Best Boat Security Systems and Cameras for 2024
Siren 3 Boat Monitoring System
Spot Trace Alert Tracking System
As a boat owner, you didn’t invest in your boat just so you could have it stolen, right? Whether it’s a few hundred bucks for an old fishing boat and hundreds of thousands for a yacht, you have every right to protect what’s yours. That means a solid security system to keep it safe when you’re not around. Let’s take a look at some of the best marine security systems.
Siren 3 Boat Monitoring System
If you’re looking for a serious and reliable security system for your boat, then the Siren 3 Pro from Siren Marine has to be on your radar. You’re going to pay a few more dollars for this than your knock off system that can be found on Amazon, but it’s worth it.
As long as you have a mobile device, and who doesn’t these days, the Siren 3 system allows you to monitor, track and even control your vessel remotely. You can keep an eye on critical functions such as how your bilge is holding up and what your battery life looks like.
The GPS locator ensures you always know where your vessel is. This allows for tracking if it either gets stolen or maybe your brother takes it out for the day and doesn’t come back on time.
Onboard controls can be wired to the system as well through two outputs. This can allow you to turn the lights on and off as you desire. You can even turn the AC on before you arrive so you have a cooled down boat before heading out for the day.
There are 9 hardwired inputs and you can connect to up to 15 sensors, but you need to buy those separately. You can mix and match with things like motion sensors, pull sensors and so on to ensure maximum security and coverage.
Spot Trace Alert Tracking System
If you’re looking to meld a great price with great technology, Spot Trace has what you need. Keep in mind, this is not a security system but a tracking system, and we recommend you use both pieces of technology together. A great security system can absolutely prevent theft. However, if something happens and your vessel does get stolen, what next? That’s where Spot Trace comes in.
If your boat moves when it’s not supposed to you’ll instantly receive a notification in the form of an email or a text message. You will then be able to track the progress and position of your boat in real time with Google Maps. No matter where the boat goes, you’ll have updated information on location that can be shared with law enforcement to ensure you get your boat returned as fast as possible.
Tracking is customizable and you can receive updates every 60 minutes or up to every 2.5 minutes if you wish. It works fairly simply upon activation. Spot Trace uses GPS coordinates it receives from the satellite network to determine your boat’s position. It then relays those coordinates to your device.
The system is able to alter you when batteries are low or even when it’s turned off in case someone found it. The units are small and can be discreetly placed on your boat where a thief is unlikely to find them. Mounting brackets or double-sided tape can be used.
Pairing the unit with Spot Trace’s service ensures peace of mind when you have your boat at the dock. The basic services allows for tracking, movement alerts and more. Upgraded tracking ensures that update every 2.5 minutes for the most precise tracking available. This does require entering into a contract with the company, however.
Coverage is available nearly all over the world in offshore areas though inland in places like Asia and Africa may not be available. Battery life while tracking varies depending on functionality but can last anywhere from 3.5 to as much as 156 days.
Garmin GC 100 Wireless Boat Security Camera
Finding good quality marine cameras is sometimes harder than you’d think. Amazon is full of knock off indoor/outdoor cameras but they are not made for marine use. You can likely get away with an outdoor camera on your boat for a while. But is it the best choice? Likely not. The issue is, of course, the potential moisture not to mention salt a boat camera may have to endure. They need to be tougher than a backyard camera and that’s where Garmin comes in. Garmin works in the marine field and their cameras are designed for this environment.
The GC 100 is a compact camera designed to monitor both interior and exterior of a boat. It can be connected wirelessly to a chartplotter so you can see what the camera sees right away. Any other one on the same network can also hook up to the camera feed. Up to 4 cameras can be viewed simultaneously.
One of the highlights of the GC 100 is that it’s designed to operate in total darkness. That means you can monitor the deck in the dead of night. But, of potential more use, is that you can monitor places like the engine room, no lights required.
