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How to keep your boat and trailer safe

Common sense goes a long way when it comes to keeping your boat, crew and trailer secure. Signing up to boatcode, getting a good lock, ensuring you keep valuables out of sight and regularly checking up on your vessel are positive steps you can take. Read ahead for more pointers to keep you sailing securely.

Boat launch and retrieve: Keeping you and your crew safe

Before heading out on the water, inform trusted friends and family of your intended travel routes. Give them your boat and licence details. Let them know how long you intend to travel for so they can contact emergency services if you don’t return within the nominated time.

Have a plan for launching: let each member of your crew know where all the safety equipment is, assign roles and ensure everyone is clear on what they need to do. Similarly, when retrieving your boat, ensure your crew is well-briefed and that you have everything you need to safely bring it back up the ramp.

Boatcode

Be sure to register and obtain a hull identification number (HIN), also known as boatcode. The HIN system works to protect boat owners by providing each vessel with a uniquely identifiable number. This way, theft is deterred and stolen boats can be recovered.

Boatcode is compulsory for all new vessels (with the exception of the Northern Territory). Seek out your state’s maritime agent below to arrange for a HIN validation or to affix a HIN to your new boat:

VIC

NSW

WA

SA

TAS

QLD

Alarm and security systems

Fitting your boat with an alarm system is a wise move. Look for an easy-to-use system with an alarm you are comfortable switching on and off. Test how sensitive the trigger is. Investigate whether your alarm will protect all areas of the boat including the deck, hatches and gunwale.

Make sure you purchase an alarm system that is completely waterproof and can withstand other outdoor elements including sun and wind. Keeping your boat well-lit will also help to deter thieves, so consider installing motion-sensing lights.

Park wisely

If you tow your boat, park behind a lockable gate and fit a lock to the wheels. If you store your boat in a marina, try to find one with good security and attentive employees. If your boat is on a mooring, check it during the off-season month or arrange for someone to do this for you.

Never keep keys anywhere on the boat or in an esky or glove box. If you keep your boat at home, try to park on the side or behind the house, with the trailer tongue facing away from the street.

To keep on top of security, be organised, aware and ever-present. Opportunity is the greatest lure for a thief so ensure you limit the risk by following the procedures above.

Brush up on boat launching and lighting to get a greater understanding of safe and secure boating.

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