July 14, 2023

Battling Sneakaboard Tenants: Addressing the Challenges in Southern California

Southern California's picturesque coastlines, vibrant marinas, and boating communities attract enthusiasts from far and wide. However, with the popularity of coastal living comes the challenge of dealing with "sneakaboard" tenants. These individuals unlawfully occupy boats without the owner's permission, creating a range of issues for both boat owners and marina operators. In this blog post, we will address the challenges of battling sneakaboard tenants in Southern California and explore potential solutions to protect boat owners and preserve the integrity of marinas.

  1. Understanding the Issue:

Sneakaboard tenants are individuals who live on boats without proper authorization, often taking advantage of lax security measures or loopholes in regulations. Their presence poses a threat to the safety and security of marinas, as well as the rights of boat owners. Sneakaboards can lead to increased wear and tear on facilities, unauthorized access to utilities, potential damage to vessels, and disruption of the overall boating community.

  1. Strengthening Security Measures:

One effective approach to combatting sneakaboard tenants is to implement robust security measures within marinas. This may include installing surveillance cameras, increasing patrolling and monitoring activities, and utilizing access control systems such as key cards or gate codes. By enhancing security, marinas can deter unauthorized individuals from residing on boats and promptly identify and address any suspicious activities.

  1. Enforcing Regulations and Policies:

Marina operators should enforce clear and well-communicated regulations and policies regarding boat residency. This includes strict adherence to lease agreements, verifying boat ownership and occupancy, and conducting regular inspections to ensure compliance. By actively monitoring and enforcing these rules, marinas can maintain a safe and harmonious environment for all boat owners.

  1. Collaboration with Law Enforcement:

Establishing a close working relationship with local law enforcement agencies can significantly aid in tackling the sneakaboard tenant issue. Marina operators should report any unauthorized occupancy or suspicious activities to the authorities, providing them with all relevant information. Regular communication and collaboration with law enforcement agencies can help deter sneakaboard tenants and address any legal implications associated with their presence.

  1. Public Awareness and Education:

Raising public awareness about the issue of sneakaboard tenancy is crucial. Educating boat owners about the risks and consequences of allowing unauthorized individuals to live on their vessels can help prevent the problem at its source. Marina operators can also educate the boating community about the importance of reporting any suspicious activities or unauthorized occupants. By fostering a sense of responsibility and vigilance among boat owners, the community can actively contribute to addressing the issue.


Battling sneakaboard tenants in Southern California requires a multi-faceted approach involving enhanced security measures, enforcement of regulations, collaboration with law enforcement, and public education. By implementing these strategies, marinas can create a safer and more secure environment for boat owners while preserving the integrity of the boating community. It is essential for all stakeholders, including marina operators, boat owners, and local authorities, to work together to address this challenge effectively. Through collective efforts, Southern California's boating communities can ensure that unauthorized occupancy on boats becomes a thing of the past, fostering a thriving and law-abiding marine environment.

Charlie Hardcastle
Charlie is Editor-in-Chief of Sea Magazine
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