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How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat? Tips & Recommendations

How To Lock Up An Inflatable Boat? Tips & Recommendations

Having an inflatable boat is incredibly convenient if you like fishing or taking a leisurely cruise. And since you are here looking for ways to protect yours, we are going to guess that you fully agree with this opinion.

Dinghy, another name for an inflatable boat, is a great companion for your watery adventures but it is also difficult to store. You cannot simply drag it to the garage to keep it locked up, making it vulnerable.

The funniest part is that thieves do not even keep the inflatable boat. They just take the trolling motor to sell and throw away the rest of a perfectly good product.

In case you are wondering how often this happens, the answer is ‘A lot.’ Let’s look at some important statistics to see how often it happens.

Boat Theft Statistics

Boat Theft

Source: Cision, Boat US

  • According to data provided by National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a total of 4,240 inflatable boats were stolen across the USA.
  • Florida had the highest number of boat theft cases. 942 boats were stolen with 40% of them getting successfully recovered.
  • The city with the highest number of reported boat thefts was Fort Lauderdale. 43 boats were stolen but only 33% were recovered.
  • 46% of all stolen boats are Runabouts, making them the most stolen boats.

These statistics give a clear idea of how common boat theft is and why it is important to find a way to secure them.

Why You Need to Worry About It

This section is relatively self-explanatory but in case you are wondering why we want to focus so ardently on boat thefts and the need to protect them, there is a very good reason for it.

In case you have not yet bought an inflatable boat, let us give you an idea about the amount of money it takes to buy and maintain one.

An inflatable boat can cost you a lot depending on your choice of brand, features, and additional equipment. So, when a thief decides to run off with your boat, all the hard-earned money immediately goes down the drain.

That’s not all. Several people prefer to add a trolling motor to their inflatable boats for the electronic GPS location setting, linking to fish finding electronics, etc.

When a thief runs off with your boat, they are essentially running off with a lot of your hard-earned money and savings. Since even the highest percentage of recovery for a state is 56% (California), it is better to take measures to prevent the boat from getting stolen, to begin with.

How to Lock Up an Inflatable Boat – Tips

Instead of only telling you how to lock up an inflatable boat, we prepared a mini guide for theft prevention or mitigating the risk of boat theft.

You can take several measures to reduce the risk of theft, increase the likelihood of recovery, or keep yourself covered against the risk. Let’s take a look at some of them.

1. Hoist it Out of the Water

lift an inflatable boat out of the water

The simplest way to reduce the risk of theft is to make the process more difficult for the thief. You can use a halyard to lift your inflatable boat out of the water making it difficult and time-consuming for the thief to steal it.

2. Mark and Record the Boat and Items in It

Mark on the inflatable boat

Always keep a record of all the items on your boat and mark them to keep them distinguishable from the general products. You can use your name or an identifier for the purpose.

The point is to have a unique identity marker on them. This way, even if someone steals the boat or items on it, finding them back with authorities involved will be easier.

3. Install an Alarm System

Alarm system on inflatable boat

This option will cost you some money but it is worth every cent. Installing a motion-detecting alarm system will create enough noise to alert people within the vicinity, complicating the thief’s getaway. The fear of getting caught will act as an effective deterrent.

4. Age its Appearance

The boats most at risk of theft have the obvious shine of newness to them. As much as it may hurt you, aging the appearance of your new inflatable boat has the best chance of making it less attractive to thieves.

Aging an inflatable boat appearance

There are several ways in which you can achieve this.

  • Use sandpaper to dull down the shine.
  • Add paint to it to make it look old and worn.
  • Add some scratches that resemble the ones that accumulate over time.

These are some of the easiest ways to age your boat’s look to reduce the risk of it getting stolen.

5. Get it Insured

Insuring will not protect your boat from the thief but it will secure your investment. If your area is popular for boat thefts despite precautionary measures, getting your purchase insured will help you remain at ease.

If you have installed and keep valuable electronics on it, make sure they are covered in the protection as well.

6. Lock it Up

Outboard Motor Lock

Last, but not least, lock it up. Making it difficult for the thief to move the boat or the electronic equipment away from it. There are several two main methods you can use to lock your boat.

  1. Oar locks
  2. Outboard Motor Lock

The Oar Locks make it difficult to move the boat while the Outboard Motor Lock specifically protects the motor from getting stolen. There are several options for both in the market and we have mentioned a few options below to help you select the right ones.

Product Recommendations for Locks for Inflatable Boats

The best part about locking up your inflatable boat is that the cost of the locks is nowhere near the average amount of money you are at risk of losing due to theft.

Without further ado, let’s look at some of the best lock options in the market for inflatable boats.

1. Marine City Stainless-Steel Clamp

Marine City Stainless-Steel Clamp

These clamps are made of premium quality steel, making them incredibly sturdy and strong. They will firmly lock and secure your oars, making it difficult for the thief to remove or move them to take the boat away.

2. Zodiac Oarlocks

An attractive, reliable, and durable model from Zodiac, these oar locks are also a great option for keeping your boat secure. Their base material is steel, making them incredibly strong and difficult to break.

Adding them to your theft prevention plan will make your boat more secure and keep you from stressing over it.

In addition to oar locks, you need to also consider getting locks for the outboard motor. As mentioned above, they are the main reason why the boats get stolen, to begin with. Therefore making it difficult to separate them from the boat will act as a deterrent as well.

3. McGard Outboard Motor Lock Set

McGard Outboard Motor Lock Set

The McGard Outboard Motor Lock Set is one of the best in the market and has excellent reviews. It has a key-based lock, making it a foolproof option. The materials used to make it are also premium.

Even a skilled thief will end up having to deploy a variety of tactics and hours’ worth of effort to try to disengage it. Since such activity puts them at risk of discovery, thieves usually avoid stealing the boats with this lock on them.

4. Trimax Outboard Motor Lock

Trimax Outboard Motor Lock 

The Trimax Outboard Motor Lock is another great option to consider if you want to keep your motor safer. It is easy to install and locks the motor securely to the boat, making it difficult for a thief to separate it.

It is also durable and will last you a long time before the need for replacement arises.


To sum up, preventing your inflatable boat from getting stolen is important because the boast and its equipment are expensive. Aside from knowing how to lock up an inflatable boat, you should consider a range of preventive options like aging, appearance, hoisting, installing alarms, etc.

For locking the boat, opt for oar locks and outboard motor locks. The combination will keep both your boat and motor secure by making it extremely complex for the thief to break them open to steal it.

We hope this article helped you get an idea about locking your inflatable boat. We wish you the best of luck in keeping it safe from thieves!