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Report: Florida is top state for watercraft thefts

Posted at 5:53 AM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 06:47:37-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- There’s a new report showing Florida is the top state when it comes to watercraft theft. That includes everything from sailboats to jet skis.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, about 4,500 were stolen in the U.S. in 2018 and 25% of them happened in Florida.

Between 14 and 42 watercrafts were reported stolen in Charlotte and Collier counties in 2018.

Across state, there were more than 1,100 thefts, a few of those thefts were yachts.

NICB said Florida has the most in the country by far and California was second on the list but it was far behind with about 480 stolen.

The top five watercraft stolen were jet skis, sailboats, runabouts, utility and cruisers.

Furthermore, a list of top 10 cities for watercraft thefts showed that Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa were hot spots coming in at number one, two and three.

The reports said most of the thefts occurred in the months June, July and August.

Plus, a lot of thefts happened on holidays. Labor Day, Independence Day and New Year’s Day were the top 3.

However, there’s some good news. Florida had a 35% recovery rate, meaning almost 400 watercrafts were returned to the rightful owner.

NICB suggests boat owners should use preventive methods to protect their watercrafts.

Here is a list of prevention methods:

-Dock your craft in well-lit areas.

-Secure your boat to the dock with a locked steel cable.

-Remove expensive equipment from your boat when not in use.

-Lock the boat’s cabin, doors, and windows when not in use.

-Remove registration or title papers in the craft.

-Disable the boat when not in use by shutting off fuel lines and removing the battery or distributor cap.

-Install an alarm system and a kill switch in the ignition system.

-Use a trailer hitch lock after parking a boat on its trailer.

-Park your trailer in a locked garage, secured boat storage facility, or a well-lit, fenced area.

-Ensure your marine insurance policy includes your equipment, boat, and trailer.

Boaters are also urged to take photos of the watercraft, and make sure they are marked with a hull identification number, which helps law enforcement with recovery efforts.