Do I Really Need a Boat Security System?

Do you need an alarm on your vessel? Here are four arguments against and in favor of marine security systems.
boat yard
Unfortunately for boaters, these signs aren’t much of a deterrent against thieves. Jim Hendricks

Do anglers really need electronic security systems for their boats? I mean, c’mon— anglers have done without them for decades, haven’t they? So why get a security system now?

Many anglers fail to see a need, and some anglers have outright objections to buying and installing a remotely monitored electronic security system from a brand such as BRNKL (Barnacle), Dometic, Garmin, GOST, or Siren. Yet, there are two sides to every objection, so let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Objection: Connectivity Has Run Amok

Siren Marine app
You can keep an eye on your boat through your smartphone anywhere you have service, giving you crucial updates or piece of mind. Courtesy Siren Marine

Boating is about leaving the world behind, so why would a boat owner want to constantly be checking to see the state of his batteries, if his boat is still afloat, or if somebody has moved it?

On the Other Hand

No one can deny that we are more connected to our homes, offices, and automobiles than ever before. Why wouldn’t you want to be connected to your boat? Would you rather not ward off potential thieves with an audible alarm and flashing lights? Would you rather not receive an alert on your phone that your batteries are dying, or your bilge is filling up with water? That’s what today marine electronic security systems can do.

Objection: My Boat is Already Safe

boat on trailer in driveway
Just because your boat is on a trailer in your driveway doesn’t mean it’s safe from thieves. Jim Hendricks

My boat is tied up to my dock or sits on a trailer in my driveway or front yard, so it’s unlikely anybody would mess with it.

On the Other Hand

Just because your boat is stored in your driveway, front yard or home dock doesn’t mean you can’t be a victim of theft or burglary. Many a boat is stolen or broken into virtually right under an owner’s nose. You can’t always be at home, and thieves are very good at telling when you’re away. And if your boat is kept in a marina—even if it has locked gates—thieves know that these areas can be rich hunting grounds.

Objection: My Boat Isn’t Fancy

MFD on boat
Even if you don’t consider your vessel “fancy,” it is likely outfitted with plenty of expensive, easy to grab, equipment. Jim Hendricks

There are plenty of bigger, better, more expensive boats around my neighborhood or in my marina for thieves to target.

On the Other Hand

Your boat doesn’t have to be a showcase to be a target. Many thieves just want to grab what’s easy and make off with it. In general, marine electronics of all types prove easy targets, even if they’re not the newest or most expensive. And don’t forget the expensive fishing tackle, safety gear, and other equipment you have stashed away in cabins and lockers. Even with insurance, replacing these items will be costly and inconvenient, and worse yet, will keep you off the water for a while.

Objection: Boating is Already Expensive

Siren Marine security system
Security systems, like this one from Siren Marine, allow boat owners to monitor their vessels even while they’re away. Courtesy Siren Marine

I don’t need to add another purchase and subscription program cost to my already stretched-out boating budget.

On the Other Hand

The addition of a system like a Siren 3 Pro ($799 providing geofence tracking, battery, and temperature with additional sensors available and cellular subscription of around $18 monthly) seems a reasonable investment to protect your boat and all your valuable gear. Theft protection is just the tip of the iceberg. These systems also give you the ability to monitor the boat’s location, bilge water, batteries, shore power connection and other critical data. When integrated with relays or digital switching, you can even turn on air conditioning, lights, and other systems before you show up.

In Conclusion

Consider how a day of fishing with friends or cruising with the family can be sublime. Then consider how today’s advanced electronic marine security systems can help prevent issues that might otherwise mar such precious memories. With this in mind, only you can decide if a marine security system is right for you or not.

For more on how electronic security systems can protect your boat, visit our article on preventing marine electronics theft.