10 Nov2019

Stay secure

Marinas are safe places, but you can take extra steps to keep your boat secure

Firstly, don't panic. Marinas are generally very safe places and the chances of being a victim of theft are small. It is very rare for boats based in marinas to be stolen, but sometimes portable items are targeted.

Be sensible:

  • Keys - Don't keep your boat keys in the gas bottle locker or anywhere obvious. The marina office will hold spare keys for your contractors and crew.
  • Dinghies - Make sure your tender and outboard is easily identifiable. The boat name is a good start.
  • Dinghies - Secure your dinghy to the boat with a wire strop or chain and a quality padlock. Don't leave tenders afloat unless they are secured.
  • Outboards - Use a proper outboard lock to secure the engine to the boat.
  • Record your hull ID number and the serial numbers of all your high-value equipment like electronics, outboards and life rafts. Take photos of your property and keep receipts to prove ownership.
  • Mark everything you can with your name and postcode. Use an indelible marker or UV pens. Even better, use Smartwater
  • Lock - Use good quality marine locks on hatches and doors.
  • Fuel - Fit locking fuel caps or anti-syphon devices to stop fuel theft.
  • Cheap audible alarms are available, or more sophisticated systems can message your mobile.
  • Take high-value portable items like handheld VHFs and laptops home at the end of the season.
C-Pod boat monitoring system


Yacht Sentinel boat monitoring system

Yacht Sentinel


There are some great gadgets around that will deter opportunist theft - simple lights and alarms that work on the main hatch or door is a good start - marine-specific or domestic systems are available. Marine electronics retailers, web forums and places like Maplins or RS Components are a good place for research. Window stickers and fake alarm lights are also worth considering.

GPS tracking devices can be built-in or easily hidden onboard. While theft of your boat is unlikely, the tracker is useful if you lend your boat to friends or use it for charter. Most send you an alert by email or MMS if your boat moves beyond an agreed area, while others will show the boat's location on a map.

If you can, fit an immobiliser to your engine.

Marking your property can be more high tech than simply a magic marker. Smart Water, SelectaDNA and DataTag are all methods of identifying your property using paints, stickers and barcodes, some of which act as a deterrent to thieves, but all help with recovery.

Please note that we don't endorse any particular product or service. Do your research, ask your insurance company, and find the best product for your needs.

Project Kraken

Project Kraken is a nationwide marine crime prevention and counter-terrorism strategy which covers everything from smuggling to theft from boats. 

If you are a victim of crime, or see something that should be reported, call the police on 101  (or 999) to report the incident, and let the marina manager know as soon as possible.

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