Set up is simple and quick. The cameras work wirelessly. The device is hardwired for power. Once installed, it’s literally good to go at the push of a button. The Wi-fi range is 70 meters or about 230 feet. The night vision ability is good for around 3 meters or about 9 feet.
TH Marine Two-Way Boat Alarm
At 128 decibels, no one is going to ignore the alarm of the TH Marine two-way boat alarm when it goes off. You can be alerted up to 3000 yards off when the alarm is activated. It can also transmit up to 1000 yards.
The shock sensor has an adjustable sensitivity setting so you can make tweaks to prevent false alarms, especially if you’re in choppier waters. There are five sensitivity levels and the default is level three.
The alarm system offers three levels of protection and deterrence. The blaring and impossible to ignore sound is one. But the system also offers vibration and light as well to ensure security. Once hooked up to your deck lights they can flash while the alarm sounds. This is very effective at scaring off would be intruders while also allowing others to quickly identify where the problem is when coming to help if need be.
The main engine is waterproof and installation is fairly simple. You can also rest assured that TH Marine offers great customer service if you have any issues. The company has a proven track record of friendly and fast service if any issues pop up.
Siren Marine Boat Alarm
When you need something cheap and effective, the Siren Marine alarm may be your best bet. Not a lot of frills and gimmicks here, it’s just a loud alarm. The sound reaches 101 decibels so it’s pretty much impossible to miss when it goes off. The system connects with a single wire in just seconds making installation easy and trouble free.
Because it’s just a simple alarm, it obviously only works when you’re in range. So if your boat is tied up at a home dock or somewhere nearby, this could be ideal. The motion sensor function will trip the alarm if anything moves around in range. The alarm can also be functional when you’re on the boat. It can be set up to detect the presence of water. So if you’re on deck and there’s a problem below, the alarm can notify you before it gets out of hand.
The alarm is easy to use. It can be connected to a Siren Marine app which allows you to switch the alarm on and off. That makes it convenient if it goes off by accident or if you want to set it off for a specific reason. The same app can be used to set it to different modes, like the motion sensor function we already mentioned. It can also be set on a schedule.
Arguably one of the best selling points of the Siren Marine boat alarm is the price. Some of the most complicated security systems can be very expensive as we’ve seen. But if you’re just looking to keep a simple boat safe in a simple boat way, this could be a great option.
The plastic housing is sturdy and also waterproof. The wiring is set for any 12V-80V DC power source. One thing to be aware of is that this needs to be used in conjunction with an MTC or “monitor, track and control” system, like the Siren 3.
Skippers Wireless Boat Security System
The wireless boat security system from Skippers offers a decent system for a decent price. We wouldn’t recommend using this to keep your million dollar yacht secure. But if you have a small fishing boat and you want to add a layer of protection, this is a great choice.
The system is very similar to home security ones you may be familiar with. Once armed, the red light flashes to let you know it’s secure. It also offers a good visual deterrent to would-be thieves.
Connect to a 12 V DC power source to ensure proper functioning and longer life. There is a battery backup in the keypad but it is just that, a backup. Comes with a keyfob remote, motion sensors, and two door/hatch sensors as well. You can set up four programmable zones as well.
The motion sensors can be a little sensitive so you may want to adjust their field of view. Because you’re on the water, if things get choppy the sensors can and will pick up the motion. The potential for false alarms is there so keep that in mind. Often, a simple piece of tape obscuring just a part of the sensor can help narrow the field and prevent this. The process can be trial and error. It all depends on how you mount the sensors, of course.
The alarm is remarkably loud. If you want something you’ll hear at a distance, this one has you covered. Also means that any potential thieves are going to get nervous quickly when it goes off.
Make sure you test the batteries when the system arrives. Though it comes with some, they may not be the best quality. We recommend buying new batteries just in case. The batteries in the key fob are pre-installed but they may be old and dead or near dead.
