Sailing Safety: Top 10 Security Tips for You and Your Yacht

There are so many wonderful things about owning a yacht. Not only are these cruising vessels beautiful specimens of nautical engineering, but they offer something which cannot be found anywhere else. Nothing quite compares to the sense of limitless freedom which is felt out on the open water. It is an addictive experience and it keeps sailors coming back for more with every new season. However, all multihulls represent a substantial investment.

If you want to keep yours safe and in tip top condition, you’ve got to take practical precautions. The first thing that you need to do is take out a suitable insurance policy. Click here for a list of trustworthy brokers. While run-ins with thieves and vandals are relatively rare (particularly if you dock in top marinas), it is best to be prepared. There are several things you can do to increase your yacht security.   

Check Travel Warnings

Before you head out on any extended sailing trips, check the Australian Government travel website for details on the latest alerts. If the government deems a region unsafe, either because of political or natural crises, you should avoid heading there until conditions are stable.

Sail in Company

If you do find yourself moving through an unsafe area, try to anchor only in places where there are other vessels. Thieves are less likely to attack a yacht if there’s a chance of being seen. Even if it doesn’t act as a deterrent, the close proximity of other boats will mean that help arrives much faster.

Stay Alert At All Times

When out on the water, be conscious of any unknown vessel approaching your yacht. Keep a camera on board and take pictures of any boats which make you feel nervous or uneasy.

Create an Inventory

There can be a lot of expensive equipment on a yacht: radios, navigational tools, GPS technology, etc. Most people also carry things like personal laptops and smartphones. Before starting a sailing trip, take photos of all the valuable items which aren’t firmly secured (in other words, anything that can be picked up and moved without effort). Read our article on the safety essentials required for blue-water cruising.  

Buy a Security Camera

The threat of video capture is a great deterrent. So, if you do invest in a high-quality camera, show it off! Position it above the main entry point of the boat and post a highly visible warning sign. In fact, just the sign alone can be effective if you don’t want to splash out on expensive equipment.

Choose Your Arms

The proportion of yacht owners who keep guns on board is thankfully very small. Statistics show that the presence of any kind of firearm actually increases the risk of injury for the defender. So, it is much better to stick with chemical sprays and anything which makes a lot of loud noise. It may sound strange, but wasp spray is a favourite weapon for many sailors.

Lock Valuables Away

Just as you wouldn’t leave valuable items exposed in your car, you shouldn’t leave expensive possessions in plain sight on the yacht. When you’re away from the boat, keep laptops, radios, GPS equipment, and jewellery locked away in drawers or cupboards.

Sleep with an Alarm

It is very easy to get hold of a personal security alarm. These little devices are quite simple but very effective. If you sleep with one beneath your pillow or by your bedside, you can activate it in an emergency situation (if an intruder is on the boat). The alarm will emit an extremely high-pitched noise, which will hopefully wake up people nearby and scare off the intruder.

Avoid Confrontation

While yachts do get broken into sometimes, the incidence of this happening is very small. In the unlikely event that an intruder makes their way onto your boat, it is always best to avoid confrontation. Sound an alarm, make as much noise as possible, and give the thief a chance to leave voluntarily.

Be Warm and Friendly  

If you travel extensively and often spend time docked in various international marinas, you’ll need to brush up on your schmoozing skills. Not only will you learn so much more by chatting with the locals, it is also good to have them on your side. You never know when a crisis will be averted by an eagle-eyed local chasing away a vandal or thief.


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