PDF Print E-mail

Don’t be a Victim of Boat Theft – How to Avoid Buying a Stolen Boat

The number of boats stolen each year has been steadily on the increase, to the point where it now exceeds many thousands of boats annually both in the USA and Europe.

According to the US National Crime Insurance Bureau (NCIB), boat theft is a $40,000,000+ business in the United States alone. As the season nears, boat theft increases to as many as 1,000 boats stolen a month! Like cars, SUVs and trucks, boats offer thieves an opportunity to make huge profits. But unlike cars, boats are much easier to pass off as genuine! Who checks???

The chances of becoming a victim are uncomfortably high. In some areas, stolen boats account for more than 7% of inventory!

SO - DON’T JUST CHANCE IT…CHECK IT ON BOATFAX

The thought of unwittingly purchasing a stolen boat does not occur to most boat buyers. Many buyers unknowingly make a purchase and don’t discover their mistake until it is too late. Don’t be a victim, check it before your boat and your money is gone.

Most people who purchase a stolen boat are never aware of the fact that they are the owner of a stolen boat unless it's discovered by a state title agency, or by a bounty hunter commissioned by an insurance company. The bad news is that even though you may never realize you have purchased a stolen boat, when it is discovered, you loose the boat, usually with no recourse for recovery of this loss. In fact, you may even find yourself trying to fend off criminal charges of being in possession of stolen property.

Don’t be the person that buys a stolen boat. Whilst some are stripped for parts and the evidence destroyed, the vast majority of stolen boats end up being altered in various ways and then resold! You could be the buyer.

Most stolen boats that are resold have only a minor change in the Hull Identification Number (HIN). Because these numbers are molded into the plastic of the hull, it is a very simple process to alter. Hull numbers can be completely changed, or just have one or a few digits altered. Either way, it's a process that a thief can quickly and simply accomplish.

However, the good news is, that boats also have other identification numbers such as engine serial numbers and it is rare that these get removed or modified and in the instance that a HIN has been altered, the engine numbers can remain as a means of positively identifying a stolen boat. In addition boatfax can search against number sequences to see if there is a possible match, even though the original number may have been significantly tampered with.

Don’t be caught out – Check the HIN:

Take a careful look at the Hull Identification Number (HIN). This is normally molded into the right hand outside of the transom (see What is the HIN?) On some boats the Hull Number may be on a metal plate fixed in the same position. Note: There are some major European manufacturers who position the HIN on the rear of the starboard (RH) side of the boat (just around the corner from the normal transom position).

Always look for the following evidence of possible HIN tampering or corruption:

HIN Format: Since 1972 (Europe 1996) HIN Numbers generally conformed to a standard format. The main number must be 12 characters long and may display a 2 character country code pre-fix (to make it 14 characters long for European requirements). Note: European HIN format must contain the Country Code information and be 14 characters long. For more information see articles HIN Formats or What is the HIN?

HIN Replacement: A more radical approach often used when there is a desire to change or copy the complete identity of a boat. Either the old HIN is dug out and a different one molded into the Gel coat or a plate is fixed over the original HIN with a different number. Look carefully for signs of mismatch in Gel color, cracking or witness marks created though the process of digging out the HIN. Note: Gel coat will fade with time and if newer Gel coat has been applied this will show as a slightly different color. Always be cautious of a plate. Be sure this looks original and if it can be easily removed – it is probably not the original! If in doubt check the HIN on www.boatfax.com or call the manufacturer and verify the HIN and the method of attachment. 
 
Obscured HIN: Be wary of pieces of equipment being fastened over the HIN. Always remove these to check the HIN. Check for a HIN being obscured by paint or gel finishes; can be a sign of an attempt to cover up a HIN alteration or purposely make the HIN difficult to read.    
 
Character Confusion: Unfortunately as a HIN can be composed of any letter or number and there is no current means of character checking in the number format, often confusion exists with the letters O & 0, I & 1,B & 8. In addition the following letters get misread V & U. Carefully check the HIN and the documentation for consistency and again check the HIN on www.boatfax.com for verification. 

HIN Copies: Most boat manufacturers will also affix one or more exact copies of the HIN in other parts of the boat. Often these are in hidden areas of the boat, but may be placed in an easily accessible section of the bow in open dinghy’s and RIBs. If you suspect the transom HIN has been tampered, try and find the copy and compare. It is very rare that the copies are tampered or removed.

At all times cross check the HIN with the documentation on the boat. Try to find the copy HIN and make sure that this matches the transom HIN. Check the Validity of the HIN on www.boatfax.com.  Always be cautious about the HIN until you have verified it.

Whilst HIN numbers can be easily tampered with, it is rare that the engine serial numbers get tampered at the same time. Often a stolen boat can be recognised by its engine numbers. When possible, always check the engine serial numbers against documentation. boatfax checks and cross checks HIN numbers, serial numbers, registration numbers & other entered information. A stolen boat can be recognised by the serial number information entered even if the HIN has been significantly tampered with.

And there’s more: boatfax uses sophisticated software techniques to detect corrupt characters, format anomalies, number tampering and out of sequence components so you can be sure that boatfax can detect invalid information.

If in doubt check it on www.boatfax.com

boatfax – helping you to make better buying decisions.

Be smart – Use boatfax.

