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Old 19-01-2008, 00:20   #1
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30 Years Between Marinas - FL Disappointment

Okay, it may not have been a full 30 years since my last trip to a marina, but that's the last one I really remember -- going up and down the docks as a teenager looking at sailboats.

Last Sunday I returned from a Caribbean cruise (Carnival, not a real sailing cruise) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and my son and I had 4 days to look around before our flight home. I wanted to hit some marinas and look at sailboats -- and dream.

But in the last 30 years there's been a big change in marinas -- they're all locked up! I was so bummed! I tried small marinas and large marinas and every single one of them required a key to get to where the boats live.

I took a bunch of pictures from shore, but I didn't get the kind of drool-inducing pictures I wanted to get. I did find one marina in Ft. Lauderdale that was open, but the boats parked there were "mega-yachts" and so far off my scope they may as well have been space ships.

So now I'm back in Alaska where it snowed another 18 inches while I was gone. And my opportunity to get close to some sailboats is past.

If I get somewhere warm again, how can I walk the docks and get up close? Is there any way these days?

Jay Jennings

PS - I did see a really cool marina in Tortola that was open but at that point I was towing a whiny boy with me and decided to wait until we got back to FL to do my boat thing -- now I'm really sorry I didn't take advantage of that one opportunity. =:(
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Old 19-01-2008, 00:35   #2
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Great post Jay!!!!!!

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Originally Posted by Jay Jennings View Post
going up and down the docks as a teenager looking at sailboats.[now] - they're all locked up!

A marina is only 'alive' when people can wander along and look at the boats and chat to those on them, and those on shore.

What fools we have been in USA and Australia to let the media scare us into being scared for our lives and property so we lock out the fun!

Mark
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Old 19-01-2008, 03:50   #3
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[HTML][/What fools we have been in USA and Australia to let the media scare us into being scared for our lives and property so we lock out the fun!HTML]

Mark
I The last time I was in Nassua all the local boats docked at the marina had hugh( 5/8"" ) chains & locks lockng them to the docks, I was very surpriced to see this,I wonder if perhaps its possable that there are people out there that will steal everything off your boat if it was not locked up?
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Old 19-01-2008, 05:21   #4
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About the only public place would be various town docks where transients tie up. They would be the best places since you might meet and talk with some of them. Private marinas mostly try to keep out the people that don't belong. Some are less than honest if you can understand that.

There is the option of just sneaking in. Sooner or later someone always leaves the gate open. You just need to look like you own a boat. Running around taking pictures might draw attention to yourself. The other option is to ask. You could go into the office and ask to look around leaving your car as a hostage.

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I wonder if perhaps its possible that there are people out there that will steal everything off your boat if it was not locked up?
It's more the impression than the reality. Many people in marina's feel there are 1,000's of people trying to steal their boat if only they had the chance.

Gated marinas seem to me to be the best place to steal things. You get around the gate and there is no competition or casual people strolling by looking at boats. The owners are never there and the employees are never around. Carry a duffle bag and wear a silly hat and you fit in as you wave to the security cameras.
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Old 19-01-2008, 06:12   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Jennings View Post
Okay, it may not have been a full 30 years since my last trip to a marina, but that's the last one I really remember -- going up and down the docks as a teenager looking at sailboats.

Last Sunday I returned from a Caribbean cruise (Carnival, not a real sailing cruise) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and my son and I had 4 days to look around before our flight home. I wanted to hit some marinas and look at sailboats -- and dream.

But in the last 30 years there's been a big change in marinas -- they're all locked up! I was so bummed! I tried small marinas and large marinas and every single one of them required a key to get to where the boats live.

I took a bunch of pictures from shore, but I didn't get the kind of drool-inducing pictures I wanted to get. I did find one marina in Ft. Lauderdale that was open, but the boats parked there were "mega-yachts" and so far off my scope they may as well have been space ships.

So now I'm back in Alaska where it snowed another 18 inches while I was gone. And my opportunity to get close to some sailboats is past.

If I get somewhere warm again, how can I walk the docks and get up close? Is there any way these days?

Jay Jennings

PS - I did see a really cool marina in Tortola that was open but at that point I was towing a whiny boy with me and decided to wait until we got back to FL to do my boat thing -- now I'm really sorry I didn't take advantage of that one opportunity. =
It's to keep the riff raff like yourself out! ha ha

Kidding of course... I'm more "riff raff" than you.

I see the same in marinas all over the world. Yes, there are people who will steal your stuff, but mostly, I think it's to keep the privacy and to keep from being hassled by those looking to wash your boat for a few bucks. After all... a thief just has to grab a dinghy and paddle over (and around the fence) to steal stuff from a boat. No fence will keep them out.
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Old 19-01-2008, 06:15   #6
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Carry a duffle bag and wear a silly hat
LOL HA HA HA HE HE.
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Old 19-01-2008, 06:23   #7
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Look for the Marinas that have a public restaurant or city/municiple docks! We found plenty in Florida while we were looking. As they say, just look like you belong there or hang out till someone open the gate.
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Old 19-01-2008, 06:52   #8
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Unfortunately Jay there is a reason. For example, one afternoon while relaxing and reading in our aft cabin I must have dozed off then woke up to some sounds. Looking up, I saw two sets of cupped hands and heads peering through the open portholes.

