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Jet-Ski Boats Most Favored Among Thieves: New NICB Report

August 6, 2013

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has released its latest report on boat theft and recoveries in the United States. The report examines watercraft reported stolen between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. The report draws from data contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Extracts follow:

Overall, there were 5,870 watercraft thefts reported during the period, which is a 3 percent decrease from the 6,070 thefts reported in 2011.

The top five states for thefts were identical in rank order to the previous report. Florida led with 1,408 thefts followed by, in descending order, California (605), Texas (403), Washington (214) and North Carolina (184). Hawaii and Wyoming each reported one theft while the District of Columbia had none.

Also repeating in identical order were the top-five boat types for theft. In first place was the "Jet Ski" category, which recorded 1,373 thefts. It was followed by, in descending order, runabout (937), utility (360), cruiser (251) and sailboat (42).

On average, there were 16 watercraft thefts per day, 112 per week, or 489 per month in 2012. But the most theft activity occurs, as expected, during the spring and summer months. July saw the highest number of reported thefts (739) and February had the fewest (273). Most thefts were reported on Fridays (932) with the fewest being reported on Thursdays (764).

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

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