The Covid-19 pandemic caused a spike in demand for boats almost as soon as the lockdowns started to ease. But the pandemic has not been the only cause for the surge in demand for boats. Catastrophic hurricanes in the recent past have also impacted demand, as damaged boats flood the market and boat owners cash insurance checks. Unsurprisingly, that spike in demand has also caused a spike in the number of boat fraud reports.
In fact, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, “Boat theft and fraud costs owners and insurance companies millions of dollars every year.” The four largest hurricanes over the past 10 years resulted in almost 200,000 damaged or destroyed boats, many of which ended up back on the market without any damage disclosures and sold to unsuspecting boat buyers with “clean” titles.
The increased demand, lack of inventory, and substantial number of damaged boats being resold creates the perfect storm for fraud because only five states currently issue boat titles that describe any previous damage while all other states issue titles (or in some cases no titles at all) for boats regardless of the boat’s history.
In a recent study, Boat History Report found that 36% of boats being sold on Craigslist were listed with “clean titles” despite having undisclosed damaged history, with 19% of those having been purchased from a salvage auction within the previous six months.
Since Boat History Report is like Carfax or Autocheck for boats, private used boat buyers aren’t the only ones that use it. According to Jani Gyllenberg of Marine Connection, “Boat History Report gives our customers peace of mind when purchasing used boats from us. It’s a valuable tool we use to make sure the pre-owned boats we buy or take in on trade have no hidden pasts.”
That’s exactly why company Founder and CEO Grant Brooks created Boat History Report. “We believe in transparency. Our service gives potential buyers an extra level of protection and peace of mind because we’re able to pull verified information from our database of over 120 million records that is composed of hundreds of public and private nationwide data sources,” he says.
According to Brooks, 1 in 17 used boats on the market has suffered some sort of damage, so it’s imperative to know the history of the boat before you buy it. And knowing that the boat you want to buy isn’t the 1 in 17 can potentially save you a ton of time, aggravation, and most of all money.