I went on deck and saw a middle aged couple still trying to look in.
I said, Hi, where are you from?
They told me the State.
I said, Oh, what town?
They told me the town.
I asked, what’s your address?
They hesitated and asked why?
I replied in my friendliest voice, ‘So that I can come to your home and peer in your dam windows!”

Many people view boats as simply toys or dreams, they don’t have the same respect to privacy that would be extended to a house. For liveaboards that is intolerable……. this is why I appreciate the gates.
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Old 19-01-2008, 07:32   #9
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I had two instiences this past summer after waking up in the morning relizing someone had came aboard took there dirty shoes off an walked all around our boat looking for somthing to steal , we slept right through it both times, and we had our hatch wide open , you could see the person foot prints where they stopped and looked at us sleeping, nothing was missing on our boat but the boat next to us lost a very nice fishing pole and anougher boat lost a strob light
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Old 19-01-2008, 09:34   #10
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Jay,
I too like to look at s/v in marinas. When I had my boat pulled on dry dock, I was given a key to the yard. I loved walking around that yard 5 years ago. No key, just wandering and looking. The proble is as previously mentioned, theft. Sometimes even the theif has the key because it is your fellow boaters. It is a sad state of afflairs when people steal from other people. Look at the number of gated communities. Theives still get in by the way of developments around the gated community. Boat yards are invaded by theives in dingies. In public marinas I have been approached by single women wanting a ride to anywhere, just to leave where they are. I guess they would do anything. There was a couple in California that was slain by prospecitve boat buyers.

John
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Old 19-01-2008, 09:43   #11
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Jay, there are places that are open, but if you find a dockmaster, or someone enterring the gate with a key, and just say "I wanted to show my son some boats..." and he was with you? You'd probably be let right in. Very few boat thieves take along their young children. (Well, I guess now they will start.<G>)

In many ports there are restaurants with free docking for dinner guests, those are often publicly accessible as well. Town docks, "riverwalks"...Dunno what you'll have up in Alaska, I suppose that will really vary with the town you are in.
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Old 19-01-2008, 10:25   #12
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Thanks for the comments.

I would have done the "look like you fit in and go through the gate when you can" routine but the biggest (coolest-looking) marina we visited actually had signs saying entering without authorization was against the law and even quoted the statute number. Breaking "policy" with my son around is fine; breaking the law is something I hesitate to do (even when I think it's a silly law).
(Sidebar: My son was appalled when I led him from a public beach through a hotel to get to the street, ignoring the "Guests Only" signs on the walkway. Walk with confidence, give the little "hello head nod" to people, and who would think you didn't belong?)
I did go to the office and asked about the locks, hoping they'd offer us a sneak in, but I probably should have worn my hat. My son is nice and conservative-looking, but, as you can see from my pic, I'm not. =:)

I'll look for town docks for transients, etc. next time.

One more thing...

...I don't peek in the windows of boats I'm looking at. I tend not to even stand *next* to the boat I'm looking at. With this haircut I make an effort not to do things that make others any more uncomfortable.

Again, thanks for the suggestions/comments.

Jay Jennings
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Old 19-01-2008, 10:33   #13
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In many places people will steal just about anything not locked down on a boat or off a dock.
They will untie boats and set them adrift
They will sue marinas and boat owners if they were to trip over a cord or line, God forbid a tipsy sightseer be eletrocuted or fall off the dock through their own stupidity.
I like nothing more than walking along docks looking at boats and chatting with folks there and have spent many many hours doing this. I hate to see docks locked up but I can surely understand why it must be. I live in a rural area no one thought of locking their doors or sheds in the past now it just has to be done, and it is a shame!
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Old 19-01-2008, 11:11   #14
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Jay - In reference to the boats being chained and locked to the dock ... ummm .. that's usually the Marina that does that. Some people who own boats don't pay their dockage and/or have a disagreement with the marina - So the marina locks the boat to the dock. Now ain't THAT sad!

MOST places I've gone, leave your ID with the marina clerk, and they'll give you a key. They hair may make them think about it. ::shrug:: Price we pay for being 'different'.
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Old 24-01-2008, 01:01   #15
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Funny. When I was a kid we had our boat down in Kemah, TX (maybe 10-15 years ago). I went back there last year to see that opposite happen. I thought I was going to have to climb over fences to get in since back then it was always locked. When we got there it was wide open and I could walk around and do anythign I wanted, even the parkting lot was open

Too bad we couldn;t find the old boat theough
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