Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (206) 624-3330/(800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter.com/nwinsuranceinfo
Washington is fourth in the nation
SEATTLE - Summer is the time for boating in the Northwest and
it's also high season for boat thieves. More boats are stolen
across the nation in June, July and August than any other time
of the year, with Washington ranking fourth highest in the nation
in 2011. Only half of all boats stolen in Washington are recovered.
A new report by the National
Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reveals that Florida had the
most thefts, followed by California, Texas, Washington and North
Carolina. The top five stolen boat types include the "jet ski"
category, runabout, utility, cruiser and sailboat, in that order.
Because your boat is an investment worth protecting, NW Insurance
Council urges boat owners to take measures to prevent your boat
from being stolen and to make sure you have enough insurance to
replace it if it is stolen and not recovered.
"In many ways, Boat Insurance is similar to Auto Insurance,"
said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "Your policy
includes coverage for theft, damage to your boat caused by a collision
and liability protection if you injure someone while operating
Homeowners insurance extends to smaller boats, such as canoes
and kayaks and offers limited coverage, typically between $1,000
and $2,000 for damage to the watercraft. If you own a larger,
more expensive vessel, consider buying a separate policy to provide
In addition to insurance, methods of protecting your boat from
thieves include marking and identifying both your boat and equipment.
This identification will help police in the recovery effort if
your boat and equipment are stolen:
- Mark your boat and equipment with the vessel's Hull Identification
Number (HIN), a 12-character serial number that identifies
- Engrave your driver's license number in a hidden location
on the boat as well as on its engine, ship-to-shore radio,
depth sounder, compass stereo, trailer and other expensive
- Take photos or videotape your boat, its HIN and equipment
for documentation and identification.
NICB and NW Insurance Council
also recommend the following tips to protect your boat from theft:
- When docking your watercraft, lock and secure it to the
dock with a steel cable.
- Remove expensive equipment when your boat is not in use.
Chain and lock detachable motors to the boat.
- Keep title or registration papers somewhere safe and not
in your boat when it's docked.
- Disable your boat by shutting off fuel lines or removing
- Use a trailer hitch lock after parking a boat on its trailer.
Install a kill switch in the ignition system.
Be aware that stolen boats are often sold to unsuspecting consumers.
You can avoid being victimized by recognizing common fraud indicators.
Before purchasing a boat, make sure its HIN exactly matches the
HIN listed on the registration and/or title. Also, carefully inspect
the boat and review its ownership paperwork. Be alert for the
following potential fraud indicators:
- The boat has been rebuilt, previously reported stolen, sunk
- The title or proof of ownership is a duplicate issue or
from out of state.
- Registration numbers appear altered or are not uniform.
The asking price is well below the market value.
For more information about NICB's Boat Theft Report, visit National
Insurance Crime Bureau. For more information about Boat
Insurance visit NW Insurance
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization
funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon
National Insurance Crime Bureau 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.