WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to BoatUS, the warm summer weather brings an increase in boat thefts. More than 49,000 boats are stolen every year with a large percentage being taken away from the property of the boat owner via his or her own trailer.
Boats that sit atop trailers provide an easy target for thieves who can hitch a boat to a truck and be on their way in a matter of minutes. GEICO and BoatUS offer tips to help make your boat less vulnerable to theft.
- Don't make it easy – Thieves are crafty; they look for the easiest opportunities to steal. If you have a boat and trailer in your driveway, chain your trailer to a tree or a sturdy post. Remove one or more tires and safely store them inside your home along with the lug nuts. Make sure to park your boat and trailer so that the trailer hitch faces away from the street. If thieves have to work at turning your boat and trailer around before getting it hooked up, they probably are going to continue searching for an easier target elsewhere.
- Park your boat and trailer in a garage – If you are not using your boat and trailer for an extended period of time or if you are going to be away, store it inside a garage. A small outboard is also much safer in your garage than hanging on your boat’s transom. It's difficult to steal boat parts that aren’t readily accessible.
- Get an anti-theft device – There are a variety of anti-theft devices on the market designed specifically to protect boat trailers. One popular device is similar to a boot that is used to lock the tire of an illegally parked car. This device can be attached to the trailer wheel in the same fashion. There are also locks available that prohibit a trailer from hooking up and being towed away by another vehicle. Often times, thieves will pass up a boat that appears to be well-protected.
- Invest in a GPS tracking device – Designed originally to track cars, GPS tracking devices are available for trailer-able boats so they can be located once the trailer is reported stolen to police.
- Remove any personal items – Remove and secure any personal papers or ownership documents from the boat. Take photographs of the boat on the trailer. If you have a spare tire on the trailer, remove that as well. Thieves have been known to settle for smaller parts if they can't get a hold of the entire package. Remember to remove the license plate from the trailer when it's not in use and do not leave keys to the boat onboard.
For more information on boat insurance, visit https://www.geico.com/boat-insurance/.