Virginia Watercraft Owner's Guide
Boat Theft Prevention
When Buying a Boat
- Be careful because it could be stolen.
- Be certain that the boat's description on the title matches the boat you are buying. Check year, make, length, and hull identification number.
- Be sure the model and serial number on an outboard motor have not been removed, tampered with or altered.
- Be suspicious of a fresh paint job on a late model vessel.
- When buying a used vessel, try to deal with a reputable marine dealer or a broker licensed by the state.
- If the price seems too good to be true, there is a good chance that the boat is stolen.
- Mark all equipment when purchased.
- If your boat was built before 1972, it may not have a hull identification number.
- It is a good idea to inscribe that registration number onto some unexposed location on the interior of your boat.
- Document boat contents.
- Store gear/electronics when not in use.
Stealing a boat is much easier if a thief can hitch up to your boat on a trailer and drive away. These tips may help.
- If possible, store the boat and trailer in a locked garage.
- Store boats in the back or side yard out of sight.
- Store the boat with the trailer tongue not easily accessible.
- Park another vehicle or other large object in front of the trailer.
- Remove one trailer wheel.
- Purchase a good quality trailer hitch lock and use it—even if stored inside.
There are several things that can be done to reduce the risk of vessel theft.
- Lock Marine Hatch.
- Lock the Forward Hatch.
- Lock Windows
If your boat, trailer, or gear is missing, report it immediately to the following groups. Use your written and photographic marine record to give specific and complete information.
- Local law enforcement agencies.
- Your insurance company.
- Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
- The dock or harbormaster.
- Neighboring boaters.
- Local newspapers.