Got a boat? Take note.

It’s heating up outside and that means many Southwest Florida boaters will be spending time on the water enjoying a little piece of our tropical paradise. Although plenty of pleasure can come from being a boat owner, it can also cost you dearly if thieves are successful in stealing your watercraft or the valuable equipment on board. Whether you secure your vessel at a marina, dock, or yard; the goal is to protect your investment from thieves who look for enticing opportunities to take advantage of carefree behavior by boat owners. 

To help keep your boat afloat and your gear in the clear the Lee County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit encourages watercraft owners to follow these safety and security tips: 

  • Make sure your craft is always kept in well-lit areas.
  • Remove valuable equipment from your boat when not in use.
  • Lock the boat’s cabin, doors and windows when not in use.
  • Record all boat information such as serial numbers, ID codes, and the HIN (Hull Identification Number). Take pictures/video of your boat, trailer and equipment and consider marking your property with a unique identifier such as a zip code or house number.
  • Do not keep registration or title papers in an unsecured location on the vessel.
  • Install an alarm system and a kill switch in the ignition system.
  • Ensure your marine insurance policy includes your equipment, boat and trailer. 

To learn more about boat theft and related fraud scams, and obtain a boat theft prevention checklist, visit the National Insurance Crime Bureau at To speak to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Specialist, call 258-3280.