With so many rivers and lakes in the Ozarks, boating is one of the most popular outdoor activities in this area. Unfortunately, vandalism and the theft of boats and marine equipment occur much too often. Just like residential and business crime prevention, marine crime prevention is primarily a matter of identifying risks and minimizing or eliminating them. The following tips include recommendations for marina operators, dock owners, and boat owners.
- Access to boats should be limited only to owners and other authorized persons.
- The general public should not be allowed unescorted access to marinas.
- Locked gates and other barriers to both pedestrian and vehicle traffic should be installed at every dock entrance.
- Signs that clearly state marina regulations and access limits should be posted prominently.
- Good lighting should be focused on access points and boat docks.
- Consider developing a "Marina Watch" patterned after "Neighborhood Watch." Boat owners should get acquainted with their dockside neighbors. They should report suspicious persons and activities and violations of marina policies.
- Install inside hinges and deadbolt locks on all doors and secure ports and windows with inside auxiliary locks.
- Attach inverted strong hasps and padlocks to all hatches and secure lockers with non-removable hasps and hinges and lock with strong padlocks.
- Engrave all valuables including electronic equipment, engines, sails, radios, loose gear, etc. with the owner's name, home port, state driver's license or identification number, and the boat's hull identification number.
- Maintain an inventory list ashore that includes all boat gear with the name, model, serial number, manufacturer, and description of each item.
- Never leave keys aboard a boat, even in a "hidden place."
- Always moor a boat to something secure with a chain or cable that cannot be lifted over or torn loose from the piling or mooring. Run the chain or cable around a thwart or stanchion.
- Use one-way bolts, lock nuts, and backup plates on eye bolts.
- Consider leaving a boat's engine out of commission when left unattended - remove a spark plug, propeller, or the rotor, drain the fuel, or install a hidden cut-off switch.
- Secure outboard motors with special transom bolts or clamping screw locks.
Following these tips will help ensure that your boat and equipment will be there when you're ready for some time on the water.