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Bill Babler

Table Rock Lake Dock Slip Primer

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Age old topic, If you have it someone else wants it. It is a lot easier to steal than work for and if big boy toys are left unattended for extended periods of time they will be taken, or vandalized.

On our Missouri and Arkansas waterways, this dock theft has been going on since the impoundments were first filled. 50's and 60's theft from docks then and now. Seems to run in spurts. Mostly during Winter and Late Fall from just before Christmans on to May.

Fewer people on the water.

A few years ago when Shell Knob was being hit hard, a Stone County deputy that took my theft report visited me for a while and here is what he said.

You will not like it but this is reality.

First off, congratulations on owning a boat slip. What that does is give private access to a public faculity and allows you and your family an easy way to enjoy the water. First you can go to the dock and swim. Second you can keep your boat there and not have to launch and relaunch everyday you are on vacation, or while you are here.

Buying a boat dock or a slip in a community dock is like a farmer buying a cow. That initial cost is just the tip of the iceburg. There are monthly fees, insurance, maintenance, damage and theft. All this ammounts to additional thousands of dollars for the owner, or owners.

Slips are also like commodities, their value rises and falls with the economy. Because you gave $20,000.00 for it yesterday, don't for a second believe that it is what it is worth today. A slip is a luxury, and nothing more. Like all luxuries, they come with a hefty price tag.

Now for the Rat Killin.

Do not Winter your boat unattended on Table Rock Lake

Winter boats in a locked storage faculity or at your home garage

If you are going to leave you boat in a slip for an extended period of time a Stone County deputy told me this is what they tell people.

Put boat in the Slip with a minimal ammount of fuel. "This is contrary to what a mechanic will tell you, as they want the tank full to cut down of condensation."

Remove your propeller

Remove your batteries

Remove all electronics

Remove everything from the boat

Do not cover your boat or lock your boxes

Leave it open and accessable, so a potential thief can look thru it without slitting your cover or breaking open your lockers.

Well lit docks have not been a deterent. Now with a great portion of docks floating away from the shoreline and the water in the trees behind the docks, it has made the viewing even harder.

He also told me if you have one thieft it is on the bad guys as far as the insurance companines are concerned. If you have a second, quite possibly it is on you. Locking your boat and covering it is not a preventive measure once you have had a claim for the same type of incident.

Lets hope this year this is a one of a kind incident, but for cripes sakes, do not make it easy for these thives, don't leave your stuff.

Good Luck

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The Mrs and I think about getting a slip somewhere and discuss it almost every spring. It seems a lot faster just putting the boat in and out instead of hauling gas and removing everything from the boat each time.

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I've never used a slip except for a few times we've stayed at resorts and a slip for my boat was part of the deal. After hearing about all the stealing going on, I may quit doing that. Also, I've run my boat in an empty dock slip on rare occasions when I get caught out in a dangerous thunderstorm. I've always hoped most dock owners would be understanding when you're taking shelter for a short time from a real frog-strangler. I've never had trouble with any dock owner so far, and I'm careful to respect their property.

What surprises me in fishing around Tablerock docks is how many people leave their boats and motors in the water for a LONG time, just letting them ruin. There's lots of green moss and scum on the motors and around the waterlines of boats that haven't been moved in about forever. You'd think if the owners aren't using them, they'd take them out of the water and get them under a roof somewhere.

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