MOREHEAD CITY, CARTERET COUNTY -

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recently ranked North Carolina as 6th in the nation for boat thefts with 184 thefts last year. The NICB reports that an average of 15 watercraft's are stolen a day in the United States.

Runabout boats were stolen more often than any other kind of boat with jet skis coming in second for 2013. At least, 31 runabout boats and 24 jet skis were stolen, according to the NICB.

Captain Lee Sykes with Tow Boat U.S. said if your boat is stolen to contact law enforcement and the U.S Coast Guard as soon as possible. He said most stolen boats aren't found in the same area they were stolen so its best to contact organizations covering several areas.

"We see a lot of vessels on boat trailers that are a prime target for theft," Sykes said.

He said even some of his own boat equipment was stolen right before Hurricane Arthur.

"I went out to get a boat trailer and it was gone!" Sykes said.
 
As Labor Day approaches and the boat season starts winding down Sykes said more calls for thefts in our area typically come in - especially during the winter months. He said there were a lot of calls about electronics stolen from boats last winter.

"They were making us aware that their boats had been vandalized while at their docks and behind their residences," Sykes said.

He said writing down the serial numbers of these items increases your chances of getting them back.

Owner of Portside Marina Denard Harris said the safest place to keep your boat for a long period of time is in an enclosed marina.

“We have an enclosed building and we also have 24/7 monitoring with a very extensive camera system," Harris said.

He said enclosed marinas are safer and protect boats from the weather.

Sykes said if that’s not an option to make sure to lock your boat and trailer down.

The N.I.C.B reports North Carolina had a 39 percent recovery rate for boats stolen last year.

To view some more tips from the Boat Owner’s Association of the U.S. on how to protect your boat click here.