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Hints and tips to help secure your outboard

Don't let thieves speed off with your outboard!

Since 2009 there has been a significant rise in outboard motor theft and whilst the problem is nationwide, thefts generally tend to occur in areas where there are large accumulations of boats with outboards for example sailing and boating clubs.

Some reports have indicated that many stolen engines have ended up in Eastern European countries through the activities of organised criminal gangs. The increase in outboard motor thefts has been most noticeable in the medium to large, (higher value) engine categories, with thieves being undeterred by the sheer weight of large engines. On face value it appears that gangs are extremely well organised and always appear to be one step ahead of the authorities.

Many boat owners will have either been affected directly or will know someone who has, the big question is of course what can be done to protect your engine so as to avoid becoming part of the statistics?

We have therefore compiled a short check list which can help you keep your motor to avoid the costly process of replacing it should a theft occur:

  • Firstly owners should ensure that they fit the most secure and suitable purpose manufactured anti theft device for their particular engine and boat. In some constabularies’ police have introduced branded engine covers which are fitted instead of the cowling. This can help deter thieves as they would need to fit new cowling thus drawing attention to the engine. 
  • If an engine can be removed easily then it’s obviously an open target for thieves. Given the current climate many owners may wish to fit more than one anti theft device, obviously the more secure the engine there is less chance of it being taken. At Bishop Skinner alone we have dealt with a number of claims for outboard motor thefts over the last twelve months with 10 alone in October. Owners should also ensure that their insurance policy wording relating to anti theft devices are complied with in full. Failure to comply with policy wordings may invalidate a policy in the event of a claim. 
  • Make sure that you have recorded the serial numbers of the outboard as this information will be required by your insurers and the police in the event of a theft. 
  • It is also worth remembering that all claims on marine policies for outboard motors are paid on an indemnity basis unfortunately there is no entitlement to a “new for old” settlement. 
  • Boat and yard owners should be extra vigilant, particularly during autumn and winter when dark nights settle in. When storing a boat ashore consideration should be given to general security, lighting, and recorded CCTV coverage of the appropriate part of the yard being used. 

Finally there has also been some evidence of smaller engines being stolen from boats whilst they are afloat so everyone needs to be on their guard and report any suspicious activity immediately to the police.

About Bishop Skinner Marine

As boat insurance specialists Bishop Skinner Marine are the people who know about boats, we have been providing our clients with expert marine insurance advice and innovative solutions for over 40 years. Our dedicated team know the risks associated with this diverse and sometimes complex sector.

We are the only insurance brokers working in partnership with the RYA and RNLI providing boat insurance and travel insurance solutions for their members.

For more information about boat insurance visit www.bishopskinner.com