As thousands fill boating shows seeking the watercraft of their dreams, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is advising new and current boat owners to consider purchasing theft prevention devices and brushing up on some basic safety techniques to make sure their vessels stay right where they dock them.
“Regardless of whether you own a 10-foot jon boat or a 110-foot luxury yacht, owners should make sure that their boat or personal watercraft has the same level of protection as their car or truck,” said Robert Bryant, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “The majority of watercraft stolen each year are under 20-feet in length and are never seen again by their owners,” he added. “Employing some simple theft prevention tips could have kept them happily afloat.”
NICB recommends the following theft prevention guidelines designed to leave boat thieves in one’s 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 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 illuminated 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 disembarking;
· 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 one’s 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;
A vessel identification checklist and a fact sheet on how to combat boat theft and fraud is available on the NICB Web site, www.nicb.org.
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