Dear PoPville – How Do I Get Rid of this Illegally Parked Boat?


“Dear PoPville,

I’m writing to get advice about an illegally parked boat off 14th, between Belmont and Florida. It’s been parked in an alley, in a loading zone, off and on for a year and has been parked there continuosly for at least the past month. It’s taking up a large portion of the loading zone and is making it pretty crowded when all the moving trucks and cars park back there. I’ve called 311 numerous times to report it but nothing has happened. Even when cars get ticketed in the alley, I never see a ticket on the boat. Who else should I contact about having the boat removed?”

53 Comment

  • I know this sounds kind of strange but you may want to try 9-1-1. I do know they handle removal of cars from emergency no parking zones, so it may work here as well.

    • Yes, this. 911 handles reports of cars parked illegally that need to be ticketed & towed. 911 will dispatch the officer out to you. 311 can’t do anything for you.

      • Though, I once did this before work and when I came home, there was no ticket. I called 911 again and they said the didn’t ticket it because they said there was no complainant there (weird, huh?) They said they would send someone out again, but I had to be there when they arrived.

        • Yes, you need to be there when the police arrive to ensure that the proper car is ticketed. They won’t issue one without verification.
          Though, you might be able to leave a note on the car window for the police.

          • Except that they can take hours to show up! And they expect you to stand there until they decide to show up… quality government right there.

  • Get some friends, lift up the front, drag it into 14th st. Then they will have it removed for sure.

  • That boat has been parked there on and off for about 3 years. I believe it is associated with the former owner of the building whom still lives there.

  • Put a tow hitch on your car and boom! Honestly, I am surprised someone is willing to leave that thing around in a city. Pretty easy target for theft. Looks like a Mastercraft X-Star, which is a nice boat.

  • Wow, I’ve stumbled through this alley many times and always wondered how they boat managed from getting towed and or vandalized.

  • Craigslist: Free to a good home: small motorboat, 14th & Belmont.

  • I complained to this same building when the moving trucks were blocking the alley. They were nice and immediately moved the trucks. Have you tried asking the building to handle it?

  • Bet you ten bucks it’s owned by a cop.

    • That’s EXACTLY what I think, too – and I’ve had plenty of experience with boat/cops combination.

      • They really do have a thing for boats, don’t they? It must have something to do with how relaxing boating can be, or easy disposal of evidence, or something.

        • It’s has to do with overtime pay. Boys and their toys.
          In California, some have boats. But nearly ALL cops have off-road vehicles to go dune hopping in the desert. Cops love that stuff. My guess is that it’s a fun way to blow off steam and spend time with family.

          • That’s just not true. Nearly all California police officers have off-road vehicles to go dune hopping? Ok.

    • This would probably explain why it hasn’t been stolen or severely vandalized over the course of 3 years.

  • My dog pees on that thing EVERY time we walk by, I would stop him but there shouldn’t be a boat there.

  • I don’t know this alley, but is it possible that the boat is parked on private property? If it is technically parked on private property then there’s probably nothing you can do. Otherwise, wouldn’t DDOT be the relevant folks to contact for illegal parking (apart from 311 or 911)?

    • Correct, If you pull up the property shapes for that area, the loading dock appears to be private property. Just because the pavement’s publicly accessible doesn’t mean its in the public right of way.

      If you’re looking for a quick way to see if paved space is public or private, take a look at how wide the ally entrance is. If the interior portion is wider at any point, chances are those parts are private property.

      • actually that’s not exactly true. you can’t block the right of way, regardless of whether it’s private property. it’s the reason why people with driveways on the front side of their property aren’t allowed to block the sidewalk, even if the car is ‘technically’ on their driveway.

        • I didn’t mean to imply you could block a ROW, The OP stated it was blocking the loading zone, not the ally itself, and after looking at the property lines it appears the space is adjacent to and a bumpout from the ally.

    • That’s what I was wondering. If it’s in a “loading zone,” couldn’t that zone belong to the building? If so, then it’s up to the building’s management to act. If they choose not to, it really isn’t your business.

  • Try e-mailing your councilmember (I think Jim Graham) — D.C. government agencies often pay a lot more attention to requests from councilmembers than they do from ordinary residents.

    • See, e.g., the future Bacon Funeral Home.



      • LOL! Point taken. 🙂
        I think towing an illegally parked boat is a lot simpler (and therefore more achievable) than getting the Bacon Funeral Home to comply with city requirements, though.

  • Wait for the next heavy rain storm and sail it away?

  • Have you tried posting a note asking the owner to move it? In the note you can offer to follow any of the above recommendations if the owner hasn’t found an alternative by month’s end. You can even point them to local boat storage options.

  • You could just mind your own business and leave it alone

    • see, thats how things just get worse.
      “it’s illegal, but i’ll just let it slide. and let that slide. and that. and that. and that…..”

      • Yeah, first a parking violation than a crack murder

        • Then not than. I certainly don’t want a grammar ticket

        • Cops should know a thing or two about the Broken Windows Theory, considering it’s been pounded into the heads for the last 20 years.

        • not that extreme, but it is like how one asshole driver, makes other drivers angrier and more aggressive.
          when you see people disobey the law and get away with it, pretty soon more and more people do ,and everyones quality of life goes down.

          so, you’re wrong in your premise that it’s not our business. it most certainly is. thats the point of a democracy.

          • Oooohhhhh….I thought the point of democracy was to protect freedom and encourage participation in governance, not to stifle behavior that may inconveniences someone. My mistake

          • anon,
            thats the same thing. participation in governance.

      • what’s illegal about parking your boat on your own private property? just because it annoys busybodies doesn’t make it a crime.

    • Well, it looks like we have found the owner of the boat

      • LMAO, exactly. Looks like the owner showed up!
        Mr. Owner – is the boat parked legally? Do you have permission from the building owner/management company to park it here?

        • Not a Mr. Yet another incorrect assumption

          • well, call yourself “anon” and leave dick comments, and that’s what you’re gonna get. You know who really needs to mind their own business? a person who goes to a comment board to tell other people that they are busy bodies. i mean, you can’t get much nosier than sticking yourself into a conversation just to say that.

  • I have seen a parking ticket on a boat without a car attached on D St SW between 12 and 13. It can happen.

    • Sure. Trailers are supposed to have license plates so it would be easy to enforce a ticket against the owner. I don’t know if trailers also have VINs in case there’s no license plate, but if not you can always tow it and see who comes looking for it…

  • austindc

    This falls under maritime law. You need to call the lawyers of the sea.

  • austindc

    Or board it, plunder its hold, take no prisoners, and then as you swing on a rope back to your own boat, set it on fire and laugh heartily.


    Illegal to park a boat or a boat trailer on DC public street. $1000 fine.

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