I probably should have discussed that they might be two different scenarios - one if you keep you boat in a marina and/or docked; and the other if it is anchored out /or on a mooring
I would posit that if the boat is valuable enough to steal, it is probably in a slip/dock somewhere. Therefore if the thieves cannot start the engine, they cannot get the boat out of the slip/dock.
Otherwise, I can see if the boat where anchored/moored disabling the steering might lead to a drifting boat or one cut loose from the mooring
Still the idea of thieves wanting the "whole boat" is rather far fetched, IMHO. Boats are too easily identifiable and the networks (cruiser webs, marinas
, etc.) available to find the boat quite effective - with the exception of thieves taking the boat to some backwaters in a 3rd or 5th World country. The stolen - again thieves like to steal things of value, not your typical well-worn cruising boat so it is hard to envision the need for expensive trackers or electronics
The cases of stolen boats I have had personally observed have been new catamarans from upscale charter
fleets. And the thieves were exceedingly inept and it was obvious to everyone (cruisers and marina folk) that whomever was operating the stolen boat did not know how to handle it.
One particular incident was a new 41ft cat that was brought into Luperon, D.R. for the purposes of loading it with 30+ locals who wanted to "escape" to the USA. On the way into the harbor and marina the thieves collided with several moored/anchored boats and during their short stay at the marina Puerto Blanco, it was obvious by their behavior that they were not cruisers. The local constabulary was alerted and sure enough at about midnight they caught 30+ locals trying to squeeze themselves onto the boat.
However, the charter
boat company had some major expenses trying to get possession of the boat back from the local constabulary. Cost them major dollars to get clearance to reclaim "the evidence" and leave with the boat. The Charter company probably could have bought another boat for less money
after getting the insurance
Since we are only discussing "whole boat" theft, one tactic that I and others use is "personalizing" the boat so that it really stands out or looks different than your normal "cookie-cutter" version of the boat. I have bright red masts and hull
and as a result the boat and I are well known in the Caribbean
and east coast
of the USA.
Other boats I have known have had 2 or 3 stripes of contrasting color painted around the mast(s). The reason was more for the owner/cruiser to be able to find his boat when it was anchored/moored in a major cruiser harbor like Georgetown
. There can be as many as 400+ boats anchored out during the height of the cruiser season there.
Unique ways of personalizing your "cookie-cutter" boat are as varied as the folks living/cruising on them. And it is a great "get to know other folks" technique when you are the new arrival. When "everybody" knows "your boat" its attractiveness to thieves greatly diminishes.