Watercraft Thefts Sink by 6 Percent in 2013

DES PLAINES, Ill., May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 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.

Download the watercraft report and an infographic.

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

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote $371 billion in insurance premiums in 2013, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($168 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.

*watercraft types as described in the NCIC code manual:

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: 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 in length 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 jet ski is now produced by Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. However, the NCIC manufacturer data has not yet been updated to reflect that change. In this report, there are 522 theft records that identify Bombardier Corp.—247 of which were for model years 2003‒2014 and would be more accurately identified as manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc.

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SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau



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