There’s nothing quite like taking your boat out on the water, but what happens if you’ve lost the key you need to start it? Can you use a key from a different boat?
Let’s start with the fact that boat keys are not universal. You can probably use the same key as someone who owns a boat of the same model, but different brand keys won’t work on just any boat.
This means if you don’t have a spare key, you’re going to need to make another plan to get back out on the water.
What to Do If You Lose Your Boat Key
Find the Identification Number
If you were lucky enough to make a note of your key’s identification number, this process is already going to be a little easier.
If you don’t have the number handy, another option is to unscrew the ignition switch – the number will be located inside.
You can now contact your boat dealer so that they can order a new key for you. Depending on the boat, this could take a few days to several weeks.
Another option is to try out different keys that might be lying around in your boat to see if they can start the vessel. Just keep in mind that this could end up damaging the ignition, so it’s not recommended. You should only attempt to turn a key in the ignition if it fits well.
Contact a Local Locksmith
If you don’t want to wait around for your new key to arrive, you can always contact a local locksmith. Having the key’s ID number makes it much easier for a locksmith to assist you with a new boat key. However, in most instances, it is also possible to recreate a key using the ignition, it just takes a bit longer.
You should also be prepared to pay for a locksmith to come out to you. On the plus side, most locksmiths are available 24/7, giving you more options in terms of timing.
Make sure that the locksmith you contact actually specializes in boats. This will give you added peace of mind that they can assist you without damaging the ignition.
Change the Ignition Switch
Your final option is to change out the entire ignition switch, which will leave you with new keys too. This does mean that you will need to contact your boat dealer and get them to come out to you though. The ignition switch can be swapped out in about 30 minutes, but you will still need to wait for someone to reach you.
Losing your boat key is not the end of the world but you will need to make a few phone calls before you can get back out on the water.
Once you do have a new key, make a point of making a copy and keeping it in a secure location so that you don’t run into the same issue in the future.