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Boat theft prevention forum held in Naples

Posted at 7:09 PM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 19:09:51-04

The Collier County Sheriff's Office hosted a forum Thursday to discuss boat theft prevention tips with private boat owners, and business owners who make their living on the water.

Over the years, thieves have targeted boats docked in Naples and other Southwest Florida communities, stealing propellers, engines and electronics - and sometimes the entire boat. 

"It's probably something that's not going to stop," said Sgt. Brian Sawyer, a crime prevention specialist with CCSO. "If you've got a boat at a marina, you may want to consider a GPS or some ignition-killing device, so somebody can't just get in and take your boat."

He said security cameras are an obvious way to catch thieves, but that it's important to place cameras where they'll be effective.

"If they're straight overhead and you can only see the top of somebody's head, it does little good in identifying who that person might be," Sawyer said.

For those who keep their boats on a trailer, he said locking mechanisms on the wheels are a must-have.

"They could prevent somebody from just pulling a vehicle up and taking the trailer from the yard," Sawyer said.

Sawyer also recommends permanently marking all boat electronics with the boat owner's driver's license number, and taking pictures of the boat and all major equipment on board to help identify it if stolen.

The forum was held at the Collier County Sheriff's Office training center near Gulfview Middle School, and was held in conjunction with the Naples and Marco Island Police Departments, as well as Florida Fish and Wildlife.