Nobody wants to see their beloved boat become a crime scene so it's worth investing some time and money to ensure your craft is not an easy target. Luckily Towergate, specialists providers of Narrowboat insurance have prepared the following guide to securing your Narrowboat.
Boat security starts with your choice of mooring. Well run marinas with a gated and access controlled environment might cost money but you'll be rewarded with peace of mind. In such a predictable setting, basic security precautions such as locking your boat when you are away will suffice.
But those moored in unsupervised marinas or along the canal need to take more serious security measures. These become especially important for craft moored on the towpath side in inner urban areas. Country moorings have also been the victims of crime, with boats in some remote locations being targeted by thieves.
A boat is a car and a house combined when it comes to security, so many of the common sense rules that apply to your home and vehicle are also good practice afloat. Things like keeping valuables out of sight, and preferably off the boat altogether, when you are away. Shut the curtains, especially on the towpath side, to stop people looking into your boat. Secure anchors, gangplanks, ropes and gas bottles - there's lowlife out there that will help themselves to almost anything!
The doors and hatches are an important part of your security measures. Fit them all with good quality locks, hasps and padlocks. Make sure the doors are made of sturdy stuff, solid wood or sheet steel is best and metal skins will add toughness to weaker timber doors. For high crime areas, installing steel door bars gives castle-style security and most thieves will turn and seek an easier steal when seeing a boat fitted with that level of protection!
Windows are often a security weak spot on a narrowboats. Many boat owners fit lockable shutters to protect them from forced entry or vandalism. A bit of welding and fabrication is needed to fit the shutter mounts but it's a job worth doing if your windows present a tempting target to the local yobs.
A boat can be alarmed and immobilised. Many electronic security systems exist at a wide range of prices. The simplest systems use movement sensors linked to loud alarms but pricier systems can send you a text message if they detect an attempted break in. If you have a shore-power hook-up, consider CCTV. There's a wide range of web-enabled cameras available that can record any suspicious activity at your mooring. Footage can even be viewed remotely on an iPad, mobile phone or computer.
When mooring in populated areas, consider using chains to tie up your boat. The juvenile prank of casting off a moored boat is one that apparently entertains enough people to make it a big problem in some areas.
Finally, fuel is expensive and easy to steal so fitting a lockable filler cap is a sensible security upgrade.
Securing your boat might start to look expensive if you go for even half of the options listed here. But you can always add your security measures one by one and spread the cost over a period of time. Anything you do to make your boat a harder target will make it more secure and will give you extra peace of mind - and that's something well worth spending some time and money on!