As a marine insurance broker I regularly deal with stolen engines from the Salcombe area. Common place in our sheltered waters where thieves (at high water) release craft from the mooring and in a quiet location remove engine bolts using scaffold poles, portable angle grinders, cutters, even chain sawing the whole transom or using acid is not unusual. So where are these engines going, one yam 250 turned up in Ontario last year which was stolen 2 years prior.
My own opinion is the majority are either going abroad (Eastern Europe) using organised traffic rings or centrally to be dismantled and sold off as spares in due course, no way of tracing a gearbox from a stolen 250. No doubt worth a few bob to the criminals when the usual 10 year wear and tear starts, means there will be a demand for spares and money to be made.
How can you prevent it, simple, I have now self-installed a tracker, the battery backup charges when I run the engine (no main boat battery) or you can charge it fully using a car charger and should easily last for 60 days, if the boat moves I get a text and I can also check its location and turn it on and off from my smart phone. As I understand it, if it's permanently wired in to your boat electrics, if the mains cable or ignition is tampered with it also sends you a text, and when the battery gets below cranking power! So how can a thief get around that one?
I know for a fact that one of the large rib and associated engine manufacturers are seriously entertaining this product, which is great news for those that buy a new boat, engine or package. Soon the thieves will know which these are and then only target older engines, the likes of you and I will become more of a target.
Have a look at www.bigsting.co.uk
, well worth it and you may even win a free one on the competition. Easy to fully install yourself if you know about 12v electrics, I think they have a main dealer network in the UK if not and it's a British product, about time!!
I will be recommending this to all my clients over the next 6 months, hopefully it will make my job easier by not dealing with marine theft claims, none of which put my clients back in a better position, nothing but a massive headache for all of us and pushes up premiums.
Hope this helps