BOAT OWNERS AT RISK OF THEFT BY FRAUDSTERS
Recent claims have identified a disturbing trend whereby boats, particularly on the inland waterways, are being targeted by criminals fraudulently ‘selling’ boats without the owner’s knowledge. The boat is then moved away by the purchaser, leaving the owner to believe their boat has been stolen when they discover it’s no longer on the mooring.
Quite often a ‘For Sale’ notice is posted on the boat, unbeknown to the owner. A sale is then arranged quite quickly, the buyer having been duped into the transaction, leaving two victims with the fraudster in the middle.
Peter Clark, founder of long-established marine investigators, C Claims, helped to recover a vessel on the river Lee for a Craftinsure customer recently. He advised that he had tracked down and recovered 4 stolen boats within a week, collectively worth as much as £150,000.
The most important advice for owners is to visit their boats regularly and never leave original documents on board.
It’s also recommended that the licence number is indelibly marked on the vessel – for example by having it etched into a window each side of the craft. Perhaps also consider fitting a GPS tracking device – much less expensive these days.
As a more general risk management measure, it’s good to make friends with neighbouring boat owners and locals, exchanging contact details so that any suspicious activity can be reported.more advice