The National Marine Manufacturers Association and the National Insurance Crime Bureau have initiated the first national database of vessel information.
Similar to vehicle identification numbers, this new collection of boat manufacturing data can be used to assist in boat identification, helping to deter and prosecute crimes involving recreational boats.
According to the NICB, each month more than 500 boats are stolen in the United States, costing boat owners and their insurers millions of dollars annually. In turn, thieves often sell these stolen boats to unsuspecting consumers. This database will enhance the efforts of the Coast Guard, law enforcement personnel and the NICB to prevent, detect and report potential marine thefts and insurance fraud and protect boaters.
The new tool is designed to streamline the access that law enforcement officials and insurers have to the hull identification number, brand, model, year, length and other identifying information.
The database is live and the NMMA is urging boatbuilders to share information that will assist officials in thwarting thefts, reporting them when they do happen and collecting more accurate data in order to identify stolen boats.
“It’s critical that boat manufacturers participate in this program,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “Ensuring that our law enforcement officials are efficiently able to track boats based on this new identification system will not only help deter thefts, but it also allows us to collect important data on a boat to thwart future crimes.”