Cutting Boat Keys By Code

Reed code books began being printed in the 1930s. Some locksmiths may still have the original leather-bound volumes. The general code book was bound with a black cover while the padlock book had a brown cover. Many of the code series listed in those old books are still in use today. At the same time, thousands of new series have been collected resulting currently in 15 volumes of Reed codes with approximately 5,000 code series available.

Making keys by code has always been an accepted job for locksmiths. Recently, however, the internet has become a prime location for people who are selling keys by code. One website actually warns customers not to buy keys by code from local locksmiths because the internet seller has the ‘original’ keys. In most cases, coded keys sold on the internet are for tool boxes, pickup truck caps, RV locks, motorcycles, construction equipment and boats.

An area of interest at this time of year is boat keys. One internet site lists several different boat key series which they stock. The location of this company happened to be a few miles from our office, so I paid a visit to their store. They primarily sell boats and accessories but they did have a sizeable keyboard filled with precut boat keys. They charge $9.88 for any boat key on their keyboard.

If you Google “key by code” on the internet, you will find two or three commercial companies specializing exclusively in furnishing desk keys and locks. You will also find a few enterprising locksmith companies who are offering coded keys by mail. Armed with a good code machine, Reed code books, a group of the most popular key blanks and an internet site, you too could be selling $10 keys on the internet.

Our chart shows the most popular boat keys in use today. Note: all key blanks shown are Ilco blanks except when noted as Blue Dog. Contact your local locksmith distributor for Ilco key blanks or / 407-774-0100 for Blue Dog key blanks.