New security advice for boaters

According to figures from British Marine, since lockdown we’ve seen a year-on-year increase in boat sales. This post-pandemic boom in boating has also corresponded to a notable increase in theft and damage of marine equipment, according to the police-owned non-profit Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (CPI).

Thieves are attracted to all kinds of equipment at marinas and sailing clubs, such as outboard motors, life rafts and electronic/GPS equipment. Other common objects that have been noted as being stolen are radios, mobile phones, laptops, fishing tackle, lots of other personal items and of course in some instances the boat itself!

We take security at Sutton Harbour Marina very seriously and have 24hr secure access with round-the-clock CCTV. Having the marina office and members of our team around the marina also help to deter potential thieves. Taking your own precautions with your boat and equipment will help to prevent theft. Making sure that your boat is secure along with your equipment onboard is really important.

Police CPI is working in conjunction with the Border Force-owned Project Kraken initiative to raise awareness of marine crime and the steps boat owners can take to avoid becoming victims. 

Its latest campaign advises boaters on marine security to think STORM:

  • Security – physical security measures
  • Track – property marking and tracking systems
  • Observe – keep an eye on your marina/sailing club
  • Report suspicious activity
  • Monitor at all times – CCTV and alarm

Security (physical security measures)

Make sure cockpit lockers are properly locked and keep unused ropes, fenders and other items out of sight. Check all hatches are locked with a Secured by Design (SBD) approved padlock. It’s a good idea to have a small SBD-approved safe or security cabinet onboard to store small valuable items. If your boat is stored on a trailer, secure it with an SBD-approved wheel clamp, hitch lock and ground anchor system.

Track (property marking and tracking systems)

Mark your outboard and electronic equipment using a Secured by Design recognised forensic asset marking or etching kit. It’s a very effective, visible deterrent to thieves and an established method of reducing theft. Record the serial numbers on items such as radios, navigation equipment or outboard motors, chassis and model numbers for trailers and take note of any custom marks on the trailer or boat. Keep a copy of this list at home and on your boat, you can also take photographs from every angle as well as videos.

You can always use a tracking system on your boat and especially outboard engines, to increase the chances of recovery. They activate once the boat or outboard is stolen and alert the tracking company that uses GPS systems and other communication technology to locate stolen property in the UK and overseas.

Observe (keep an eye on the marina)

Here at Sutton Harbour Marina we have CCTV and restrict access to the site, but it’s good to be aware of looking out for each other and get to know other berth holders at your marina. Working together to keep the marina secure is really important, always keeping the pontoon gate closed and never revealing the access code to the marina/pontoon or giving your access card/key to others.

Report any suspicious activity

Make sure you report any strangers at the marina to reception or the harbour master, be vigilant at all times in and around the water and report anything suspicious to the police. You can use the 101 facility for passing information (by phone or online), or call 999 in an emergency.

Monitor at all time (CCTV and alarms)

It’s really advisable to fit an alarm and use a visible sticker to show that one is installed. If you don’t have mains power, a battery-operated GSM mobile alert system and camera can warn of anything suspicious or if the main hatch has been opened. If you’ve got Wi-Fi access there are systems that can alert you to any activation, allowing you to view your boat or yacht in real time.

Read our full berthing information to find out more about the security and facilities we have to offer at Sutton Harbour Marina.