Anyone who’s ever traveled with a bass boat has had nightmares about boat break-ins. Well after 18 years of never having a problem, I left my room at Toho on the second practice day and was greeted by the site of open compartments on several boats and police in the parking lot. Fortunately, mine was one of the boats that wasn’t touched, but many others were not as lucky. The items stolen included boat equipment, tackle, rods and reels and Power Poles.
It doesn’t matter if you’re fishing a major event or an event close to home, anytime you have a group of high dollar bass boats parked at a motel, there’s a chance that thieves will try to take advantage of the situation. Nothing can completely stop a determined thief from getting into your boat but there are steps you can take to deter these break-ins.
Keep it close
If possible, park with the boat backed up to your room. Most of the boats broken into at Toho were parked by the fence or in a secluded part of the parking lot. Parking close to the room will deter all but the most brazen thief. Of the boats behind the motel, where the break-ins occurred, none of the boats parked by the rooms had anything missing. If you can’t park it by the room, you should pick an area that is well lighted and easily visible from your room or the motel office.
Keep it locked
Locking your compartments is a must. You might also want to consider installing a bar type locking system to additionally secure your boat. Also, remember to lock the battery compartment of the boat. One of the boats had the pumps for his Power Poles and a battery stolen, so even compartments without rods or tackle are targeted.
Keep it insured
Check with you insurance agent to make sure that you boat policy covers tackle and other non boat related equipment. If it doesn’t, you should add a rider to your policy to cover those items. It’s amazing how fast the cost of replacing those items adds up. Also, make sure that you have pictures and inventories of all of your tackle to prove how much you carry. Some insurance adjusters don’t realize that you carry 15 to 20 rods or what each one costs and without documentation, you will have a harder time proving what you had and what was taken.
Keep it in the room
The simplest and most effective way to protect your equipment is to carry it into the room every night. Unfortunately, for most tournament anglers, this is not very practical due to the amount of tackle in the boat. A compromise is to carry at least the rods and reels into the room and eliminate extra tackle in the boat. You should always take any electronics that are not flush mounted into the room with you.
Keep the Alarm on
Many manufacturers offer alarms either as a standard feature or as an option. If your boat doesn’t already have one, consider adding one of the aftermarket alarm systems that are available. One cheap alternative to an alarm system is to use baby monitors. Place the sending unit in the boat and put the receiving end on the night stand in your room. You will pick up a lot of ambient noise this way but you can hear someone in the boat.
For many fishermen, traveling to a new lake presents the opportunity to either catch the fish of a lifetime or at least make memories that will last a lifetime. Taking these few simple steps can keep you from spending time that you should be fishing dealing with the police.
If you have any other security suggestions, please take a minute to put them in the comments section of this posting.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Scoutlookweather.com, Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Mercury Motors, Motorguide Trolling Motors, Costa del Mar Sunglasses, Bass Angler Magazine and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.