Buy A License Renew Your Boat Registration Pay Fines/Restitution

Preventing Boat Theft

Know Your Enemy

Thieves often steal boats under 20 feet long because they are easily transported and stored. Many of these boats are similar and harder to identify.

The most common types of theft are:

  • When owners aren’t around
  • Just before sunset
  • During the off-season
  • During bad weather.

Know Your Vessel

  • Know your hull identification number.
  • Know your registration number.
  • Take color photos or video of your boat, including the hull identification and registration numbers
  • Keep copies of your registration and titles at home.
  • Put some kind of marking on or in your boat that only you know about. In case your boat is stolen, this could help law enforcement agents identify your boat.

Know What You Have on Board

  • Make a list of what you have on board your boat.
  • Make sure your insurance covers the equipment.
  • Engrave additional hull identification numbers in hidden areas.
  • Engrave your equipment.
  • Mark flotation devices, covers, and or sails with waterproof marker.

Lock Thieves Out

  • Install dead bolt locks or strong padlock with hasps.
  • Add small locks and fasteners to windows.
  • Secure outboard motors through the transom with bolts and clamping locks.

Store Your Boat in a Safe Place

  • Lock your boat to the trailer.
  • Lock the trailer tongue or lock it to a tree or other secure object.
  • Keep boat, trailer, and motor out of sight in a fenced area or locked building.
  • Always use the trailer hitch lock.
  • Put the spare trailer tire in the trunk of your car.

At the Marina

  • Back your boat into the slip.
  • Insist on good lighting.
  • Secure your boat at the slip with a chain and lock.
  • Know your neighbors.
  • Visit your boat at random times.
  • Inform the dockmaster who can be on board your boat.
  • Inform the dockmaster if your boat will be out of the slip for a trip or repairs.

Other Tips

  • Install a kill switch in a hidden location.
  • Remove the propellers.
  • Remove the spark plugs.

When You’re Buying a Boat or Outboard Motor 

  • Compare the registration and title to the boat and motor to make sure the hull identification or serial number matches the boat and motor and is not altered.
  • Make sure all outboard motors and other equipment have serial numbers.
  • Be careful if the price is much lower than the value.
  • Don’t buy if the seller can’t produce ownership documents such as the registration certificate or title.
For more information, contact Lt. Tim Fox at