How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat? Useful Tips To Prevent Boat Theft

It’s easy to get an inflatable boat because its price is affordable. But to keep your boat safe is not a simple job. Inflatable boat theft happens more and more often.

So, how to lock up an inflatable boat? You can consult the following tips to protect your dinghy from thieves.

  • Hoist your inflatable boat out of water 
  • Give your boat a unique mark
  • Take out the outboard motor 
  • Equip your dinghy with an anti-theft alarm system
  • Make your inflatable boat look unattractive
  • Purchase insurance for your boat
  • Use locks and chains
  • Store your boat securely

In this article, we will give you detailed instructions to stop boat theft. Let’s see!

How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat

How to protect your dinghy from thieves?

What You Need To Know About Inflatable Boat Theft

A lot of inflatable boat thefts occur in every cruising season. What thieves want is the outboard motor, but removing it from the boat will take some time. So, they will break in and run away with your dinghy.

After taking the motor, they usually slash the boat and leave it near the theft site.

Many inflatable boats have affordable prices, but some others can cost you a great deal. Besides, the outboard motor and other additional equipment are rather valuable. Thus, if a thief steals your dinghy, you will lose a significant investment. 

Moreover, it’s hard to find an inflatable boat for replacement in cruising areas. So, it’s very inconvenient if your boat gets stolen during your cruise.

Another thing you should know is that the rate of stolen boat recovery is only 30-50%. 

For the reasons above, you’d better have some ways to protect your boat before someone steals it. 

How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat

After taking the motor, thieves will leave the boat

How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat?

Boat theft prevention includes making your boat less desirable to thieves and increasing the difficulty of stealing it. 

Locking your dinghy is not the only measure to prevent thieves from taking it. The tips below can make your boat less vulnerable to theft. 

Hoist your inflatable boat out of water

How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat

Many people have the habit of anchoring their boat without lifting it out of the water. This action will help thieves get away with your boat faster. So, remember to always hoist your dinghy out of the water, especially at night. 

A halyard or some davits will help you to place your inflatable boat on the shore. In this way, thieves may give up stealing it because of its difficulty. 

Remember to always hoist your dinghy out of the water

Give your boat a unique mark

You should give your boat a unique mark to make it different from others. 

You can write your name or draw something that you can easily identify on it. Other items stored on the boat should have the same mark. You should use unfadable paint for marking so that the marks won’t be easily removed.

Besides, it’s better to have a list of everything you have on your boat. 

You need to record the name, serial or registration numbers, and manufacturer of each item. Also, take some photos of the boat and other objects and keep them along with the list. 

By marking and recording your inflatable boat and belongings, you will have more chances to find them back if someone steals them. 

Take out the outboard motor 

How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat

As we mentioned above, the main target of thieves is the boat motor, and they usually take action at night. Thus, you can protect your boat by removing the outboard motor and store it in a safe place nightly. 

It will take you some minutes to remove and re-attach the motor to the boat. But it’s better to spend some time than spend money on buying a new dinghy and motor. 

Take out the outboard motor

Equip your dinghy with an anti-theft alarm system

Setting an alarm system on your dinghy is effective in deterring theft. You will need to invest some money in this device, but it won’t cost much. 

You should choose an alarm designed for marine use with a motion-detecting function. If someone prowls around your boat, this alarm will make a loud noise to alert. 

The noise can make the thief scared and give up stealing your boat. It can also grab the attention of people nearby. In this way, you and others will know what happens with your boat. 

You can also consider equipping a GPS tracking device to your dinghy. With this device, you will know the location of your boat and can track it easily in case of boat theft. 

Make your inflatable boat look unattractive

New inflatable boats are the most vulnerable to theft. Their new shiny appearance will attract the attention of prowlers. If you are cruising on a brand new inflatable boat, the chances are high that it will catch the eyes of thieves.

Therefore, to make your boat less appealing to thieves, you need to give it an unattractive appearance. Here are some ways to age a new dinghy.

  • Crooks often target the motors of famous brands. So, you should anonymize yours by peeling off the brand name. 
  • Rub the cover of the motor with sandpaper to reduce the shininess.
  • Age the boat by adding some seagull droppings and spraying some light grey paint.
  • Stick some patches on your dinghy to give it an old look. These patches will make your boat look unreliable, and no one wants such a boat. 
  • If your inflatable boat has a bright color, you can splatter it with dark paints to uglify it. 
  • Cover some parts of the boat with rubber paint. Rubber paint can protect your boat against UV rays. It will also soon flake off and make the boat ugly. 
  • Partly deflate your dinghy so that it looks like it gets some leaks.
How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat

Make your inflatable boat look unattractive

It will be extremely painful to spoil your beautiful new boat by yourself. But that’s better than letting thieves take it, and you have to invest in another one. 

If you haven’t bought an inflatable boat, don’t rush to pick a new one.  Buying a used inflatable boat can help you avoid boat theft and save a lot of money. 

In addition, you can choose boats and motors of an offbeat brand or less popular. They will look cheap, and thieves will probably not notice them. 

Purchase insurance for your boat

Boat insurance can’t stop thieves from stealing your inflatable dinghy. However, it can help recover your stolen boat faster and secure your investment.

Depending on the policy, you can receive compensation equal to the value of the boat.

You should consider carefully before choosing an insurance policy for your boat. Also, don’t forget to cover all valuable equipped devices on your boat. 

Once your boat gets stolen, you need to report the loss to your insurance provider and the local police. Remember to provide them with your boat and equipment record. 

Use locks and chains

Now, let’s move on with a traditional way to protect your inflatable boat: locking it up. 

Using locks and chains on your boat will make it more difficult for thieves to steal it. It’s better to choose good locking bars for the outboard motor. They can secure the motor to your dinghy and also lock it to the rail of the yacht.  

These locking bars are anti-cutting, so thieves can’t saw them off. However, they are not rust-proof, so you will have to replace them quickly. 

Outboard motor locking bars

You can lock the engine with a motorbike lock to make it unusable. Then, use a stainless steel padlock to secure it to the transom of the boat. 

After securing the motor to your dinghy, you should fix both the motor and the dinghy to a yacht or a fixed point on the shore. Cables or stainless steel chains will be good at this job. 

Besides, below are some things you should keep in mind when locking up your inflatable boat.

  • Lock your inflatable boat whenever you don’t use it. Boat thefts usually happen at night, but there’s no guarantee they don’t happen during the day.
  • You should choose locks and cables or chains that are difficult to cut. Thieves are less likely to attempt to handle these locks. 
  • Gasoline can also be a stealing target, so you should also lock the gas tank to your boat. 
  • You can remove and take along the safety-shutoff coil and fuel line with you. In this way, the thief can’t use the motor to drive your boat away.
  • You should not expose the motor and other electronic devices on your boat. Putting them in a locker will keep them out of sight of crooks.

Store your boat securely

When the cruising season ends, you need to store your inflatable boat in a secured place. The safest way to store them is by keeping them in a secure locked garage or warehouse. 

If you don’t have a garage or warehouse, place it in a hidden corner of your yard. You can cover it with a canvas sheet. Remember to remove all the valuable and portable equipment from the boat before storage. 

How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat

You need to store your inflatable boat in a secured place

Related Posts: How to Stay Safe with an Inflatable Boat on the Ocean


Above are some methods for how to lock up an inflatable boat. Knowing how to protect your inflatable boat against theft will save you a lot of money. You can combine several methods to improve the theft-deterrent effectiveness! Windrider of The Rockies.

Hopefully, this article will be helpful for you to secure your inflatable boat. Thank you for reading!

Reference: Stopping Dinghy theft – The four basic rules

Rate this post