Boat Owners Concerned About Homeless Camp Near East Bay Marina

Several boat owners are calling a marina in the East Bay a lawless harbor where homeless people are threatening boaters and breaking into their bathrooms and showers.

The boat owners are calling on the city of Oakland to do more to protect them and clean up the area at Union Point Basin. The entrance to the marina goes through Union Point Park, and a large encampment with a number of tents and piles of debris is readily in view.

Boat owners say people from the homeless encampment are vandalizing their property and making violent threats.

One of the owners, U.S. Navy veteran Ed McKay, prefers life on the water. He’s been living in his boat at Union Point Basin for the last 20 years. He's concerned about safety and security in the area.

"The people are unpredictable. Desperate people do desperate things," McKay said. "If you’re not on you’re A-game, this is the wrong place for you to be."

McKay was referring to the dozen or so homeless people that have set up their tents along the marina, taking over the grassy lawns of Union Point Park. He said he's had five cars in 20 years and "probably three of them have been stolen."

McKay pays roughly $500 a month to moor his boat at the marina. That includes access to the bathrooms and showers. He refuses to use them because he says homeless people are constantly breaking into them, and this past summer, someone torched a nearby maintenance shed.

"They’re not safe, and I don’t want to be in a confrontation," he said. "They outnumber us by 8 to 1."

A bullet was found on the ground Wednesday, just outside the bathroom. Another boat owner who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation said: "We’re a community too, and we’re trying to co-exist with this particular community, and they’re just not keeping up the minimum end of the bargain."

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