Constabulary-branded replacement engine cowlings hope to stop outboard thefts

Cumbria Constabulary has launched a new crime prevention initiative to tackle the growing problem of thefts from boats in the south of the county.

After a number of outboard engines were stolen in the area last year, South Lakeland’s Marine officer, working in partnership with South Lakeland District Council and South Lakeland Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, has sourced specially designed waterproof outboard engine covers to make the engines less desirable to thieves.

The covers will be sold as part of a new initiative, dubbed Marine Watch, which aims to provide boat owners with a simple, effective and affordable way to deter thieves and help avoid falling victim to crime.

Designed to reduce the numbers of thefts from boats in the South Lakes, Marine Watch will see officers carrying out high visibility patrols of designated areas around Lake Windermere and conducting random stop checks of vehicles and groups of campers in close vicinity. Police will also be actively delivering crime prevention advice to boat owners in key locations.

PC Graeme Woodman, South Cumbria’s marine officer said: “The idea behind this initiative is to equip boat owners with a simple way of protecting their outboard engines so that they can work alongside us and help avoid the heartache of becoming a victim of crime.

 “Over the past two years, almost 80 per cent of marine crime in South Lakeland related to the theft of outboard motors and due to location of these types of crime and the time it can take for boat owners to report them, detecting them can be very difficult. By proactively launching initiatives like this, we hope to go some way to deter offenders and work alongside responsible owners to reduce thefts from boats in the area.

“We know that thieves are attracted to outboard engines because they’re relatively easy to detach and sell on, but when the cowling is replaced by Cumbria Constabulary-branded covers they become useless and their resale value plummets. The engine can’t be used when the cover is in place due to the heat the engine generates, so the thief is faced with the prospect of spending up to £200 for a new cowling before being able to use it.

“The scheme has been incredibly successful in other force areas. In Essex, 53 outboard engines were stolen last year but after introducing similar covers, not one single engine that had been fitted with a cover has been stolen.

There covers come in three sizes and fit under 10 HP outboards (£13.25), 10 HP – 40HP (£14) and 40HP – 90HP (£35). To buy a cover or find out more about the scheme, visit the Marine Watch pages of or pop into the Lake Wardens office in Windermere.

Anyone who falls victim to or witnesses acts of boat theft is asked to contact Cumbria police on 0845 33 00 247.