Scrap metal thefts on the increase

Insurers Navigators & General (N&G) are urging boat owners to take precautions and remain vigilant over the winter months to avoid becoming a victim of the rising number of metal thefts.

Bronze items such as statues, bells and plaques are targeted by thieves, and copper disappearances from a wide range of locations are being reported, N&G say.

Police forces are describing an “explosion” in thefts of metal which is often melted down, re-shaped and then sold on as scrap, they claim.

This is mainly due to the fact that copper values have doubled in the last two years.

With many boat owners having bronze or alloy propellers, this increase does leave them at risk, particularly over the darker winter months if boats are laid up ashore. Even boats with copper sheaving on their hull could be vulnerable.

N&G say: “We are advising customers to check on the level of security offered by their chosen yard and use established boatyards or secure compounds to store their boats. For complete peace of mind owners should consider removing props altogether over the lay-up period and safely store them away.”

N&G also strongly advise owners to check the wording of their insurance policies and endorsements to ensure that they cover “theft of equipment following forcible and violent removal from the exterior of the vessel”.

Some policies only cover “theft of equipment following forcible entry”, which may exclude some claims of props stolen off the shafts.