Ever heard of the thieves that would steal anything that wasn’t nailed down? While you work hard to buy and maintain your dream rig, there are some among us who would like nothing better than to raid your rod lockers, make off with your trolling motor, electronics, outboard, trailer—or maybe all of it.
While boat theft is something that most of us are already aware of, we should plan and implement additional methods to minimize the chances that our boats become easy targets for crooks. Whether you fish for a living or if your boat only gets occasional use, some simple planning can give you peace of mind and keep your prized possessions secure.
When considering boat security, try to think like a criminal and ask determine what it is about your rig that would make you an easy score? Three things that are proven deterrents are time, noise and visibility. Don’t leave your rig unattended for long periods of time. Make sure your rig (whether it is connected to your tow vehicle or not) is in a highly visible area, near lights and areas of heavy traffic. If you store your boat in a boat slip, check to see what kind of security measures the marina or boat club has such as locked gates and security cameras.
When possible, do not leave valuables onboard your boat. As inconvenient as it may be, remove rods and reels, electronics and even trolling motors if you are going to be away from your boat for an extended period of time. When it’s not possible, be sure to lock your storage compartments. My Ranger has the Dri-Latch system on all the compartments that keeps out moisture. By being built flush with the deck lids, it is resistant to prying. Other people use bars across the deck to prevent them from opening.
Outboard motors and props can be secured with after-market prop locks. And while trailerable boats are high-interest for thieves, my boat came on its own custom-built RangerTrail trailer that has a swing-away tongue that can be locked in the back position making it hard for anyone to tow your rig away. Most importantly, photograph or video your boat, record its contents, document serial and VIN numbers and keep these records stored in a safe location. These records can be a great asset to law enforcement should you ever experience theft of a boat or any of its components.
Most of you chose the boating lifestyle because of your love for the outdoors and for the opportunity to spend time relaxing with friends and family. Just a few simple steps can ensure that those good times aren’t interrupted.
A two-time winner of the Bassmaster Classic, Ranger Pro Hank Parker is the host of “Hank Parker’s Outdoor Magazine.”