FWC says Florida leads the nation in stolen vessels, and Miami-Dade County leads the state.

WC says Florida leads the nation in stolen vessels, and Miami-Dade County leads the state. Last year, more than 366 boats went missing — more than triple the amount in Broward County. So far this year, the numbers reflect that trend. A total of 47 boats were stolen in Miami-Dade County during in the first quarter of 2013, compared with 17 in Broward County.

A South Miami family’s brand new $350,000, 34-foot fishing boat vanished from its slip at Monty’s Marina in Coconut Grove two weeks ago.

“It’s not the material, even though you don’t like to lose something this expensive,” said boater Denise Madan. “This is something our family does every weekend, you go out and you have a great time.”

The crooks didn’t just get away with pricey property, they stripped the family of its security.
“You have to go through two gates, there are security cameras, there’s a security guard here that’s what we pay for, so who would’ve thought someone’s just going to come in and steal a boat,” she said.

“For somebody who knows what they’re doing, it’s very easy to jump on a boat, get it started really quick and just leaving the area,” said Jorge Pino of The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

FWC says Florida leads the nation in stolen vessels, and Miami-Dade County leads the state. Last year, more than 366 boats went missing — more than triple the amount in Broward County. So far this year, the numbers reflect that trend. A total of 47 boats were stolen in Miami-Dade County during in the first quarter of 2013, compared with 17 in Broward County.

“I think it’s because of the location that we live in — we’re so strategically placed,” Pino said. “Most of the vessels — the larger vessels — that we’ve seen that get stolen end up in the Bahamas somewhere or end up being used to transport immigrants, drugs, you name it.”

Others are stripped of their engines and equipment. Even with a multi-agency task force dedicated to recovering boats, most thieves don’t get caught.

“They have mastered the art of disguising the vessel,” Pino said. “They alter identification numbers, they manufacture identification numbers.”

Authorities suggest installing a kill switch on the boat so owners can disable it remotely.
Madan says she should have installed a hidden GPS and cameras on the boat.

“I don’t think it’s going to come back,” said Madan. “So I just hope this report opens the eyes of other boat owners.”