FLORIDA — A new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows that Florida is the top state when it comes to watercraft theft.

  • Florida had 1,114 watercraft thefts reported in 2018
  • California came in at No. 2 with 483
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“It’s pretty concerning," said boat owner Josh Gascheler. "I mean, people work hard for their stuff and just to have somebody steal it is kind of disheartening."

Florida saw the most watercraft thefts in 2018, with 1,114 thefts reported. 

Though California was second on the list, it trailed far behind with only 483 reported. 

Furthermore, a list of Top 10 cities for watercraft thefts showed that Tampa and Largo were hot spots, coming in at numbers three and seven, respectively. 

“We don’t need that around here at all and if there’s a way to stop it then we need to stop it,” said charter boat owner Kasey Nelson. 

Nelson takes extra precaution to make sure his boat stays out of the hands of thieves. 

“I keep my boat on the trailer inside our yard,” he said. 

Other boaters, like Palmetto resident Bob Gregory, have found different approaches. 

“Have the power cut off so they can’t hot wire it and start it. If you can keep them from starting the motor, they’re going to have trouble stealing it,” Gregory said. 

Boaters are also urged to take photos of the watercraft, and make sure they are marked with a hull identification number, which helps law enforcement with recovery efforts. 

Click here to read the full National Insurance Crime Bureau report.