© Copyright boatfax Ltd

 
Boatfax

Secured by Rapid SSL
ProtX Secured

Payments by Paypal

Major Credit Cards Accepted

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict
USH027EYD606 BAYLINER 192 DISCOVERY stolen on August 26th, 2017

ZBII6096D494 CAMPION 1600 stolen on August 25th, 2017

FR-SPRPH555B616 CAP CAMARAT 65 CC stolen on August 24th, 2017

SE-CRERR600E808 CRESCENT PRIMO stolen on August 24th, 2017

JTC65386D606 CROWNLINE 315 SCR stolen on August 23rd, 2017

FI-BUSA0054E404 BUSTER MAGNUM stolen on August 23rd, 2017

CA-YDV64092K617 SEA-DOO SPARK TRIXX stolen on August 22nd, 2017

AT-MARMAG25F111 MARIAN 640 MAGIC stolen on August 22nd, 2017

GB-RBI03278E717 RIBEYE S 785 stolen on August 20th, 2017

SE-HRPX0143F515 HR BOAT 532 CC stolen on August 20th, 2017

JODS0038L102 JODA 290 SPORT stolen on August 20th, 2017

SE-HRPX0143F515 HR BOAT RODD 532 CC stolen on August 20th, 2017

NO-NKAR6030G617 NORDKAPP 605 RANGER stolen on August 20th, 2017

US-MBC8LCE8H617 MASTERCRAFT XSTAR stolen on August 18th, 2017

CA-YDV05926L113 SEA-DOO RXT-X stolen on August 17th, 2017

USHC82EYA808 BAYLINER 192 DISCOVERY stolen on August 16th, 2017

VALC2645L304 VALIANT 520 DR stolen on August 13th, 2017

NL-MAVV0361D000 MAKMA VLET 700 stolen on August 11th, 2017

SMLGBC02L484 SHETLAND 536 FAMILY BOAT stolen on August 9th, 2017

LV-ANY86009D111 ANYTEC 860 SPD stolen on August 6th, 2017

IT-SES47002K011 SESSA,KEY LARGO, DORADO C32 stolen on August 6th, 2017

SE-CON51025B506 CONFIBRA 510 WA stolen on August 4th, 2017

CAN24004C910 NAUTILUS 11 DLX stolen on August 3rd, 2017

WELHLA31K899 WELLCRAFT CENTER CONSOLE stolen on August 3rd, 2017

XDC6800UK607 ZODIAC CLASSIC stolen on July 31st, 2017

SGDL2917J697 CHAPARRAL 1935 stolen on July 31st, 2017

CA-YDV43884G515 SEA-DOO SEA-DOO stolen on July 31st, 2017

AU-TRX86435B515 SAVAGE, QUINTREX stolen on July 27th, 2017

SLVX0080E202 SILVER FOX 470 stolen on July 27th, 2017

CA-ZBI63003L103 CAMPION 630 CHASE stolen on July 27th, 2017

US-PGLHM306E313 GLASTRON GT 185 stolen on July 26th, 2017

NL-IBL20378E303 INTERBOAT 20 stolen on July 25th, 2017

FI-BUSC0535C606 BUSTER L CROSSWAVE stolen on July 25th, 2017

LBBFP517C010 LUND REBEL 1625 XL stolen on July 25th, 2017

US-SERR6314J001 SEA RAY 260 SUNDANCER stolen on July 24th, 2017

US-GLA58836B707 GLASTRON 209 GS stolen on July 21st, 2017

NO-ASK10798A606 ASKELADDEN 445 HUNTER stolen on July 21st, 2017

GLKD1139E102 GLACIER BAY 2640 stolen on July 21st, 2017

US-MBCWLHUOD414 MASTERCRAFT XSTAR stolen on July 21st, 2017

FGE27115F505 COBALT 272 stolen on July 20th, 2017

US-CEC21464A606 SEA-DOO SEA DOO CHALLENGER stolen on July 19th, 2017

US-KAW59100L617 KAWASAKI ULTRA LX stolen on July 19th, 2017

ZBI16570B090 CAMPION 165 CORTES stolen on July 18th, 2017

CA-YDV29066C707 SEA-DOO 215 GTX LTD stolen on July 18th, 2017

CA-YDV32287D707 SEA-DOO 215 GTX LTD stolen on July 18th, 2017

GB-RIB00107D111 RIBCRAFT stolen on July 17th, 2017

CA-YDV50802E909 SEA-DOO SEA DOO RXT-IS stolen on July 16th, 2017

SEUTB001H899 UTTERN 5500 HT stolen on July 16th, 2017

US-MBCWKDN2I516 MASTERCRAFT X26 stolen on July 15th, 2017

MT114696J102 YAMARIN 4610 stolen on July 14th, 2017

Report a Loss Info
Apple Apps Available
Apple Boat HIN App Boat HIN
Decode the HIN
Apple Boat History App Boat HISTORY
Check the History
Apple Boat Valuer App Boat VALUER
Get the Value
Android Apps Available
Apple Boat HIN App Boat HIN
Decode the HIN
Android Boat Valuer App Boat VALUER
Get the Value
FREE Apps - iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android device compatible.

Click App Icon to view in store.
Gadgets for your Desktop

Select 'download' to add a HIN Validator to your desktop.
(Only works with MicroSoft Windows)

 Download 
To add a HIN Validator to your website click here.
Updated: Oct 20 at 11:04.   v.4.6
Forgot Password?
Register address: