NICB: Watercraft Theft Report | Thefts down six percent from previous years

DES PLAINES, Ill., June 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The National Insurance Crime Bureau today released its 2019 watercraft theft report. The report, based on theft data contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, revealed that there was a total of 4,240 thefts in 2019—a decrease of 6% from 2018.

NICB recommends the following tips to protect your watercraft from theft:

  • When you “dock it, lock it” and secure it to the dock with a steel cable
  • Remove expensive equipment when not in use
  • Chain and lock detachable motors to the boat
  • Do not leave title or registration papers in the craft
  • Disable the craft by shutting fuel lines or removing batteries
  • Use a trailer hitch lock after parking a boat on its trailer
  • Install a kill switch in the ignition system 
  • Ensure your marine insurance policy includes your equipment, boat and trailer
  • Take photos of the boat and mark it with a Hull Identification Number (HIN)
  • Learn about HIN cloning and how it affects you
Prevent boat theft with these tips

The top five states for thefts in descending order were:

StateTheftsRecovery Rate
4North Carolina19337%
5South Carolina14742%

No thefts were reported from Hawaii in 2019.

The top five cities for thefts in descending order were:

CityTheftsRecovery Rate
1Fort Lauderdale, Fla.4335%
2Sacramento, Calif.3949%
3Tampa, Fla.3551%
4San Diego, Calif.3465%
5Miami, Fla.3339%

The top five types of watercraft stolen in descending order were:

Watercraft Type*TheftsRecovery Rate
1Personal Watercraft1,04933%

The top five manufacturers for watercraft thefts in descending order were:

ManufacturerTheftsRecovery Rate
1Yamaha Motor Corp., USA46733%
3Bombardier Corp.**15532%
4Kawasaki Motors Mfg.10037%
5Tracker Marine LP7242%

Most thefts in 2019 occurred during the months of July (543), June (517) and May (483). December logged the fewest thefts with 205.

With the boating season upon us, boat owners are reminded to practice safe and smart boating. That includes personal safety while on the water, as well as theft prevention.

* Described below are the 13 watercraft types as found in the NCIC code manual, one of which is “Jet Ski”—NCIC’s universal name for all personal watercraft without regard to manufacturer. Jet Ski is also the registered trademark for Kawasaki Motor Corporation’s line of personal watercraft.

  • Airboat: not defined
  • Commercial: ferry, oyster boat, motor barge, towboat, tug, clam dredge, coaster, riverboat, smack boat, etc.
  • Cruiser: a boat with an inboard motor that is at least 25 feet long, but no longer than 50 feet
  • Houseboat: not defined
  • Hovercraft: not defined
  • Hydrofoil: not defined
  • Hydroplane: not defined
  • Jet-Ski (PWC): aqua bike
  • Runabout: launch, motorboat, outrider, speedboat, etc.
  • Sailboat: cat, catamaran, cutter, bark, ketch, lateen, lugger, pinnace, schooner, sloop, yawl, etc.
  • Utility: fisherman, sedan, etc.
  • Yacht: a boat with an inboard motor that is more than 50 feet long and is used mainly for pleasure or recreation
  • All other: canoe, dinghy, dory, johnboat, kayak, lifeboat, paddleboat, rowboat, skull, skiff, etc.

**In 2003, Bombardier Corp. sold off its recreational products division. The Sea-Doo personal watercraft is now produced by Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. Thus, the 155 thefts would include pre-2003 models.

REPORT FRAUD:Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form  on their website.

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