OAK HARBOR, Wash. — When one Washington State boater had his boat burglarized at his marina, he didn’t take the news sitting down.
Peter Hunt, of Oak Harbor, Wash., went to the internet, where he found the thieves selling the stolen items taken during a rash of boat burglaries — including his own chartplotter — on eBay, according to a press release from BoatUS.
Recently, he brought his internet investigation to the attention of authorities that led to the arrest and conviction of an adult and two teenagers and recovery of over $50,000 in stolen electronic equipment. More than 90 percent of the goods stolen at Hunt’s marina were recovered and returned to owners.
For his effort in breaking the crime ring — which had burglarized three marinas on North Whidbey Island, Wash., as well as 30 cars — Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) honored Hunt with $2,500 from its Theft Reward Program. Created to combat the increase in boat theft nationwide, all BoatUS members are automatically enrolled in the program which simply requires the boat owner to affix highly visible, orange theft reward sticker to their vessel.
Winter Anti-Theft Tips:
As winter goes on, BoatUS says boaters, anglers and sailors must remain vigilant about boat theft and burglary and has these tips:
- Keep your boat locked when you are not aboard. Never leave your keys or valuable items on the boat. BoatUS reports the top three items stolen from boats over the winter are electronics, outboards and outdrives. Remove electronics (if possible) and use a lock on outboards and drives.
- Continue to make periodic visits to your boat when it’s in winter storage. Keep liquor out of site of prying eyes.
- If a boat is stored on its trailer, the best way to prevent a theft is to remove one or more wheels.
- Keep copies of ownership documents, serial numbers and photos of your boat and equipment in a safe place — off the boat for easy access should a loss occur.
- For more information on how you can prevent becoming a boat burglar’s victim, check out the BoatUS Magazinefeature, “Foiling Off-Season Theft,” at BoatUS.com/magazine/burglars.