With summer and boating season just around the corner, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its latest report on watercraft theft and recoveries in the United States. The report examines watercraft reported stolen between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2013. The report draws from data contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Overall, there were 5,537 watercraft thefts reported during 2013, and that is a 6 percent decrease from the 5,870 thefts reported in 2012.
The top five states for thefts in descending order were: Florida (1,310), California (628), Texas (382), Washington (208) and Georgia (182). No watercraft thefts were reported from Hawaii and the District of Columbia.
The top five types of watercraft stolen in 2013 were in identical order to last year's report. In first place was the "Jet Ski" category, which recorded 1,215 thefts. It was followed by, in descending order, runabout (871), utility (363), cruiser (214) and sailboat (44).
The top five manufacturers for watercraft thefts are: Yamaha (555), Bombardier Corporation (522), Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing (166), Alumacraft Boat Company (114) and Tracker Marine LP (111).
On average, there were approximately 15 watercraft thefts per day, 106 per week, or 461 per month in 2013. Most thefts occurred during the spring and summer months with July recording the highest number with 691. February recorded the fewest with 260. Fridays saw the most thefts reported with 884, and the fewest were reported on Thursdays with 719.
Boat owners are reminded to practice safe and smart boating. That includes personal safety while on the water, as well as theft prevention.
NICB recommends reviewing the tips in our boat theft brochure 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