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Old 10-14-2020, 12:11 PM   #1
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Strangers getting on my boat

Hello All,

Something happened over the weekend and I'm looking for some feedback as to what I should have done at the time.

I was tied up at the Fenelon Falls lock, which is on the Trent Severn system here in Ontario, for a couple of nights before taking Arrow Naut to the marina for the haulout etc.

It was Thanksgiving here in Canada so there were lots of people around fishing and strolling up and down the locks. On Tuesday morning as I was getting ready to leave, I took my two dogs off the boat for their last "business" trip. As I stepped off the boat, I saw a family standing down the dock watching me. It was a mother, father and 2 teenagers. They definitely saw me get off the boat with my dogs. I walked past them, smiled and we exchanged a good morning.

The dogs and I wandered up the path and steps to the top of the locks so I could also put the last of my garbage in a bin. As I got to the top, I glanced back just in time to see the mother step onto my boat so that her husband could take a photo.

I stood in stunned amazement. I was about 200 feet away and it was windy so I knew they wouldn't hear if I called out. As I stood watching, one of the teenagers looked up and saw me staring. She turned and said something to her parents. The mother looked up at me and then stepped off my boat. Her husband then had his photo taken holding onto the side rail. Then the daughter had her photo taken sitting on the side of my boat. The other daughter respectfully stood beside my boat but didn't touch it. She was the one who saw me staring.

As I have only been boating since June, is this a normal thing? If not, what should I have done? Walk back and politely explain that I wasn't happy with them just getting onto my boat without permission?

Thoughts?
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:15 PM   #2
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Not normal, but not uncommon.

Can happen anywhere, touristy destinations it may be more likely to happen, especially where a lot of people come from areas without boats.

I find the best thing is just ask...."can I help you?" Sometimes they are so embassies and apologetic that it's hard not be a little nice back. Others...well you probably can figure out from their response how to answer back.

Thugs onboard...beware...they might have plans past a selfie....
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:22 PM   #3
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Really bad manners.

"Do you mind if we take a photo by your boat" would have got the OK from us.

One solution is to have a small sign made and hang it from the rail nearest the entry point by the dock - "warning, rails electrified when owners not on board."
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:24 PM   #4
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I am a tug master and frequently moor at city docks and periodically have to run people off my tug. Sometimes curious people, something's drunks coming out of bars. My response is always " do you think it's ok for me to get in your car or your house without your permission?" It never ceases to amaze me.
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:26 PM   #5
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I don't think this is normal at all. Normal "protocol" is for one to be invited aboard. I think your staring at them conveyed a clear message and that that was probably sufficient in this case, but I guess I would have monitored them for awhile.


We had a situation on a canal in central France last year where we tied up at a wall in a rather desolate town, with the intent of dashing off to dinner at a local Moroccan restaurant. A man and his ~4 yr old daughter and ~5 yr old son were hanging around our boat STARING, intently for a LONG time. Finally, the man knocked on the boat and asked if one of his kids could come aboard to use the toilet. At first, this seemed to be not such an unreasonable request, until I remembered that there was an open cafe only 200' away where they could have used the toilets. (Even later, we learned there were open public toilets about 300' away.) So, we declined their request and they continued to hang around and stare for another 30 minutes or so. Finally they left. I really think there was some ulterior motive and that it was all a ruse of some sort. We eventually went to dinner, but made sure to leave nothing on deck and had the alarm system on. Boat was fine when we returned.
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menzies View Post
Really bad manners.

"Do you mind if we take a photo by your boat" would have got the OK from us.

One solution is to have a small sign made and hang it from the rail nearest the entry point by the dock - "warning, rails electrified when owners not on board."
I was thinking afterwards of a sign that read: Warning Big Black Dog can't hold his licker
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:37 PM   #7
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I have had this type of thing happen, but I was on ASD at the time. I thought there were thieves on board. They stepped into my cockpit and was making their way up the ladder to the sundeck. When he got to the top of the stairs, he looked up and saw me standing there with a loaded 9 mil in my hand. I asked why they were on my boat. His response was they thought the boat was for sale. I asked if he saw any "for sale" signs on the boat? I suggested they may want to leave my home before they were shot for unlawful entry.

Scared the crap out of them, but I had no idea who they were or why they were on my boat. Looking it over for a later robbery? Burglary in progress?
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:39 PM   #8
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Years ago, and days after I had moved my boat to a new slip but before I had met any of my new dock neighbors, a couple enjoyed cocktails on the back of my boat. The man had the audacity to introduce himself to one of the dock neighbors as the owner of the boat. I only found out because that neighbor spotted me on my boat a few days later and came rushing over demanding to know what I was doing on board. I told him I was the owner and he told me that he knew the owner. It took a little convincing before he would believe that I was the owner. He was only after I showed him that I had a key to the boat, and he remembered that the other "owner" had not opened the boat's back door, that he realized the truth.
That incident inspired me to put a bunch of video cameras on my boat, with a monitoring and alter system. On an average of about once every six months someone boards who shouldn't. So far, nothing stolen.
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:39 PM   #9
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No it was not normal. I would probably have returned to the boat with my dog who would have barked at them, which he does before attacking them with licks, and said something about him biting...
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:52 PM   #10
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People are funny. They wouldn't dare if it were a house, but for some reason, they don't look at a boat like complete 'private property'.

