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Where Have All the Outboards Gone?

A recent rash of outboard thefts on the Estuary is a good reminder for boaters to secure their motors. "We recently bought a boat on eBay, and between the time we won it and the time we picked it up, the outboard had been stolen," writes an Alameda sailor who prefers to remain anonymous. "It was slipped from the docks of a local yacht club.

"The local outboard shop told us they’ve received calls from 50 or more people whose motors were pilfered in the last two months. Where are they going? The theives could be selling them on Craigslist without their serial numbers, but there are very many listed. It’s also interesting that motors in the 8- to 9-hp range are being targeted, obviously because they’re more portable than larger engines, yet are strong enough to push most boats.

"I think outboards should come with chips embedded into the drive system so you can track it, similar to having your pet chipped. Serial numbers on metal tags that can be pried off don’t help much in tracking down your stolen property. Until that happens, West Marine has a clamp-on lock to prevent theft. Does anyone know how well these work?"

West Marine offers a corrosion-resistant stainless bar lock for $100.

© West Marine

How do you secure your outboard against theft? Do you use something like West Marine’s high-security outboard bar lock that sells for $100 or have you figured out a method of your own? Email with your solution (photos welcome!).


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