Florida Highest In Nation for Boat Thefts, Report Says

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recently published a nationwide report on watercraft theft and recoveries. The results might make Florida residents want to take action to protect their boats, as the report found that Florida led the nation with the highest number of thefts during 2011.

For the report, the NICB looked at data from the National Crime Information Center database containing records of watercraft theft. The overall rate of watercraft thefts declined by 9% nationwide in 2011, however, Florida was the state with the highest number of watercraft reported stolen at 1,322. California was a distant second at 550-surprising since California almost has twice the population of Florida.

Nationwide, the types of boats that were most likely to be reported stolen were those in the “Jet Ski” category-1,219 thefts. These types of watercraft were followed in descending order by runabout (992), utility (437), cruisers (255) and sailboats (60). The report found that it is during the warmer weather months that the rate of thefts typically increase. June had the highest number of reported thefts, while December had the lowest.

Protecting Your Boat

If kept on residential property, many homeowners’ insurance policies will at least partially cover the theft of the boat. However, to protect against the boat being stolen while on the water or while off the homeowner’s premises, it is a good idea to purchase boat or watercraft insurance separately.

In order to keep your watercraft safe from theft (and avoid having to make an insurance claim), the NICB recommends that boat owners:

• Secure their boats with a steel cable and lock when docking the boat

• Lock detachable motors to the boat

• Remove batteries and disable fuel lines during periods if there will be a longer period where the boat will not be used

• Use a trailer hitch lock when parking a boat on a trailer

• Avoid leaving the title or registration papers in the watercraft

Source: Insurance Journal, “Florida Tops the List of States With Most Watercraft Thefts: NICB,” August 3, 2012

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