If you want a system that looks professional and will deter would-be thieves as much by the appearance as the actual function, this could be the one for you.
Things to Remember About Your Security System
How you use a boat security system really depends on what you hope to get out of it. Some systems, as we can see, are much more expensive than others. But that’s true of boats as well. There’s little need to use a $1000 system on an old fishing boat only worth a few hundred dollars. Likewise, you may want to secure an expensive yacht with some top of the line advanced technology and not a knock off brand.
Do You Need Boat Security Cameras?
You’ll notice many of the systems we included do not have cameras. This is really a personal choice as to whether you think they are necessary. A camera can be a great help but it needs to be marine grade. If you’re using a home security camera it may not be up to task. Especially if you use your boat in saltwater. They just can’t handle the harsh conditions.
Cameras can offer more than just security. A camera to monitor your engine room, for instance, isn’t about deterring thieves. This is to ensure the smooth and safe running of your vessel. So it’s worth considering what you can get the most benefit from.
Are Wireless Boat Security Systems Best?
Cheap wireless technology has scared off a lot of people in the past. Bad signal strength and spotty performance may have made you afraid to trust in wireless. Make sure you’re buying quality products and you should see their performance is definitely up to snuff. Wireless is often of great importance on a boat. The fewer wires you have around the better. Most systems will require hardwiring into the power source. But after that, cameras and sensors that work wirelessly are a great feature. Not only do they mean less clutter, they are easier to place. If you need to move things around, doing so without the burden of wires is a consideration to keep in mind.
In terms of power supply, always make sure you know how the system needs to be wired. Basic boat electrical work doesn’t have to be hard but it can be challenging. Most systems should be compatible with the power supply on your vessel but double check. This is especially true if you’re buying a system manufactured in another country. Power needs and connections may not be what you’re expecting.
A security system can potentially offer numerous features. Decide on which ones work bets for you depending on the needs and challenges you’re dealing with. For instance, a loud siren may not be the most helpful feature if no one is anywhere near where your boat is docked. If no one can hear an alarm, it doesn’t do much good.
Likewise, motion detectors can be a great help but they may need to be adjusted. If your boat starts moving in the waves, you don’t want the security system to go off every time this happens. Make sure you’re getting a system that has some flexibility. You want to be able to adjust your motion sensors, not just in terms of installation location but sensitivity.
Systems that don’t just set off sounds but lights are also a good idea. Sometimes an alarm can be disabled fairly quickly if someone sees where it is and tears out a wire or knocks it down. But when a security system is also linked to the lights, it’s harder to deal with. Plus it makes your boat even more noticeable while exposing potential thieves.
Gone are the days of just replying on a camera to record the scene to a VCR or an alarm that blares mindlessly. Nowadays, any good security system should be able to connect over a network as long as you have an internet connection. That means you should be able to use an app of some kind to link your system with your phone, tablet or computer. These allow greater peace of mind because you can monitor what’s going on in real time and even make adjustments for some systems.
Most people don’t look at security as a before and after, but you should. An alarm is a great “before” security device, but tracking is good for after. If the alarm is disable or otherwise doesn’t manage to scare off a thief, then your boat can be stolen. Once it’s taken, you need to focus on the “after.” That’s where tracking comes in. Just because a thief got your boat doesn’t mean it can’t be saved.
Tracking devices can be discreet and offer accurate, rapid tracking using GPS. This information can help you track a boat with your cell phone whether it was stolen by a thief or even if it’s just out late. If a friend or relative is out longer than they should be, a tracker can be invaluable in figuring out where they’ve gone. And if a thief has the boat, the tracker data can be given to law enforcement or harbor patrol.
The Bottom Line
Security systems can let you keep track of your boat, its systems, and its location. They can prevent thefts and help retrieve stolen property. In the end they’re about securing your vessel and ensuring you get to keep enjoying it. Do you need a security system? No. But we definitely think you should invest in one all the same.