Boat & Yacht Insurance Theft Prevention

Theft from boats, trailers, outboard engines, or even entire boats is not unheard of, but there are many ways to minimise the risk. Boats and Yachting teamed up with us to learn more about protecting your yacht from theft or pilferage 

Marine theft is usually done by relatively unskilled amateurs who strike where they find an easy opportunity. It is worth counteracting crime by being security conscious and by practising some straightforward preventive measures 

Marine insurance companies may list certain requirements in your policy. So it is worthwhile to check your policy carefully, and to follow some good practices.  There are three factors that discourage thieves everywhere: TIME, NOISE and VISIBILITY 

Remove Equipment and High Value Items 

  • The most effective deterrent is to not leave valuables aboard.  Several thefts occur because boat proprietors neglect to remove items from boats, thereby attracting attention and making them easy targets
  • Taking out marine electronics, fishing tackle, and equipment from vessels would eliminate the majority of thefts that occur from harbours and marinas 

Equipment Identification 

  • Ideally, boat and yacht owners should mark all equipment and main items onboard. Mark your equipment with your postcode, name or the boat’s name/sail number. Consider using visible markings, hidden markings, or both
  • Take measures that will later identify the equipment as having been stolen, and make it more difficult to resell
  • These identification numbers will assist law enforcement officers in tracing stolen merchandise back to the owner 

Keep an Inventory 

  • Keep an updated inventory of equipment, including motors and trailers, and record serial numbers.  Remember that most marine electronics, fish locators, depth finders, GPS devices, VHF radios, stereo systems, and battery chargers, also have serial numbers
  • In the event of any type of loss, this information will prove invaluable in making a prompt, accurate report for law enforcement and insurance personnel 

Outboard Motors 

  • Small outboard motors should be removed from boats that will be left unattended for an extended period of time.  If it is impossible to remove the motor, add an outboard motor lock to make it more secure
  • While locks and chains can be pried off, the time and noise involved will make it more trouble than it is worth for many thieves


Inevitably, there will always be some equipment that must be left. Secure these items in lockable storage areas.  Keep in mind that many times the storage area locks installed by the boat manufacturer are not adequate to deter thieves.  Yachts and motor boats are not generally constructed with security in mind.  However, there are several things that can be done to reduce the risk of vessel theft: 

  • Exterior hatch locks: fastened with a quality padlock these locks improve security. Hinges and hatches are another weak point.  Depending on the type of boat, it may be possible to add or substitute hinges for improved security
  • For sliding windows: place a length of doweling in the track to prevent the window from being forced open.  Locksmiths and hardware dealers also carry a variety of special, small locks and fasteners, which can be used to increase the security of other types of windows
  • Care should be taken to select locks and hinges that are designed for marine use. The material has to be resistant to water, salt, and humidity
  • 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 

Report It 

If you notice any form of theft from your boat report it immediately to the local police, your insurance company, the marina office and neighbouring boaters. 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 list of your Hull Identification Number (HIN) or other unique identifiers, and records of the serial numbers of outboard engines and other equipment
  • Keep a folder of purchase receipts as proof of ownership of items and their value
  • 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. For a no obligation quotation phone 2343 0000 or email

For more information please refer to our Boat & Yacht Insurance Brochure