Choosing the Best Locks and Lock Types for Securing Your New Boathouse

Building a boathouse on your waterside property is one of the most effective ways to protect your watercraft from the elements, as well as the attentions of boat thieves and vandals. However, any boathouse is only as secure as the locks you use to secure its doors and windows, and choosing cheap, easily bypassed security systems will leave your boats almost as vulnerable as they would be out in the open.

Fortunately, professional locksmith services can supply you with both the locks you need to secure your boathouse and the tools and experience necessary to install them in the most effective way. You have a number of lock types to choose from when it comes to securing a boathouse, but the following lock types are some of the most effective for boathouse security:


Deadbolts are simple locks, consisting of a sturdy metal bar that slides across a door or window to hold it in place when locked. They have been used in one form or another for centuries, but a properly chosen and installed deadbolt provides security rivalling that of more sophisticated (and expensive) lock types. 

Single-cylinder deadbolts, which do not need a key or combination to be unlocked from the inside, should not be installed on doors your boathouse has windows since an intruder can simply break a window and unbolt the door from the inside. For more security, choose a keyed double deadbolt that needs to be unlocked with the right key from both sides. If your boathouse has electrical power, an electronic deadbolt featuring a digital combination lock can be extremely secure, as long as it is professionally installed by a reputable locksmith.

However, deadbolts are less useful if your boathouse is made from relatively flimsy materials, such as vinyl plastic or aged timber. A deadbolt is only as strong as the material the bolt slots into when locked, and a strong deadbolt fitted to a weak wall can be broken through relatively easily.


The lock of choice for many shed owners, a good quality padlock can be just as useful for securing a boathouse door or window. If you opt for padlocks, make sure you choose a model that does not have an exposed shackle (the curved metal bar that hooks through a door or window latch.) Padlocks with exposed shackles can be bypassed using bolt cutters relatively quickly.

If you want to install multiple padlocks on your boathouse's doors and windows, you can beef up your security measures by making sure each padlock needs a different key to open. If you obtain your padlocks from a locksmith, you have the option of choosing padlocks that take different keys but can all be unlocked by the same 'master' key. This can be more convenient, but keeping your master key in a safe, secure location is vital.

Rim locks

Rim locks are another type of lock that has been used for hundreds of years and are made up of a sliding latch attached to the surface of a door or window that slides across the opening edge of the door or window to secure it. They are similar in function to deadbolts but are generally cheaper and easier to install.

Rim locks are reasonably secure but are more vulnerable to physical force than other lock types. This makes them largely unsuitable for securing doors, but they are ideal for securing boathouse windows, which are more difficult to force without shattering the glass and badly injuring the intruder. The simplicity of rim locks means they are easier for DIYers to install themselves, but you should still consult a locksmith on the best rim lock brands to use and the most effective locations they can be installed in.