Saturday, January 26, 2013

Marinas and Crime

One thing that's not talked about much on blogs and magazines I read is crime at marinas.  Marinas and yacht clubs can be easy targets.  Most boats sitting on docks are not live aboards.  Oftentimes, no one is around.  In my many years of belonging to a small yacht club in upstate New York, theft was sometimes a problem, from member's beer from our club's refrigerator to a 15 HP outboard motor off the stern of my dock neighbor's O'Day 25.

I wrote on this blog some time ago about my bicycle being stolen here at Brunswick Landing Marina and our lucky recovery of it.  Last week, the bikes were hit again.  Both front wheels and both seats stolen and brake cables cut.  $500 worth of stuff.

There's security at this marina.  A guard patrols every night.  But this marina is very long and he can't be everywhere.

Olivia, the German Shorthair Pointer, is high energy.  She asks to go outside on deck every ten or fifteen minutes when she's awake.   I slide open the door, she finds something to bark at within a few minutes, I go out and yell at her to go back inside, which she does.  We repeat this.  All. evening. long.

Last night, during one of her I-gotta-go-out-and-bark cycles, I opened the door to order her in and she ignored me.  I sternly ordered her in, and she looked at me and absolutely refused.  She not only barked, but snarled.  I looked up at the pavilion at the head of our dock and saw someone up there.  I got my binoculars out because it was so dark and the Steiners give you almost night vision.  I could see that it wasn't Tony, the only other guy living aboard on  our dock.   It looked like this guy was barbecuing.  Sometimes, when the gas runs out of a barbecue on a neighboring grill, they'll come to our pavilion to use our grill.  Maybe that was it?

He'd lean on the railing, looking out over the water, check his cell phone, walk over to the barbecue, back to the railing... but it just didn't feel like he was actually cooking.

I got out my camera to take pics.  They're hand held and dark.   I cranked my ISO setting up to 1600, but still you can't see much.  Most of the pics were blurred.  I should have gotten my tripod out, but I didn't want to miss anything.

Here he's checking his cell phone.  

Checking the grill.

I then saw him run out of the pavilion up to the upper parking lot.  He got into his car and drove off towards the other  end of the marina.

Then I saw the marina security guard drive around the upper parking lot to the lower and park his truck to walk the docks.   I took Chevy, our big scary looking male pit bull offf the boat with me and went up to the pavilion.  I put my hand on the grill and it was cold.

I'm guessing here, but what I think happened was that this prowler was hanging out on our dock, pretending he belonged there by pretending to grill.  What he was actually doing was waiting for the security guard to drive to our end of the marina and park.  That gave him the opportunity to drive to the other end to steal something from someone.

I called the security company and they contacted the guard, who came by the boat.  I told him what happened, and what I thought was up.  He said that he saw the guy on our pavilion, but thought he was a boater who was grilling dinner.  Exactly.

These security guards need to approach people they don't know, and introduce themselves.  In a friendly way, ask their names and boat name.  This crap needs to stop.


  1. We live in a bubble here in Rockport Maine. We never lock the house, the car, the boat. Nobody does.

    We love to travel though and then we have to get our guard up or get taken in no time(not far from here either).

    We're pretty good when we have to be(robbed in NYC a couple years ago), but I find that constant crime and the vigilance it requires not to get robbed in some areas, hard to deal with.

    I feel badly that you've been hit a couple times already, Dave. There's not much you can do except protect yourself and your belongings as best you can.

    Sad to say that, I know. They'll find the easiest mark on the street or dock...

  2. I very much dislike Locks---Keys & Theives... I could go on & On about this subject... I think I have been luky in my life and only had one jeep stolen and one pair of snow skis stolen....

  3. Fortunately I have never been the victim of a burglary on my boat in 20 years in Glen Cove, NY and the private security at my marina at night is non existent. No one has taken stuff during any of my cruises either, at moorings or otherwise. At Brewers anyone can drive in and out without a passkey. There are sophisticated cameras on top of poles and lights however on the docks--I don't know if the cameras actually work. I worry more about the possibility of vandalism than theft, as I figure anything they take can be replaced and except for the deductible is covered by insurance. Sorry for your losses, Dave. A couple of years ago a couple at the marina had a dinghy taken. There was a restaurant at that time next door and it was thought a visiting power boater took it on a ride to Conn for a lark. Those Conn people are scary dudes.! :-)