Boat Security Systems: 4 Things I Wish I’d Known

One night, one or more thieves broke into a dozen boats of varying size at our marina. Burglars damaged our door getting in and then stole anything of value they could easily carry off: cameras, satellite phone, DVD player and DVDs, some tools and all the liquor in the cabinets.

Kids, the police said, otherwise they would have taken motors, GPS equipment and the expensive electronics (like fish finders) on the other boats.

What I learned:

1. The marina isn’t responsible

Friends told us to go to a lawyer; that the lease agreement probably wouldn’t stand up in court. The problem is this is a private marina where we waited a couple of years to get a slip. I had visions of being told next year when we tried to renew that they preferred the next name on the waiting list. We complained bitterly to each other and moved on.

2. Insurance only goes so far

The creeps who broke input out their cigarettes on our carpet and used the head but didn’t – or didn’t know how to – flush. They must not have bathed for weeks because the lingering body odor was overwhelming. (By the way, if you think the police are going to collect all the DNA evidence and even dust for fingerprints, you’re as hopeless a romantic as I was.)

I insisted we replace some items such as a damaged kitchen counter, carpet and have the boat professionally cleaned. My husband thought I was overdoing it but I needed all that done before I even wanted to come back on the boat, let alone go somewhere.

Don’t overlook the emotional component of being a victim. I can’t offer any useful advice on how to feel secure again except to say: learn all you can about boat security systems.

3. Security is a state of mind and good systems

When I started looking around for alarm systems, I learned many of the product offered for boats are really just home or auto alarms that are being marketed in a new way.

That’s the reason for this blog. To share what I learned and hopefully hear from other boaters who’ve found good systems.

The only silver lining here is that so many systems do offer online monitoring. You can check on your boat at 2 a.m. from the safety of your home. If someone steals your boat, you can track the thief’s movement with GPS and direct the police or Coast Guard to the hijackers.

4. The truth is ugly

As one of the policemen told us, you can’t stop someone who really wants to break in, but you can make it difficult enough that 95% of the creeps will go to the next boat.

It’s like that old joke about the two hunters fearing an enclosing bear. I don’t have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you.

Do what you can to make your boat an unattractive target.