The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) advises new and current boat and Jet Ski owners to consider purchasing theft prevention devices and brushing up on some basic safety techniques to make sure their vessels stay right where they docked them
With an average of 775 watercraft and Jet Ski's stolen each month, theft costs boat owners and their insurance companies more than $40 million a year.
"Whether you own a motorboat, kayak, personal water craft or 40-foot wooden sailboat-make sure that your boat has the same level of protection as your car or truck," said Robert M. Bryant, President and CEO of National Insurance Crime Bureau. "The majority of watercraft stolen is under 20-feet in length and are never seen again by their owners," he added. "A few simple theft prevention devices could have kept them happily afloat." NICB recommends the following theft prevention guidelines that should leave boat thieves in your wake-guard against a fraudulent purchase, use common sense when disembarking the craft and keep up-to-date identification records.
Boat Fraud: Beware of the Sharks
Learn to recognize common fraud indicators.
-- If a watercraft is offered at a price below market value-be suspicious
-- When purchasing a boat, check that the Hull Identification Number (HIN) matches the HIN on the registration
Dock-It and Lock-It: Using Land Logic on Water
Thieves won't steal a watercraft if it takes too much time or creates too much noise.
-- Always dock in a well-lit area
-- Clearly identify and mark the vessel
-- Secure watercraft to the dock or buoy with a locked steel cable; detachable outboard motors also should be chained and locked to the boat
-- Always shut the engine off; never leave the keys in the boat when going ashore
-- Lock the craft's cabins, doors and windows when not in use
-- Equip the boat with alarms and activate them whenever leaving the craft
-- Disable the boat when docked for long periods by shutting off fuel lines, removing the battery or removing the distributor cap
Stranded with an Empty Dinghy: Keep Identification Records Current
Keep clear, up-to-date records on your watercraft and equipment.
-- Never leave registration, title or identification papers on the boat
-- Take photos or a video of the boat, including a close-up of the HIN
-- Record the serial numbers of all on-board electronics and equipment
By Bobby Boop