Keeping your boat safe

It’s important that you take the security of your boat as seriously as you would the security of your own home.

Security checklist

  • Don’t leave anything loose in the cockpit or on the deck
  • Always put your valuables in a strong, fixed locker and secure with a quality deadlock or padlock
  • Take your personal and vessel papers with you – don’t leave them on board
  • Don’t leave your home address on show
  • Don’t leave your keys in the ignition – always take them with you
  • Keep your boat keys separate from your engine keys
  • Make sure your curtains are closed so no-one can look in
  • Ensure all unused ropes, fenders and other items are out of sight in your cockpit lockers and cupboards
  • Make sure that your life raft and outboard motor are secure, as these are valuable and attractive to boat thieves
  • If you're leaving your boat on a trailer for the winter consider putting it on blocks
  • Keep your list of serial numbers up to date
  • Take pictures of your property so that it can be easily identified if recovered.

Please note: Join Boat Watch - neighbourhood watch for boats

Make it difficult for them to nick it!

Lock it

Fit good quality locks to all boats, trailers and dinghies. Boats fitted with surface-mounted barrel locks or cheap padlocks are more likely to attract thieves.

We recommend that you fit a good quality padlock and hasp ‘n’ staples secured by stainless steel nuts and bolts to all hatches and deck lockers.

Loose equipment such as anchors and oars should be secured by wire rope, or chain and locks.

Mark it

Every year, property worth thousands of pounds is recovered by the police and not returned to its rightful owners, simply because it cannot be identified.

There are many methods of marking your property e.g. engraving, etching, die stamping, identification paint or an invisible marking product such as Smartwater ® or Datatag ®.

Engraving your postcode onto items of equipment provides the most permanent and visible deterrent to the thief. We would recommend this for all your equipment.

Items such as dinghies and inflatables should be marked with your postcode using paint or a permanent visible marker pen in large letters.

You should also make sure you record all details of your property and boating equipment - including serial numbers.

Alarm it

Alarm systems are getting even better, with some using mobile phone technology to alert if they become activated. Knowing exactly when a crime, or attempted crime, has occurred assists in locating and identifying offenders. These systems are becoming more accessible and affordable.

Putting visible signs and LED lights on your property will deter and frustrate most criminials.

Recordable CCTV is also well within reach and should be a visible deterrent to any offender.

Report it

Please report all incidents to the police.

If you are the victim of boat theft, call or email the police on 101.

Or complete the online crime reporting form.

Check to make sure that your boat is still seaworthy and hasn’t been badly damaged. And, if you can, check that neighbouring boats haven’t been broken into as well.


Crime Reduction Officer
Devon & Cornwall Police, Crime Reduction Dept
Police Headquarters
Middlemoor, Exeter

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

Current location: Change

There seems to be a problem, please refresh the page and try again.

©2015 Devon and Cornwall Constabulary

Content uploaded: |
Content correct on page at last modification date.
Devon and Cornwall Police are NOT accountable for the content of external websites