Watercraft Thefts Decrease in the U.S. for Second Year

“When You Dock It, Lock It”

2022 Watercraft Theft Report

DES PLAINES, Ill., August 31, 2023 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual watercraft theft report, which showed a drop in thefts for the second year in a row. Last year, the number of thefts in the U.S. decreased by four percent, dropping from 4,644 in 2021 to 4,461 in 2022.

Despite a national decrease in watercraft thefts year over year, Florida experienced more watercraft thefts and led the nation once again with the highest number of these crimes. The state saw 891 thefts, accounting for 20 percent of all watercraft thefts in the U.S. in 2022. California followed closely with 656 watercraft thefts.

States near major bodies of water made up a majority of the top ten areas for watercraft thefts and accounted for 63 percent of all water vehicle thefts in the U.S. in 2022.

  1. Florida
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. Washington
  5. North Carolina
  6. South Carolina
  7. Georgia
  8. Michigan
  9. Ohio
  10. Tennessee
Watercraft Thefts by State

According to NICB analyses, more than 54 percent of all recovered watercrafts are returned to their owners within one week of theft.

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

  • When to “dock it, lock it” by securing 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 .
  • Ensure your marine insurance policy includes your equipment, boat and trailer.
  • Take photos of the boat and mark it with a Hull Identification Number (HIN).

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.


Media Contact

If you have a question, want further information on the NICB, or to discuss insurance fraud or vehicle crime, please contact:

Joe Brenckle
Director, Public Affairs

Nicholas Zeitlinger
Public Affairs Specialist

If you are a reporter and have a request or question, please complete the Media Request Form.

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 Oak Brook, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combatting 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-casualty insurers, self-insureds, rental car, vehicle finance, and auto auctions. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.