RJP Marine - Personal Watercraft Insurance
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Personal Watercraft Theft & Security

This is intended to give advice and information on how to keep your craft safe. For specific details of the RJP policy cover in respect of theft click here.

A personal watercraft is an attractive possession. It’s very attractive to thieves as well but its attraction to a thief lies not in its graceful lines, its surging power or its latest colours, but in the ease with which many craft can be stolen!

It’s a fact that if you knew that someone was planning to steal your personal watercraft today there is no way they’d get it (without a weapon anyway!!). You would simply ensure it didn’t get stolen.

How can you achieve the same thing every day?

Firstly, never let it out of your sight – okay, so not practical but when you are away from home on a day out, plan ahead so that most of the time at least you don’t leave it unattended. Take a picnic, have a barbecue next to your craft but if you do “eat out” think about where you leave your craft and trailer. Clamp the trailer, lock the craft to it, park in view of where you are sitting, park in a well lit area, use your car or cars to block the trailer and craft in, chain it to something that the thief can’t drag away with it, go out and check up on it every 15 minutes and make a big thing of this, show the potential thief that you are being pro-active with security etc etc.

When you are leaving your craft overnight put it in a locked building, your policy will require you to do this when it’s at your home or the craft’s normal storage place.

Consider this :-
Let’s say the value of your craft is £6000. Would you put £6000 of used £10 notes in a locked suitcase, strapped to a trailer in your garage/building/shed, leave it overnight for days, weeks or months, relying on a “christmas cracker” padlock or the “high security” tin up and over garage door and expect to see it again? Especially if you had spent half an hour every week end on your drive in public view counting the money!

No” is the correct answer!

Nor would you leave it on the roadside, in your garage, in the field at the end of the road or the resident’s carpark around the corner?

A personal watercraft is currency to thieves. If they see that you have one when you’re maintaining it on your driveway or coming back from the lake, they will take advantage of weak security or carelessness.

Use 5 lever locks on all doors. Remember the personnel door, if a thief can get in to your garage he can spend time undetected getting through your main door security in order to get the craft out. Same goes for your windows, make sure they’re locked or screwed shut and maybe put some bars or grille on the inside. For the main doors add extra locks :-

Up and Over Doors.
Bolts on the 4 inside corners of the door will improve security immensely. Extra internal locks or a locking bar across the width of the doors at around 3 feet high are a very good idea. Of course you need an alternative way out of the garage if you are to be able to use these. If you have only a main door there are some products on the market which allow you to lock the bottom of the door in to the ground to prevent it being lifted. Check out these Links for a variety of security products for your craft , trailer and garage.

Other Garage Doors
Again locks and bolts on the inside are best. If you have to secure from the outside use good quality 5 lever locks. Always use a closed shackle padlock, make sure the hasp of any lock is fixed to the door using security bolts or screws that can’t be “undone” or ensure the fixings cannot be got at.

You could consider a drop down ram-raid type of post or a locked gate at the end of your drive. This prevents a vehicle easily reversing up your driveway ready to hook up the trailer once the door is opened. Make sure the building is sound and in good repair. Remember a thief will be happy to leave your secured door in tact and go through a flimsy wall or take out the rotten frame. Ornamental walls, lawns, gardens will all be considered a simple pathway to a thief, he will not worry about ruining any of these so always consider the less obvious route to the roadway and make sure it’s protected.

Stopping the thief from getting in to your garage or building or deterring him from trying is probably the most important thing but you can also take measures to secure your craft in the garage. From chaining the trailer and craft to anchor points in the concrete floor and wall to removing the trailer wheel (and storing elsewhere!). There are many products and options to choose.

Check out these Links for a variety of security products for your craft , trailer and garage.

Remove your seat/hood and store it in your house or a completely separate building. A thief won’t want an incomplete craft. It makes it difficult because he has to get another seat/hood but it makes him more vulnerable to detection. The R.J.P Marine policy insists on this.

If you have a burglar alarm extend it to the garage, if you haven’t, get one fitted. Have an arrangement with your neighbours where if an alarm goes off one of you will check it out. Leave keys and codes with them (the honest ones anyway!) and make arrangements to “look after” each other’s property.

It goes without saying that the craft should be datatagged and registered on the central Datatag database. It’s no good having numbers on the outside of your craft and transponders hidden away inside if you don’t register your details against these with Datatag. There is no question at all that if everyone datatagged and registered their personal watercraft and everyone relied on that information for identification purposes then theft of personal watercraft would reduce. If you’ve got a personal watercraft that is datatagged but you haven’t updated the register with your details, contact Datatag now and get it done.

Why should you bother to do all this – it’s insured anyway? Yes it may be insured and yes you will be able to make a claim, providing you have complied with all of the policy warranties, and hopefully get another craft. But what about the time that you are waiting for the theft to be investigated? It’s not only the Insurers that have work to do after a claim, police also have to complete an investigation and the whole thing can take quite a few weeks. It’s not good to be without your craft, perhaps just at the time that the sun is shining. It is also a lot of hassle and you will be angry and frustrated. Your craft is probably better than average. Strangely enough, everyone’s is! Insurers though will only settle at realistic market values. You may feel especially after the deduction of the policy excess that you can’t get the replacement craft that you wanted. It all adds to the disappointment and frustration at having had your personal property stolen. It really is best not to let it happen to you. Most thefts can be prevented with a little bit of foresight, care and some investment in good security products.

If the worst does happen, report the theft immediately to the police, to your Insurers and tell anybody involved in the personal watercraft industry in your area that it has happened. Don’t give up on it. Keep your eyes and ears open, it’s just possible that it may turn up. These days, with more and more lake owners and slipways demanding identification, insurance and registration, there are fewer and fewer places for a stolen craft to be used without someone suspecting something.

It goes back to what was said originally. If you knew a thief was after your craft today you would stop them. Of course it really isn’t possible to apply that logic in the real world but if you think more along these lines and are pro-active in theft prevention then the majority of potential thefts will be prevented.

Systems design and development by RNSConsultants (C) RJP Marine / RNS Consultants 2003