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Texas ranks high in nation for boat thefts


POSTED: Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 7:10pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 7:18am

Texas is ranked as one of the top three states in the nation for boat and personal watercraft theft. Every month 500 boats are stolen nationwide, but Texas has some of the most. "You have a lot of people that have boats in the state of Texas. Recreation on the waters is a big deal, fishing, tubing, its all part of what comes with being in Texas and out here especially in East Texas," said Brad Clark, game warden with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

"Its really easy to steal a boat, in fact its easier than stealing a car," said Ned Nichols, Sgt. Game Warden in Austin. He said its because boats are easily moved, often uninsured, and usually left unattended. However, they are stepping up their game to change that rating. "We started a marine theft investigation unit that's composed of field game wardens that do marine theft investigations on the side and i think in the past year they've recovered over 100 stolen boats," said Clark. The program kicked off about a year ago, and Nichols said he has seen waves of improvement since it began. "We have our hands on boats 24/7, 365, I mean even during winter in hunting season, we're checking hunting boats," said Nichols. In one year, they've recovered more than $800,000 in stolen boats.

While there's improvement across the state, Tyler Police say this isn't a problem in Tyler. "We really aren't seeing a problem here locally. Which is a good thing, but then again, we still caution people to do the right things which prevents the boat thefts or the water craft thefts," said Don Martin, Tyler Police Public Information Officer. Here's some tips to keep your boat and personal watercrafts safe this summer:

  • have proper locks for trailers and boats
  • take pictures of your boat and keep them on file
  • make sure your have all important identification numbers written down
  • if your boat is in storage, make sure there is surveillance
  • always be careful when you're buying boats online
  • never leave expensive or important items in or on your boat when its unattended

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