A young Keilor family is appealing for the return of its much-loved boat.

Jay Monaghan said he awoke on Sunday, July 29, to make the devastating discovery.

“It was certainly a nasty shock,” he said. “Basically, they came around at about 2.30 in the morning while we were all in bed and took it.

“We’ve got three boys – aged nine, eight and five – and they’re absolutely shattered that the boat is gone. It’s also left them a bit scared – they hear about the bad people in the world, but when they come to your doorstep it affects them.”

The residence was fitted with security cameras that captured the theft, which Mr Monaghan said appeared to be planned.

“We had a trailer lock, but it looks as though that may have been cut at some stage during the day and they’ve come back at night to take it.

“They were in and out in about three minutes, so it looks as though it’s been pre-prepared.”

The tapes have been handed to police, but Mr Monaghan is calling on members of the public to keep their eyes peeled.

“It’s a pretty distinctive boat,” he said. “It’s got purple stickering on the side and is named Jakel.”

While the boat is covered by insurance, Mr Monaghan said there were some things money can’t replace.

“The boat is about 12 years old – it’s only done about 100 hours so it’s done the workload of a three-year old boat,” he said.

“My wife and I bought it before we had our three children. They’re at the age where they were starting to get into it and get some use out of it. We’ll get market value for it, but there’s a huge sentimental side to it and that’s something money can’t replace.”