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Personal Watercraft Thefts

Recently several thefts of personal water crafts have been reported on Lake Zoar.

Please read the attached article for some important tips on how to prevent yours from being stolen.

Anyone who has ever had a personal watercraft stolen knows there is nothing quite like that initial moment when you first realize your prized water toy is gone and probably gone for good. The increasing popularity of PWC’s and their ease of transport make them a tempting target for thieves. The following are some anti-theft tips gleaned from many sources.

General Precautions and Documentation of Your Pride and Joy

Take pictures of your watercraft for identification purposes.

Take pictures of the engine compartment, Hull Identification Number (HIN), PWC trailer and any unique identifying features of your PWC.

Write down the hull identification, trailer ID, state registration and engine serial numbers and keep them in your tow vehicle’s glove compartment for quick access. Make copies of the registration, insurance and purchase invoice (if available) and keep one in the tow vehicle and one at home. You will need these numbers to provide to law enforcement authorities in the sad event your PWC is stolen.

Mark your territory! Engrave a unique identifying number in several places including the trailer. Police departments often suggest using your drivers’ license number and state abbreviation. Also, consider using an indelible ultra violet pen (invisible to the naked eye but shows up under ultraviolet light) to mark key components.

General Anti-Theft Tips

Tip: Do everything possible to make stealing your PWC a MAJOR hassle for a thief. If it requires too much work, causes too much noise or draws unwarranted public attention, they will move on to easier prey.

PWC on the Water

If possible, never leave your watercraft unattended.

NEVER leave the lanyard attached to the PWC or attached to the life vest sitting on top of the PWC. Take the lanyard with you!

PWC on the Trailer

Time to invest in some high quality pick and drill-proof trailer locks!  PWC trailer locks you should consider include a coupler latch lock to secure the coupler onto the ball while it’s attached to your tow vehicle, a coupler lock for unattended trailers, a receiver lock to lock the draw bar in the receiver, a bow pin lock to secure your watercraft to the trailer and finally a trailer anti-theft wheel lock.

Invest in a heavy gauge steel wire cable lock (sometimes called contractor grade cable locks) and lock the PWC onto the trailer. Be sure to use a vinyl coated cable to avoid scratching the paint job. PWC racers have been known to go to great lengths to secure their watercraft including: running the cable through the wheels into the engine compartment, under the drive shaft and through the trailer frame.

When Traveling with your PWC

When you park your PWC for the night at a hotel, look for a secure location with good lighting. Ask the hotel if they have parking lot security cameras and park accordingly. If you’re traveling in two vehicles have your buddy park his car close behind your trailer.

Consider purchasing a motion sensor alarm for the tow vehicle if not so equipped.

Always make sure the tow vehicle is locked. Don’t leave it parked on the street.

Keep the craft covered.

Extended PWC Storage

Keep the watercraft out of sight, preferably inside a garage or behind a locked gate. If the craft must be stored in the open cover it with a non conspicuous cover or tarp. Even if it is inside a garage, chain it to an immovable object. If you have automatic garage door openers consider deactivating them while you are out of town or away for extended periods.

For longer term off season storage remove the trailer wheels and remember to install a coupler lock. Place a locking lug nut on the lug bolt of the trailer to prevent a wheel from being put on the trailer. Store the spare tire out of sight in a garage or car trunk.

If the craft is stored outdoors (back yard, carport, driveway, etc.) consider installing a cemented ground anchor to secure your case hardened Mega Chain or cable lock. Anchoring methods can vary from the simple U bolt to flush mounted anchors such as the spiffy Y anchor (

If your craft is stored in an open driveway or yard, install a trailer anti-theft wheel lock, turn the trailer so the hitch is inaccessible and/or park another vehicle in front of the trailer. If you own multiple craft, park them facing each other and chain the trailers together.

If you live on a lake and theft via water is a possibility, remove the battery or otherwise disable the watercraft.