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Protect your outboard motor from theft

August 04, 2021

The restrictions on international travel caused by COVID-19, has helped contribute to a staycation effect in the UK. This in turn resulted in growth for the leisure marine market, with new and used boat sales in the UK growing 9% in 2020, reversing the 8% decline in boat sales seen in 2019.The growth of this market, whilst positive for the marine industry, has consequently increased demand for vessels and heightened the issue of theft. The National Crime Agency acknowledged this threat and issued an alert in relation to small boat crime.2

Whilst theft from a boat is more likely than the boat being stolen itself,3 one piece of equipment that is highly attractive to thieves are outboard motors. The appeal lies not just in their value and difficulty to trace, but as they’re designed to be detachable, they can allow for a quick getaway, compared with integral motors.

Without an outboard, a dinghy’s utility becomes severely hampered and is relatively unusable - so what can you do to help ensure your time on the water isn’t impacted?

How to deter outboard motor theft?

  • Store your outboard out of sight – if that’s not possible make sure your boat is covered by CCTV or motion-activated security cameras.
  • Secure outboards to the vessel using purpose built outboard motor anti-theft devices, in addition to the normal method of attachment.
  • Mark your outboard motor with unique identifiers and use security marking products, as these highlight that the motor is tagged with a unique “fingerprint” that can be difficult to remove. This can also act as a powerful recovery tool in the event of theft.

Along with trying to deter thieves with security marking and other anti-theft devices, sometimes the unfortunate does happen, regardless of the measures you put in place. That’s why insurance should also form part of your arsenal against outboard motor theft, whilst unable to prevent it, you can be reassured in the knowledge that your time on the water won’t be jeopardised, even if you fall victim to crime.

Insurance policy owners should check any security procedures or anti-theft devices that are required by their provider, to avoid the possibility of a claim being invalidated. Owners should also record serial numbers and details of the engine, as this information will be required by insurers and the police in the event of a theft.

At Bishop Skinner Marine, we make it easy to buy dinghy insurance and protect your boat, as you can purchase your cover online. If you prefer to discuss your requirements you can contact our team direct on 0800 783 8057.