A HARBOUR will be the first to mark all of its boats with a invisible anti-theft paint.
Around 4,000 boat owners will be given a tube of SmartWater, which contains a unique set of chemicals and glows brightly under UV light.
The liquid is waterproof and makes stealing much harder to get away with as police can shine UV torches on equipment to instantly know if it has been stolen.
Not only that, the chemicals contain a unique set of numbers which can be determined in a lab and linked back to the original tube, meaning that stolen items can be returned to owners.
Harbour Master at the River Hamble, David Evans, said: ‘It’s not a particular crime hot spot here..
‘But we want to make sure it stays as crime-free as possible.
‘To do that we will be issuing all boat owners with a free SmartWater kit.
‘The main point of this scheme is to act as a deterrent.’
Guy Nicholls, a businessman from Warsash, was a victim of crime on the River Hamble last spring when he had an outboard worth £500 stolen from his yacht.
He was one of the first to pick up his SmartWater kit and will be painting it on all his equipment.
Mr Nicholls, 46, said: ‘I think it’s an excellent initiative.
‘If the theives around here know that everything on the river is protected and can be identified, then they would have to be pretty daft to take something.’
SmartWater is guaranteed to work for at least five years in the toughest conditions and can be applied to anything.
Dave Reynolds, from SmartWater, said: ‘The solution carries a forensic code, which is kept on our database with the details of the owner and that gives the police something to work from.’
Police Sergeant George White and PC Mark Arnold launched Project Kraken last year to tackle crime on the River Hamble.
She said that the area was not significantly high in crime.
But she added ‘there’s always something we can do to make sure it is even safer’.
The scheme will cost around £50,000, which has been raised through harbour duty fees.
Chairman of the River Hamble Board Cllr Keith Evans welcomed the scheme.
He said: ‘Word will get out that if you do steal, you will get caught, and that’s a great message.’