Contact:      Frank Scafidi                September 13, 2011
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NICB Report:  Watercraft Thefts in the U.S. 2009-2011
As With Vehicles Watercraft Thefts Are Sinking

DES PLAINES, Ill.—The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its latest report on watercraft theft and recoveries in the United States.  The report examines watercraft* theft and recoveries from January 1, 2009 through May 31, 2011 as contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Overall, there were 16,115 reported watercraft thefts during the period.  There was an 11 percent decrease in thefts from 2009 (7,485) to 2010 (6,663).  Of the total reported thefts for the period, 6,343, or 39 percent, were recovered.

Florida led the states with the most thefts followed by, in descending order, California, Texas, North Carolina and Michigan.  The top five for recoveries also in descending order were Florida, California, Texas, Washington and North Carolina.

Of the thefts where a boat type was indicated, the “all other” category recorded the most thefts.  “All other” includes canoes, dinghies, dories, johnboats, kayaks, lifeboats, paddleboats, sculls, skiffs, etc.  Behind “all others” were, in descending order, jet-skis, runabouts, utilities and cruisers.

You can download the complete report at

Although boating season may be nearing an end in some areas, many states have year round seasons and owners need to practice safe and smart boating, which includes personal safety while on the water as well as theft prevention.  

NICB recommends the following tips to help protect your watercraft from theft:

•    When you dock it, lock it and secure it to the dock with a steel cable
•    Remove expensive equipment when not in use
•    Chain and lock detachable motors to the boat
•    Do not leave title or registration papers in the craft
•    Disable the craft by shutting fuel lines or removing batteries
•    Use a trailer hitch lock after parking a boat on its trailer
•    Install a kill switch in the ignition system

Consumers can find these and more useful information by visiting the NICB Web site and reviewing our library of valuable theft and fraud awareness information.  It’s free and it just might help prevent you from falling victim to theft or fraud scams.

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 preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness.  The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations.  NICB member companies wrote over $317 billion in insurance premiums in 2010, or approximately 80 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance.  That includes more than 93 percent ($151 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance.  To learn more visit

*watercraft as described in the NCIC code manual:
All Other – canoe, dinghy, dory, johnboat, kayak, lifeboat, paddleboat, rowboat, skull, skiff, etc.
Jet-Ski – aqua bike
Runabout – launch, motorboat, outrider, speedboat, etc.
Utility – fisherman, sedan (type of boat), etc.
Cruiser – a boat with an inboard motor that is at least 25 feet long, but no longer than 50 feet
Sailboat – cat, catamaran, cutter, bark, ketch, lateen, lugger, pinnace, schooner, sloop, yawl, etc.
Commercial – ferry, oyster boat, motor barge, towboat, tug, clam dredge, coaster, riverboat,      smack boat, etc.