Boat Thefts Increasing in Pinellas County, Florida

9 May 2018

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has been tracking vessel thefts for years, and they have noted a slight increase of this type of crime within the past few years. According to reports, 24 boats were stolen in 2015, 28 boats in 2016 and 35 in 2017. These statistics include other types of water vessels like jet skis, and it encompasses boats stolen from storage facilities.

Experts believe the increase in boat thefts is tied to the increase in value of boat parts. Deputies from Pinellas County have reported it’s becoming increasingly easy for criminals to strip boats of expensive parts like motors and electronics. It’s common for thieves to take the valuable parts and then dump the remaining parts of the boat elsewhere.

Police say that many boat owners are making a huge mistake when they fail to document the serial numbers of the various parts and electronics onboard. While boat owners frequently document information about the boat itself, they often fail to record the numbers of individual parts. These identification numbers are the best way to track stolen motors, electronics or parts after a boat is stolen, so investigators have difficulty recovering parts without identifying numbers or details. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that only around 36 percent of stolen boats are recovered in the state of Florida.

Detective Scott Van Deusen advises boat owners to remove any equipment, tackle or valuables from their boat every time it isn’t in use. He additionally advises owners to mark their equipment with an identification number and the state’s abbreviation. This can help officers identify any recovered boat parts.

GPS tracking for boats can also help work as a deterrent for theft and a recovery tool in the event your boat is stolen. GPS devices can be set to alert boat owners when their boats are in motion or when they leave a set boundary like a storage unit. This notification alert can be used by boat owners to inform police about the ongoing crime, and it can help officers stop a boat theft before anything is destroyed or lost.

If you own a boat, and want to be able to quickly recover it in the event of theft, give us a call at LiveViewGPS to learn more about GPS tracking for boats. 1-888-544-0494



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