Watercraft Thefts May Be Down In 2021, But Owners Should Stay Vigilant. Dock It and Lock It!

DES PLAINES, Ill., August 29, 2022 — 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 Theft 2021

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:

Dock it and Lock it 1

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.