Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Home is a canoe in Boston Harbour

A 49-year-old man has been tying his canoe to small offshore docks in Boston Harbour and pitching his tent to sleep at night

They say no man is an island, but Michael Richard Smith has been creating his own floating homes in Boston Harbour.

The Coastguard and Boston police are keeping an eye on the unconventional camper who has been tying his canoe to small offshore docks in the city's inner harbour and pitching his tent to sleep at night.

The 49-year-old Maine native said he has been paddling the waters of metro Boston since October with all his possessions aboard a 14-foot, 40-year-old aluminium canoe he patches with duct tape when necessary.

Mr Smith detests the term "homeless" and describes himself as just another "fellow citizen."

He said he feels most secure when he sleeps out in the harbour and lists his biggest worries as the wakes of fast ferries and drunken boaters.

"It's about as safe as I could be," said Mr Smith, who has also camped on at least one inner harbour island.

"Anybody who would want to hurt me or take my things, they have to have a boat. And boat people stick together."

Coastguard spokesman Lieutenant Joe Klinker said Mr Smith had been spotted a few days ago and, while the mariner had been moving around, he had not moored anywhere where he was considered a threat to security or his own safety.

Lt Klinker said: "What it really seems like is he's trying to figure out whether it's feasible to live out there.

"A lot of people who don't have a place live by the water. But on the water is unique."

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