Boat owners who make a living with their ships in Southwest Florida are saying thefts are on the rise. Boaters WINK News spoke to said it’s nothing new.
Marco Island Police Department said it’s a growing problem Friday, but there are things boat owners can do to make it harder for crooks.
Police said, to keep your boat safe, install an alarm system on the dock, Install a GPS system on the boat. Remove any valuables, and use exterior lighting that shines on your boat and dock.
Many boat owners are extremely careful because most of them run businesses off their boats.
“It’d be a big loss,” Ted Naftal said. “It’d be like a part of my arm probably taken off if someone were to take it.”
Naftal works as a fishing guide on a boat, a family tradition that’s been passed down for years. Naftal’s boat means the world to him. That’s why he stores it at the marina with high security instead of behind his home.
“Oh I wouldn’t like it a bit,” Naftal said. “I work hard for my boat, and I try to keep the boat going same as all the rest of the family did at one time.”
Recently, a nearly 40-foot-long boat was taken from the island.
“A good high interest vessel for someone to steal would be something that is large, has multiple engines high horsepower, and these boats typically end up having more fuel in them left on occasion for long periods of time,” Robert Zwerin said.
To protect you and your neighbors, police said they need help watching over boat and homes. Report suspicious activity immediately.
Alex Garland also runs a business on his fishing boat, and he said losing it would be devastating.
“This boat is my livelihood,” Garland said. “I’ve been on Marco almost 35 years and if something happened to this, you know, that would affect my family.”