It’s surprising that most trolling motors don’t have built-in locks to secure to the boat. The thumbscrews that are used to tighten the long bolts onto your boat are exposed for anyone to unscrew and carry your motor away.
Some trolling motors don’t even have proper mounting brackets included, which is why I have included a couple of mounting bracket options in this article as well. Mounting brackets are really useful in locking down your trolling motor.
Any amount of locks won’t stop a determined thief, so if you can, detach your motor every time you’re done using it to store it in your garage.
If you’re out camping, detach the trolling motor and keep it close by wherever you’re sleeping that night. In your cabin, tent, or your vehicle even.
If you can’t detach the motor, you can take the following steps to keep your trolling motor a little bit safer from criminals or at least slow them down or make them move on to an easier crime.
First of all, you should be using a weatherproof padlock instead of the cotter pin included to secure the motor to the mounting bracket. You should also use a padlock to secure the two clamps that have holes in them.
There are also at least one or two cover-locks that will cover up the thumbscrews so that only you can access them. A good quality release bracket will help in securing your trolling motor because you can lock them down.
Let’s go over these in more detail.
Last update on 2023-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Top 7 Locks For Trolling Motor
MinnKota MKA-41 Trolling Motor Lock
This lock is for electric trolling motors only. It is not suitable for any bow mount motors.
These trolling motor locks are specifically designed to lock your motor in place and prevent anyone from unscrewing it and carrying it away. This lock is suitable for Minn Kota, and water snake transom mount motors.
You just need to secure this trolling lock around the two thumbscrews and bolts and then lock it in place, covering up any access to the thumbscrews.
This model has a rattle proof lining to keep it steady and quietly in place. It also has a failsafe locking system that won’t allow you to remove the key unless the lock is in the locked position.
This is a perfect first line of protection.
Marinetech Outboard Motor Lock
This is another variation of the troller lock above. Blocking access from anyone trying to unscrew your motor mounting bolts.
The steel bar is vinyl coated and made of heavy gauge steel to prevent prying open. The lock that comes with this shield bar is made of brass to protect it from erosion. The shackle lock moves into the bar making it more difficult to tamper with.
The lock is designed so that it can only lock in one position. One leg is longer than the other. There are dampening strips included for a snug fit, decreasing any rattling.
MinnKota MKA-21 Bracket
This mounting bracket is suitable for both Terrova and PD motors.
The top piece of the bracket is mounted onto the bottom of your trolling motor. The bottom piece of this bracket is mounted onto the deck of your boat so that you can drop the motor into the bracket for a perfect fit.
Once you have installed this mounting bracket, you should use a padlock of your choice to secure it in place. There is a locking handle with stainless steel pins for you to attach the padlock to.
This trolling motor lock has a composite construction that is resistant to corrosion, rust, and discoloration.
It’s compatible with Ulterra, PowerDrive Pontoon, PowerDrive, Terrova, PowerDrive V2, and DeckHand 40. This bracket is not suitable for 72″ shaft length motors.
The dimensions of this bracket are 16 x 8 x 1.5 inches.
MinnKota MKA-16-03 AP/PD Bracket
Here is another type of mounting bracket used to lock your trolling motor onto your boat with the added convenience of a quick-release after you unlock your padlock.
This is made of solid, anodized aluminum for tough protection and for corrosion resistance.
You can also drill in extra holes for you to attach extra padlocks if you feel comfortable doing so.
The dimensions of this bracket are 14.8 x 9.1 x 1.4 inches.
DuraSafe Bow Mount Lock
This is a trolling motor lock for a MinnKota Edge motor.
It basically replaces your factory turn knob on your motor bracket, which allows you to remove the motor from the mount with a locking type knob.
After screwing this locking knob firmly down, use the key to lock it into place. The knob used to turn the threaded bolt will now be detached from the bolt so that turning the knob doesn’t result in any tightening or untightening.
It’s made with marine-grade materials for longevity and has a stainless steel shutter to seal out dirt and moisture. These locks are compact and very easy to install. The lock uses a reversible key for easy insertion.
DuraSafe has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing locks for marine equipment and proudly manufactures most of its products in the United States.
The thread size is 3/8-16 X7/8″.
Master Lock Padlock
Padlock To Secure Motor To Mounting Bracket
If your mounting bracket has two holes lined up with each other for a cotter pin to hold in place, rather use a padlock to lock it together for extra protection.
Just check your bracket hole size before selecting your specific padlock.
You also should have two clamps at the end of the bolts that you screw in to secure your motor to the boat. Those two clamps should have holes in them where you can run a padlock through to hold in place.
Start by holding the lock upside down and then run the bolt upwards through the first hole. Now locate the other clamp hole and run the bolt through that hole moving downwards. Lock the padlock once you have run it through both holes. This should prevent thieves from unscrewing your motor.
You will need to use weatherproof locks for anything going on a boat. Also, remember to always apply lubrication to any new lock you purchase to extend the life by many years.
Trimax Steel 8-Feet Trimaflex Dual Loop
Depending on what type of boat you have, this lock may or may not work for you.
If you have a boat that has anything you can securely loop this cable lock around, it can work for you.
Run this cable through the frame of your trolling motor and then through your boat.
Lock the cable in place with a padlock of your choice so that the motor cant be removed from the boat.
Conclusion: Trolling Motor Locks
Using as many of the methods above as possible will be your best bet in locking down your trolling motor to your boat.
For ultimate protection, use the shield-locks to block off the thumbscrews from being unscrewed. Make sure to use a mounting bracket so that you can lock it down with a padlock.
Using a DuraSafe bow mount lock, replace your factory issued turn knob with a locking turn knob.
Lastly, if you have the means to do so, run a cable through the frame of your boat and the frame of your trolling motor to lock the trolling motor to your boat securely.
Some people have managed to bolt down their trolling motors onto their boat in a permanent type of way. Grinding down the bolts and nuts after tightening to makes it all the more difficult to remove.
These techniques can certainly deter thieves and make them move on to easier opportunities. Still, unfortunately, there is no certain way to keep determined thieves from stealing your expensive trolling motor.
If the motor is small enough to detach and carry away with you whenever you leave your boat, just do it.
Even if it’s a pain, your trolling motor is less likely to be stolen from your garage than if it were outside with a few locks attached.
If you’re out at a camping facility, take the trolling motor off the boat and store it wherever you will be sleeping or even inside your locked vehicle for the night.