Turns out, boat thieves look forward to a weekend on the water as much as you do. That's according to 2013 statistics (the latest available) from the National Insurance Crime Bureau that show more boats are stolen on Friday than any other day of the week. Boat thefts climb in the spring and peak in July, with personal watercraft (think Jet Skis and WaveRunners) ranking as the top target. Runabouts are far behind in the No. 2 slot.
In the study, Washington ranked fourth in the nation for boat thefts. Oregon was 19th.
Storing your boat in a locked facility gives you the best protection from thieves. But if you can't, these tips can help make it a less-attractive target:
- Anchor the trailer to a fixed object with heavy chain or cable and a padlock.
- Position the trailer where it can't easily be seen, such as in the backyard or behind the garage.
- Block access to the trailer with your car or some other large object.
- Turn the hitch toward the garage or house if possible so the trailer must be turned around before it can be towed.
- Padlock the lever on your trailer hitch assembly in the "down" position to prevent anyone from moving it into the "up" position needed for towing. You'll also want to use the lock when your trailer is attached to your tow vehicle.
- Don't store personal belongings and equipment onboard your boat. Always padlock outboard motors to the boat and unload fishing tackle, water skis, and all other possessions after each outing.
- Hook up a yard light above your boat to discourage nighttime thieves. If you're gone overnight, connect an automatic timer that shuts off the light in the morning.
- Keep a copy of all boat identification numbers, including trailer license numbers and hull and motor serial numbers, stored safely at home.