What to know about boat insurance and theft
The level of protection against boat theft depends on the type of boat insurance you have. If you hold basic boat liability coverage, there's a good chance your stolen boat won't be covered. Insurers consider where your boat was located when it was stolen. Boat insurance may help if your boat is stolen from the place where it’s typically stored, which could be a public or private dock, a marina, or your house. Policies may also cover boats stolen while being moved on a trailer.
However, if you have comprehensive coverage for your boat, you'll likely be able to file a claim for your boat theft, depending on several factors. Note that if your boat was stolen from a storage facility, the facility owner's insurance should come into play. However, if the insurance payout isn't enough to cover the replacement cost, comprehensive coverage on your boat could provide additional protection. Learn more about how boat insurance works.
What can I do if my boat is stolen?
As soon as you discover your boat has been stolen, take immediate action. The quicker you inform the police, the sooner they can begin an investigation and the better your chance of getting your boat back.
Contact the police. File an official police report and provide any documentation that may assist the police in finding your boat.
Check if anyone witnessed the theft. Ask neighbors or people who store their boat in the same marina whether they saw anything suspicious.
File an insurance claim. If you qualify for coverage through your boat insurance, file a boat insurance claim to cover the damages.
How to keep your boat from being stolen
Store your boat in a secure area
If possible, keep your boat locked somewhere indoors, like a garage or storage facility. If you need to store your boat in your yard or driveway, use a strong lock and chain to connect it to something stationary and secure, like a strong post or tree.
Install a boat alarm and GPS tracker
A boat alarm is one of the most effective boat anti-theft devices. Set up a motion sensor alarm to go off if someone gets too close to your boat. Another option is to set up a bright motion-activated spotlight. Either option will startle a thief and hopefully scare them off before they're able to steal anything.
If you hide a GPS device somewhere on your boat, it will give the police a better chance of tracking it down if it's stolen.
Use a hitch lock and wheel locks
Invest in a hitch lock (also called a tongue lock or a coupler) or, even better, a removable hitch lock. This makes it much more difficult for someone to steal a boat on a trailer because they can't hitch it to their car. Wheel locks attach to your trailer's tires to prevent them from moving.
If you park your boat in your driveway, turn the trailer so the hitch is facing your house. This extra step will make it much more difficult for a thief to back into your driveway, hitch your boat to their car, and take off with it.
Never leave keys in the boat
This may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how often it happens! Take the keys with you when you leave the boat and keep them somewhere secure.
Lock everything together
For an extra bit of security, chain and lock each element of your boat together — the engine to the boat, the boat to the trailer, and the trailer to a stationary object like a tree.