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Boat crime: The boat is gone, what now?

Boat crime - boat / yacht stolen - theft

Yesterday you had your boat still neatly moored to the jetty, the next morning it was gone – unfortunately, this does not happen so rarely. Two new cases of boat theft, which were reported to SeaHelp, confirm this. We explain what those affected by boat theft or misappropriation can do.

Boat theft or misappropriation unfortunately does not stop at national borders, and the fact that in practice in the Schengen area at the borders only random checks of persons and vehicles take place, opens the door to the thieves in the truest sense of the word (on the subject of boat crime, see our article on the Constance Competence Center for Boat Crime KBK).

The work of the Constance special investigators is based, on the one hand, on prevention in order to give potential criminals no opportunity to put their planned criminal actions into practice in the first place. However, if a criminal act should have occurred, good advice is expensive. In such cases, the perpetrators must be brought to justice by means of rapid, thorough investigation – so that they can subsequently be sentenced.

On June 29, a ten and a half meter yacht “disappeared” from Zadar – so far without a trace

A recent case occurred as recently as June 29: a 10.28-meter luxury motor yacht from the Finnish manufacturer Saxdoor 320 GTO “disappeared” from Zadar – so far without a trace. An employee of Marila Charter, a charter agency from Zadar, told SeaHelp by phone that there had been no contact with the charter crew for three hours and calls had been unsuccessful.


Saxdoor 320 GTO stolen
Saxdoor 320 GTO stolen


The boat should have returned to base that day, and the rental company was worried about the crew. The Croatian Search and Rescue Department (SAR, reachable at 195) was also asked for help.

At about 19:05, the lighthouse keeper of Sv. Ivan Na Pučina had reported that he had stated that the vessel in question could not be located in the place that the boat GPS had last reported (45.04942 n 13.61108 e).

At the request of the charter agency, a SeaHelp rescue boat of type Pischel Ribline 8 immediately set out from Poreč at about 19:18 to search the sea area in question.


Boat Crime - Boat / Yacht Stolen - Theft


SeaHelp set out and thoroughly searched the sea area in question

With the GPS system’s battery low on power, the SeaHelp crew had to search the area under time pressure. Just under an hour later, at about 8:09 p.m., SeaHelp responders finally found the source of the yacht’s GPS signal.

However, the signal did not come from the Saxdoor motor yacht, but from a waterproof boat barrel, in which the thieves had stowed the GPS transmitter in order to lure possible pursuers on a wrong track and to gain time.



By now, at the latest, it was clear that it had been a theft; SeaHelp immediately informed the owner of the yacht (the charter agency) as well as the state authorities involved, took the barrel back to base, and after consultation with the local police, SeHelp delivered the GPS device to the police in Poreč. On the advice of SeaHelp, the owner of the yacht had previously informed the captain of the port in Zadar about the incident.


Boat theft, SeaHelp hands over GPS transmitter to police


The charter boat theft off Zadar – just one of many cases that later end up at KBK

The incident reported by SeaHelp is probably only one of many cases, which sooner or later also end up with the Constance expert team from the KBK.

Another case was reported to SeaHelp on July 2 – a private boat of the type Sessa Marine Timonier 560 had disappeared without a trace from the mooring at the Škrila campsite in Stara Baška on the southern part of the Croatian island of Krk during the night of July 1 to 2. The owner was shocked; he could not understand how a safely moored boat could simply disappear overnight.

He asked SeaHelp for assistance, provided documentation and photos, and was advised by SeaHelp staff to urgently notify the appropriate branch of the port captain’s office in Punat. Once again, the Croatian SAR was also informed, as it could not be ruled out that the boat had broken loose despite being moored several times and was drifting without crew on the open sea in Kvarner (thus posing a danger to other boaters).

Only a few days later SeaHelp was informed about a stranded boat on the island of Kormati, southwest of the island of Krk. Thanks to the documents, the boat was quickly identified as the “missing” one – case solved for now. A further report in this matter will follow after successful recovery at this point.



A cat costing 800,000 euros is among the investigators’ most spectacular cases so far

Among the most spectacular cases of the investigators so far was an 800,000-euro catamaran, which perpetrators chartered in Croatia and which eventually found its way via a registration in Germany to the Caribbean island of St. Martin.

Here, the Constance investigators struck and had the luxurious sailor confiscated.

Tip: go to the police immediately; caution is also advised when buying and selling used yachts

The experts recommend going to the police immediately. Potential buyers they warn against supposed Internet bargains, which are offered with a more or less credible legend. But also if one wants to offer a sport boat for the sales, caution is advisable.

Because: with high probability would turn in the case “prospective customers” to the salesman, whose only goal direction is it not to buy the boat, but by most different and plausible stories such as transport solutions, foreign exchange business and many variants money to skim off.

Many stolen boats and yachts are listed at

Tip from SeaHelp: the company MCS (Marine Claims Service GmbH) maintains a database of stolen boats and yachts on the Internet. You can reach the site via the following link:

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