Thursday, December 5, 2013

Protect Your Boat From Theft

The Collier County Sheriff's Office is investigating the theft of this 32-foot Yellowfin boat from behind a residence on Isles of Capri this week. CCSO and the Marco Island Police Department remind boat owners to take steps to secure your vessel. Photo/CCSO

Be aware and be prepared.

That’s the message the Marco Island Police Department and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office are sending out to boat owners.

MIPD and CCSO are asking the public to take steps to protect their vessels from being stolen in the wake of the theft of a $250,000 boat on Isles of Capri this week.

A 32-foot Yellowfin center console boat was stolen sometime between 10 p.m. Monday and 6:30 a.m. Tuesday from behind a residence at 175 E. Hilo St. The secured boat was on top of the boat lift behind the residence. CCSO is investigating the theft.

In past boating thefts, personal watercraft and smaller vessels have been used to scout and assist with the thefts of vessels moored behind homes. Vans are also used to carry fuel once the vessels have been stolen.

MIPD and CCSO offer these suggestions on how to protect your boat and property.

 If your boat is in the water or on a trailer:

· Keep the cabin locked and the curtains closed.

· Never leave the keys in the ignition or hide spare keys on the boat.

· When out of the water, store your boat in a well-lit, secure area if possible.

· Select a marina with good security. It should be well lit and busy.

· If possible, store your boat in a locked garage, building or secure storage facility. If that is not possible, secure the trailer to something with a case-hardened chain and a quality lock.

· Consider one of the many wheel locks available on the market and use a quality tongue hitch on the trailer.

· Block the trailer against a building or other structure or vehicle.

If your boat is stored on a lift:

· Keep the power to the lift turned off, with the switch to the lift being in a remote location that’s not accessible to thieves.
· Install an alarm system and tracking device to aid in recovering the vessel in the event it is stolen.

· Some of the local marinas will install a remote switch on the vessel that keeps it from being started.

- Install an electric turn-off switch, also known as a “kill” switch, in a hidden location on the vessel.

You can also secure your boat by:

· Recording serial numbers, hull numbers and model information of your boat and the equipment on your boat. Make two copies. Keep one in a safe place on the boat and one at home.

· Permanently mark all electronics and other valuable equipment with your driver’s license or state-issued identification number.

· Take pictures of your boat, boat equipment, and electronics to assist law enforcement in identifying them if stolen.

· Do not leave your registration on the boat when you are not aboard.

· Get to know neighboring boat owners and your boat storage or marina staff. They need to know who is normally around your boat.

If you see a crime being committed, call 911. If you have information concerning a crime, contact the Marco Island Police Department at 239.389.5050, or the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239.252.9300. Or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).

For more information on marine security, contact Marco Island Assistant Chief Dave Baer at, or the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Bureau at 239.252.0700, or e-mail