BoatUS is offering tips to marina owners and dealers to combat crime rings that are committing thefts around the country, largely at boat dealerships and boat-storage facilities.
The insurance provider, citing a June 2 article in Trade Only Today, urged boaters to also be vigilant.
A national task force has been formed to investigate a rash of boat, engine and electronics thefts at dealerships and marinas across the country that has resulted in millions of dollars of equipment being stolen.
A group of sophisticated thieves is targeting engines and electronics, cutting fences at night and disabling security cameras before making off with engines and navigational units, Dan Rutherford, director of claims and risk management for the Maritime Program Group, an insurer of boat dealerships, told Trade Only in that article.
“They’re professional, they’re fast, they know what they’re doing, they get in and they get out,” said Rutherford, who is serving on the task force with local law enforcement agencies and the FBI. “Ordinary fences aren’t stopping them.”
BoatUS offered seven tips to boat owners to help prevent theft:
- Take a look at your boat storage area. Is it lit at night? Does it have motion-operated lighting or audible alarms? How difficult is it to gain entry? Is there one or multiple ways to enter? Does it have an effective, fully operating video-surveillance system? Does the storage facility have signage advising that license plates are being recorded and property is under 24-hour surveillance?
- Slow a thief down. Are helm electronics locked behind a solid instrument cover? Use tamper-resistant fasteners for mounting electronics and outboard locking devices. Using a special nut with an engine-mounting bolt that requires a special key can help.
- Make stealing expensive electronics less appealing by engraving and posting a warning — this goes for the outboard, too. Create and keep at home an engine and electronics inventory list that includes the manufacturer and serial number, and take plenty of pictures — including the boat.
- Be wary of suspicious questions. In most of the boat dealership theft cases, a suspect posed as a boat shopper on the day before the theft occurred. Boaters should remain cautious about questions from strangers who want to know more about access. Get to know dockside neighbors so you can more readily recognize suspicious activity.
- Consider adding a boat-tracking device that can sound an early alarm if something’s amiss.
- Yamaha outboard engine owners may want to investigate Yamaha Customer Outboard Protection, or Y-COP. Y-COP is available with the manufacturer’s Command Link and Command Link Plus systems.
- Help get the word out. If you are a victim of theft, ask your local law enforcement to share the information on the National Crime Information Center, a computerized database of documented criminal-justice information available to virtually every law-enforcement agency in the United States or add to state crime-tracking databases.