zone. The result hopefully is that they will either not try in the first place, or give up after a short period of time. 

"Look for a padlock with a covered hasp, and as the saying goes, you get what you pay for - most thieves can’t pick locks, they rely on brute force. The best lock is one the thieves walk away from without even trying to break."

Force 4 Expert Advice

Outboard Motors

Outboard motors represent a very valuable target for thieves, and it goes without saying that we should make all attempts to secure our engines to our boats (both large and small engines). What we may not be thinking of is the value of our engines parts - thieves are now more commonly stealing engine components such as gearboxes and propellers. These are much harder for the authorities to trace, and much easier for the thieves to remove and transport. Again, we don’t suggest you remove large engine components every time you leave the boat, but if you were going to remove your engine leg to service the impeller anyway, why not take it off at the start of your layup period, and put it back on when you recommission the boat? Items such as batteries can be removed relatively quickly, and will probably last longer in your garage with a small trickle charger attached than they would being sat in a boat for a long period of time anyway.


Engine items can be marked almost invisible by various items such as smartwater or special pens - these really help the police should they find a stash of potentially stolen engine parts

- Force 4 Expert Advice

Trailers and boats on them.

Most small boats are not stolen when they are afloat, they are stolen off our driveways and out of boatyards when on trailers. Your prospective thief can have the boat potentially hundreds of miles away before you even realise it’s gone, or even worse, on a ferry and overseas where the chances of it being found reduce dramatically. Again the goal here is to make the thieves job as difficult as possible. No one security device will hold them up for too long, but when you add several devices into the mix as well as for example another vehicle being parked in the way, you suddenly make stealing your boat a rather unappealing prospect.

"Put a sign on the back of your boat saying ‘Police Stop This Vehicle’ - a thief that steals your boat at night probably won’t notice, but the police car that happens to follow your boat just might."

- Force 4 Expert Advice

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