NICB Report Finds Watercrafts Thefts Decreased 13% in 2021 but the Recovery Rate Remained Steady at 42%

DES PLAINES, Ill., Aug. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As many Americans enjoy their remaining summer days on the water, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has some good news for watercraft owners. According to the latest NICB Vehicle Type Theft Report, the number of watercrafts stolen in 2021 decreased by 13%, dropping from 5,310 in 2020 to 4,644 last year. Florida led the nation with the highest number of watercraft thefts, totaling 791, followed by California with 671.

“Watercrafts are a significant purchase for many Americans,” said NICB president and CEO David Glawe. “Though they provide great family entertainment during the warmer months, there is nothing fun about having your watercraft stolen. Buying marine insurance and storing your watercraft in a safe, secure storage facility in the winter are just a couple of simple and effective measures owners can take to protect their investments from theft.”

Watercraft thefts rise and fall with the weather, peaking in the summer and falling steadily as it gets colder. Thefts in the U.S. were lowest in February with 233, and highest in July with 606. Watercraft owners in coastal states who are not as impacted by cold, wintry weather are encouraged to remain vigilant all year long. NICB analysis of watercraft theft trends found that the faster owners contact law enforcement, the faster their property may be recovered. The NICB report indicates that 54% of watercrafts are recovered within one week of theft and 30% were recovered within a day.

Personal watercrafts, like jet-skis, were the most stolen type of watercraft in 2021, with 1,292 thefts. Unfortunately for personal watercraft owners, this type of watercraft also had the lowest recovery rate with 37%. Cruisers and sailboats were recovered at the highest rate with 50% of thefts for each type of watercraft being recovered in 2021.

In partnership with Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) encourages all watercraft owners to “Dock It and Lock It”. Taking the necessary steps to make sure your watercraft is properly docked and locked with a steel cable and trailer hitch lock can help prevent theft. Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in Florida and NICB also encourages owners to consider the following tips:

  • Install a kill switch in the ignition system.
  • Install an alarm system especially designed for boats. Use a hidden tracking device on your boat.
  • Park your trailer in a locked garage, secured boat storage facility or well-lit fenced area.
  • Park the trailer so that the hitch and engines are difficult to reach.
  • Consider removing the battery and steering wheel when stored.
  • Be sure your marine insurance policy includes not only the boat, but also your equipment and trailer.
  • Keep a copy of your registration and boat title in a safe place.
  • Identify and report any suspicious activity. Criminals may scout areas days before stealing items.
  • Photograph your boat, all valuable items with it, and their serial numbers.
  • Partner with others in your community to actively target criminals and reduce crime.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, call the NICB at 1-800-TEL-NICB. For additional information, visit NICB’s website, WWW.NICB.org.

REPORT FRAUD: Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combating and preventing insurance crime through Intelligence, Analytics, and Operations; Education and Crime Prevention; and Strategy, Policy, and Advocacy. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $582 billion in insurance premiums in 2021, or more than 82% of the nation’s property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 96% of the nation’s personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.

SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau

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