I had a friend arrive at his marina on a Friday night. He walks down the dock to find two couples sitting in his cockpit relaxing and chatting.

FRIEND: (smiling) "Hi, can I help you?"
TRESPASSERS: (smiling) "No, we fine thanks.".
FRIEND: (smiling) I'm sorry I might not have been clear..(not smiling) What the !@#$ are you doing on my boat?!"
TRESPASSERS: (smiling) Oh, we thought it looked so nice we wanted to see what it was like to sit on it, and we got caught up talking. You have such a nice boat......"


We have a restaurant in the parking lot of our marina. It's not affiliated with the marina. It's a popular spot for breakfast on the weekend and there is usually a wait. Despite signage indicating it is a private marina, people wander down the dock while waiting for tables. They wander down the finger piers. I catch them peeking into windows.
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:53 PM   #11
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If I find someone on my boat, depending upon my mood, the only exit off my boat is off the transom .....
I have been broken into and my wallet and money left with the intruders.
At the time, I did not have a gun on board. I put the word out, 'they' will not be leaving via the dock. That really pissed me off. Now, I am not saying I am armed but, ..... They will hear a bang and they will start leaking.
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Old 10-14-2020, 01:39 PM   #12
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In 2013 when we were in Ottawa tied on the wall young guy jumped on our boat at 2:15 am just after the bars closed. His girlfriend was on the dock taking pictures of him next to our name and home port banner that was tied on the flybridge rail.
Luckily for him my wife got to our door before me and obstructed me from getting out fast enough to catch him.
He jumped from the trunk cabin over the rail and onto the cement walkway and they both ran like hell.
I talked to the police the next day and they didn’t really care that he was on my second floor balcony.
Funny thing is the next day I saw the same guy walking by. I knew it was him cause when he realized I recognized him he took off running again.
His look was priceless
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:00 PM   #13
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I'm sure I'm in the minority, but it it wouldn't really bother me if someone stepped onto my boat to get a photo taken. No harm done unless they were on the bow with stilettos or something like that.
I wander the docks and peek in windows as well. I don't generally climb aboard someone else's boat, unless the have a lanyard slapping and then I have no hesitation and tying it off properly.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:12 PM   #14
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Not sure peeking in windows is better than stepping on board.....usually both are discouraged by liveaboards at a marina for obvious reasons.....

Unfortunately a lot of non boat types look at boats at a marina like cars in a parking garage....eyeballing, posing and peeking seem natural.

Stepping aboard shouldn't be in that group....kinda ranks up there with people who walk through unfinished houses...but still done.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:17 PM   #15
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If you step into the cockpit of my boat you will be surprised when the siren goes off.

I also get a text message, and the cameras are recordinbg away as well
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:20 PM   #16
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Was tied to a small municipal dock with another boat on the Illinois river while doing the Great Loop. Apparently a Hood-Lum was interested in obtaining the other boats bicycles on the upper deck. While I missed the 3am encounter, I was told the would be thief had an allergic reaction to the racking of the Remington 870.

This isn't an issue at my summer or winter marinas as they both have employees around and night security patrols. I do fear it more when at other marinas...especially if I'm on board. One of the reasons I prefer to anchor out.

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Old 10-14-2020, 02:29 PM   #17
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I too would find it quite disconcerting to have someone hop on the boat for a photo shoot or whatever. But I also think a lot of it is an innocent cultural difference. The people I know who have had such boardings have always been for a photo shoot of some sort, and are invariably Asians. Different norms in different places, and for them it's not an act of rudeness, and they are unaware that we might consider it to be one. Lots of things we do without thinking twice are considered rude in other cultures, and vice versa. Nobody (or few people) mean to offend. We just don't know what we don't know.


For an example more local, just think about the mooring ball etiquette discussion we had here on FT. In some regions it's normal to pick up an unused mooring, knowing you may be asked to move if the owner returns. In other areas, picking up someone's mooring ball would be like walking into the house uninvited and using the toilet.


But I still don't want people hopping on my boat without an invitation.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:57 PM   #18
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I have invited a few stranger onboard for a photo op as they stood on the bow.
They were very happy for the opportunity.
WE must understand, while they are onboard we may be liable for any injury and or drowning if they "fell off" the swim platform.
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Old 10-14-2020, 02:57 PM   #19
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I wouldn't want a stranger on my boat. Posing for a pic without touching is okay though I'm not crazy about a pic that would include registration info. The one that infuriates me is or was the largely tolerated practice of "borrowing" your dinghy from the dock to get back to your mooring. This happened to me a lot in Avalon. They'd do it typically after the shoreboat went off duty. I actually got a guy arrested for doing that then saw him later that night at the bar.
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Old 10-14-2020, 03:20 PM   #20
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We were boarded at night at Lock 23 of the Erie Canal. My wife and I both thought the other was up walking around until we saw each other. I turned on the spreader lights, grabbed the machete and went out the aft cabin door. My wife and daughter got frying pans and mace and followed me out. We found two hoodlums on my fly bridge looking for something to steal. They jumped overboard laughing when I brandished the machete. Nothing you can do when they are not on board.



Later in Dow's Lake Pavilion again we heard noises on deck and jumped into coordinated action. That racoon never knew what hit him. He scrambled overboard. This time we got to laugh.
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