Port staff and boat owners explore security solutions for marina

Options include installing additional cameras and providing Wi-Fi for tenants

Another theft has occurred in the Port of Camas-Washougal marina.

It involved a chair and two fishing rods that were taken from a boat moored in “B” Row, according to Port Executive Director David Ripp.

During the Feb. 16 port commission meeting, Ripp said providing Wi-Fi in the marina would cost $10,000 for parts and labor.

“We are not experts on maintaining that,” he said. “If it goes down on the weekend, that is a concern.”

The cost of providing Wi-Fi could become part of the port’s budget for this year, if commissioners decide to delay the purchase of equipment that would be used to sweep the Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail. The sweeper, estimated to cost $15,000, can also be used to clean parking lots and the runway at Grove Field Airport.

Ernie Stille, a fisherman who has experienced thefts from his boat, has previously suggested the port enable marina tenants to have access to Wi-Fi, so they could install their own security systems.

He recently added a videocamera and audible alarms in the moorage slip that he rents from the port.

“With Wi-Fi, I could link up pictures to my computer and help police to catch this guy,” Stille said, during public comments.

He has spent approximately $300 on equipment to deter thefts from his boat.

In July 2015, approximately $2,600 worth of fishing gear was taken from Stille’s boat. The value of items stolen Jan. 31, was closer to $250.

Ten other boats were burglarized in late January. Not all of them had items stolen.

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

The cost of adding four cameras, completing upgrades and placing fiber/wiring to the fuel dock is estimated at $20,000 to $25,000.

Ripp said cameras are not going to stop thieves.

“Do not leave items in the boats,” he said, during the meeting. “It is similar to cars. Do not leave briefcases in cars.”

Don Esson, a boater, said it is impractical to take supplies home.

“I like to have my boat ready for use,” he said.

“You are nitpicking about spending a few thousands of dollars versus the millions [of dollars] of the boats’ value,” Esson added.

He recommended port officials check with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

“There are rings that have targeted marinas,” Esson said. “At midnight, there are no cars in the parking lot. We need some type of security here.”

Commissioner Bill Ward wants Washougal police officers to drop by the marina. Ripp said officers have fobs to access the area.

Additional discussions regarding marina security are expected to occur at the next port commission meeting Tuesday, March 1, at 5 p.m., in the port office meeting room, 24 S. “A” St., Washougal.