After a series of boat related crimes in Looe in 2007 Looe Boat Owners Association (LBOA) formed Looe Boatwatch. LBOA itself was formed in 2002 and is now well established in the town and surrounding area.This marine related crime prevention scheme was formed after consultation and in partnership with Devon and Cornwall Police. Since its formation Looe Boatwatch has successfully contributed to virtually no boat related crime over the past 6 years in the Looe area.Working in PartnershipDevon & Cornwall Police, Caradon District Council, Looe Fisherman’s Protection Association and Looe Boat Owners Association are working in partnership to tackle the problems of crime and anti-social behaviour occurring on the water in Looe. We regularly talk to other interested organisations, to ensure we are effectively targeting hotspots in Looe and working together to make boating safe and enjoyable.District and county councillors are aware of this initiative and are offering their full support to the scheme. Looe Harbour Commissioners are also fully supportive of the scheme as are Norman Pearn & Co, both of whom have placed Looe Boatwatch signs on their premises and around the quay.How does it Work?The principle of Boat Watch is really very simple; open communication between boat owners, the boating industry, partners and the police. To take part all you need to do is report every incident of crime and disorder you experience or witness on the waterways and display the Looe Boat Watch sticker(s), provided when you join, prominently in your boat.The more the police and partners know about crime happening on the waterways, the more resources will be applied to tackle and prevent it. Displaying the Boat Watch sticker shows potential thieves that boat owners in Looe are united in the fight against boat related crime.Looe Boat Owners Association (LBOA) initiative to launch Looe Boatwatch has been very successful. In its first full year boat related theft in the Looe area was reduced by approximately 70%. In the year before formation there were six thefts over the Summer Bank holiday and this year there were none.We believe that much of this success is due to about 20 Boatwatch signs being erected around the town and this acts as a preventative measure. Showing that there are no easy pickings in Looe and this sends potential thieves elsewhere.Patrols have proved effective. These are often carried out with members of Devon & Cornwall Police and raise the profile of the scheme. This is especially important at Bank Holiday weekends and act as a deterrent to boat thieves who often ‘sus’ out the area prior to thefts. Not being seen as a soft target makes these thieves go elsewhere.Our success is someone else’s misfortune; as there has been a marked increase in thefts in other parts of the region.Registry of MembersThere is a register of members. This is kept up to date and circulated to all members of the scheme. Members are urged to add the details of their boats, engines, outboards and electronics. The Devon & Cornwall police have a copy of the register and will use this when challenging any suspicious people around the boats or to enable them to contact boat owners if there has been an incident. We record engine makes, serial numbers and equipment and any other item you want to be recorded.What are the Benefits?In addition to having your boat and its equipment recorded you have the added assurance that your possessions stand less chance of being stolen. And if any boats or their equipment was subsequently recovered the police know who the owners are through the register so they may be returned to their rightful owner.Some boat insurance companies will offer a discount to individuals where there boat is being protected by a boat watch scheme.It also gives you access to a comprehensive list of boating related events and where help and guidance from other boat owners are freely available.How do I join?By joining LBOA you automatically become members of Looe Boatwatch. The details you provide when joining are added to a register of owner’s boats. We provide decals to fit on boats and guidance notes and processes on how to record incidents.How can I take part?We are always looking for help, especially on the patrols. If you would like to volunteer for just a 30 minute walk around the water, please contact the Looe Boatwatch Co-ordinator, Graham Mason on 01503 262 222 or send a message through our Contact Us pagePatrolsA schedule of patrols to cover the high risk periods is being drawn up and this will be distributed shortly. Guidelines for patrols have been produced which includes an indemnity which all patrol members need to sign.A log of patrols is kept and completed by patrol members and the police will have access to this log, making any suitable entries.We have sourced high visibility tabards with Looe Boat Watch enscribed and have high powered, rechargeable torches and a convenient place to store this equipment.CCTVFuture plans include linking into the Looe Harbour Commissioners CCTV network and Looe Town Council CCTV network. Further news on this shortly.Looe Boatwatch Wins AwardOur efforts have also been recognised by the Devon & Cornwall Community Watch Association (DaCCWA) from whom we have received a Certificate of Excellence for our commitment to reduce boat related thefts.We were also short listed into the six finalists for Scheme of the Year 2008.We were nominated and gained the same award the following year.Looe Boatwatch Spawns Additional Boat Watch SchemesThe success of Looe Boatwatch has not gone unnoticed in the area. A boat watch scheme has been created in Seaton/Downderry and another in Torpoint. Other schemes have been set up in Fowey and Polruan. We are in contact with these other groups and plan to meet in the winter to compare how we operate to see how we can work better together.The Looe Boatwatch scheme has attracted interest from police forces working in their own community from as far away as Nottingham where they hope to set up a similar scheme.