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Boat security: Why is outboard motor theft rising so fast?

Outboard engine theft in the UK has rocketed by over 40% in the last six months, according to research by security marking company Datatag.

Outboard theft now accounts for nearly 60% of all marine crime, says Datatag, and the advice to boat owners is to take all the appropriate security measures and be vigilant regarding outboard motors this summer.

According to the RYA, “large and highly organised gangs are behind the majority of these thefts, that steal outboard motors to order.”

High value, portable outboard engines are relatively easy to steal.

They are obviously designed to be detachable, so are simple to steal especially compared with integral motors.

“Outboard motors can be high value items, which are expensive to acquire legitimately and this opportunity and incentive is what is driving this trend and the thieves,” says the RYA.

Often weighing around 60kg and with a value of up to £3,000, a sub 20HP engine can be removed from transoms and placed in the back of a van with relative ease. Outboard theft sometimes involves thieves using chainsaws to cut through a boat’s transom, causing a great deal of damage

How to deter theft of motors and damage to boats:

Security measures available to boat owners include specialist locks, CCTV surveillance,  motion-activated security cameras, identity marking (that confirm original ownership) andalarms. Datatag has developed the Datatag Marine Security System. This features evident warning labels to deter thieves, UV etching, Datadots and RFID (radio frequency identification) transponders. The combination of these elements has a proven record in reducing crime in other industries such as construction and motorcycle says Dave Luscome strategic alliance manager at Datatag.

 “Marine theft is a significant concern for the industry and the reason why we developed our Marine Security System,” says Luscome. “Our technologies provide irremovable and unique identification so that even when VIN plates are altered or replaced the original owner’s details are still identifiable to Police in the event of a theft.”

Datatag’s secure database can help the police defeat criminals. The database is accessible 24/7 through a dedicated call centre allowing fast, secure and easy confirmation of ownership.

George Cheeseman, sales and marketing manager at Suzuki, which offers customers Datatag, said: “We want all our customers to get the most out of their Suzuki marine equipment and in fitting Datatag we feel we can allow them to relax just that little bit more.”

Owners of all marine outboards can protect themselves with a Datatag Marine Outboard Kit. They’re available through the Datatag website or selected marine dealers.

Video: Avoiding Outboard Motor Theft - get the lowdown from Marine Insurance Experts Bishop Skinner


Photos: RYA/Bishop Skinner

Article: Alison Clements

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