Boat Thefts in the U.S. - 2011

Jul 30, 2012, 06:00 ET from National Insurance Crime Bureau

NICB Reports Nine Percent Decline from 2010

DES PLAINES, Ill., July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its latest report on boat theft and recoveries in the United States.  The report examines watercraft* reported stolen between January 1 and December 31, 2011. 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 6,070 watercraft thefts reported during the period.  That is a nine percent decrease from the 6,663 thefts reported in 2010.

Florida led the states with the most thefts (1,322**) followed by, in descending order, California (550), Texas (437), Washington (224) and North Carolina (205).  One state—Hawaii—did not have a single reported boat theft in 2011.

The top five boat types were led by the "Jet Ski" category which recorded the most thefts (1,219). It was followed, in descending order, by runabout (992), utility (437), cruiser (255) and sailboat (60).

The top five manufacturers in watercraft thefts are:  Yamaha (537), Bombardier Corporation (522), Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing (196), Alumacraft Boat Company (148) and Bayliner Marine (129).

The month of June saw the highest number of reported thefts—792 and December had the fewest—281.  While thefts were reported each day, Friday saw the most with an average of 940 thefts. Wednesday was the slowest day for thefts with an average of 809.

You can download the complete report, including recovery statistics, here.

Although the boating season is nearing its summer peak, many states have year round seasons and owners need to practice safe and smart boating, which includes personal safety while on the water, as well as theft prevention. 

NICB recommends the following tips to help 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

Consumers can find more useful information by visiting the NICB Web site and reviewing our library of valuable theft and fraud awareness information.  It's free and it just might help prevent you from falling victim to theft or fraud scams.

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 over $339 billion in insurance premiums in 2011, or approximately 80 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance.  That includes more than 94 percent ($156 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit

*watercraft types as described in the NCIC code manual:

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
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 (type of boat), etc.
All other – canoe, dinghy, dory, johnboat, kayak, lifeboat, paddleboat, rowboat, skull, skiff, etc.

**numbers in parentheses are theft totals

SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau