A yacht makes for an enticing target for thieves. You might think the chances of someone stealing and getting away with a 70 foot or larger motor yacht are pretty slim. Think again! It does happen, and more often than you might think!
Recently, right here in South Florida, the luxury yacht Change in Latitude, was stolen from her berth in Dania Beach.
In fact, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Florida leads the nation in boat theft. True, most of those boats are 40ft and under. Such boats can easily be taken from where they are moored, or more often on trailers. The actual theft of a full size luxury yacht is still a relatively rare occurrence – there were only five in 2014. However, luxury yachts remain targets, if only for their tenders, “water toys” such as jet skis, and other valuables they may have on board.
Securing Your Vessel
Keeping your yacht and its accessories safe, is a lot like protecting your home. That means taking steps to make your boat a less attractive target. Security experts say to keep in mind three things: Time, Noise, and Visibility.
- Time – The more you can do to make it take a lot of time for a thief to steal, or break into your yacht – the safer it will be.
- Noise – The more noise that will be made if it is broken into – the safer it will be.
- Visibility – The more visible you can make your boat – the safer it will be.
Basically, criminals look for vulnerability and opportunity. The less vulnerable you can make your yacht, the less attractive it will be to thieves.
Here are some specific tips on how to do so:
Have an alarm system – Again, much like you protect your home, having an alarm system for you motor yacht is a good investment. Choose a system and an alarm company that is reliable, and known for maritime expertise. Make sure all hatches, decks and gunwales are covered. Try to get a system that is triggered when someone first climbs aboard, and not one that waits until he or she tries to, or does enter the cabin. Also be sure the alarm system comes with motion sensor lights. Motion sensor lights are a great deterrent.
Choose your Marina Carefully – Most luxury yachts will be docked at a Marina, you may think this automatically means they are safe. Not necessarily. You want to choose your marina carefully. It goes without saying that it should be well-lit and have full time security. Also, make sure the staff at the marina is familiar with the ways you use your yacht. This way, they can be aware of any unusual activities. Working with a Yacht Management company is a good way to make sure you have access to safe and secure dockage.
Other Safety Tips – If you do moor your yacht at your residence’s personal dock, be sure you do not leave the keys anywhere on the boat. If you have a tender, and/or personal watercraft, try to pull them up onto the deck, instead of leaving them in the water. If you have to leave them in the water, be sure they are securely locked to the primary boat.
Finally, wherever your yacht is moored, minimize the number of valuables you keep on board, such as electronics and dive or fishing gear, and do not leave any important registration or ownership documents on board.
Better Safe Than Sorry
The bottom line is, any boat can be a target of thieves. That doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid, or let that fact take away from the fun of yacht ownership. All it takes is a few simple precautions and some commonsense measures to put your boat less at risk.
Understanding how to protect your yacht can be challenging. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at 954-900-9988.