Local boaters are upset about marina thefts

They want additional security cameras and Wi-Fi

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Several people who lease slips in the Port of Camas-Washougal marina have had their boats broken into at least once.

The most recent thefts occurred during the late evening of Jan. 30 or early morning of Jan. 31.

Port Executive Director David Ripp said Monday the port is aware of 11 boats that were burglarized.

“Not all of them had items stolen,” he said. “It was just obvious that someone had been on their boat.”

There are 350 slips in the marina, and six security cameras.

Ripp said it is possible that the port could add more cameras this year.

Unlike the July 22, 2015, thefts — which resulted in a surveillance video of two juveniles in the marina at 10:47 p.m. — there are no camera images of thieves from the most recent break-ins.

Several boaters showed up at the Feb. 2 port commission meeting to voice their frustrations with current security measures and to suggest possible solutions.

Don Esson, a boater from Camas, said an empty parking lot by the port office and marina, 24 S. “A” St., Washougal, could make it attractive for thieves to break into boats at night.

“Add quality video cameras to apprehend these people,” he said.

Tenants use an electronic key to have access into the marina.

Esson suggested allowing people to live on their boats could detract potential thieves at night.

Ripp said the port is not equipped to handle full-time residents, but tenants are allowed to stay overnight four days in a 10-day period.

Robin McIvor, a tenant on “J” Row for four years, said the marina has become a “shopping mall” for thieves.

“People are shopping in our boats,” she said.

McIvor thinks the thieves are arriving by boat.

“The perimeter is not secure,” she said. “I pay for a secure marina.”

During the summer of 2015, McIvor’s boat was broken into twice. Fishing lead and holder trays, a barbecue grill, pliers, a knife and lures were taken.

The more recent thefts involved the removal of a wireless speaker and electronics splitter from her boat.

McIvor thinks the port should add more security cameras and aim them to capture images of boats that enter the marina from the river access areas. She said another option is to hire a night watch/security guard that could patrol the area.

Ernie Stille, of Camas, suggested a Metro Watch employee could check the marina at random times.

That person could walk the docks and make an appearance, he said.

Stille also suggested the addition of motion lights on all of the rows of the marina.

He has had a boat moored on “I” row for a decade, after being a “B” Row tenant for five years.

“Boats are coming in at 2 or 3 a.m.,” Stille said, regarding his theory about the people who are committing the thefts. “They are rummaging through boats.

“They could be transients,” he added.

In addition to installing additional security cameras, he recommends the port add signs with the message, “Area under Video Surveillance.”

In July 2015, approximately $2,600 worth of fishing gear was taken from Stille’s boat.

The value of the items stolen in January was closer to $250. They included a barbecue grill, an electric skillet, a coffee pot, an LED solar-powered security light and two filet knives.

Stille has added several security alarms on and around his boat.

Jim Jordan, who has a boat on “I” Row, said he has experienced three thefts in the marina in five years.

“We’re an easy target,” he said. “We should feel secure and not lose our property.

“I have lost rods and reels,” Jordan added. “I’m still grieving over those.”

Jeff Carter, a new marina tenant, suggested the port add Wi-Fi to the marina, so he could have a webcam in his boat.

Washougal Police Cmdr. Allen Cook said sometimes the items that are stolen are not locked up and are readily available.

Anyone with information about the thefts at the marina should call the WPD at 835-8701.