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Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Today, Associated Press reports Boston boater, Michael Richard Smith has been creating his own floating homes in Boston Harbor. Smith detests the term "homeless" and describes himself as just another "fellow citizen."
The 49-year-old Maine native said Tuesday he's been paddling the waters of metro Boston since October with all his possessions aboard a 14-foot, 40-year-old aluminum canoe he patches with duct tape when necessary. He said he feels most secure when he sleeps out in the harbor, and lists his biggest worries as the wakes of fast ferries and drunken boaters.
"It's about as safe as I could be," said Smith, who's also camped on at least one inner harbor island. "Anybody who would want to hurt me or take my things, they have to have a boat. And boat people stick together."
On Monday night, Smith tied up and slept on a floating dock about 100 yards offshore from the New England Aquarium.
Boston Police Department's Harbor Unit has offered him city services, but he declined, police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca said Tuesday. She said Smith did accept a new life vest with reflectors and a whistle from police.
Smith is a wiry, mustachioed man with long brown hair who tucks a silk pink rose into the brim of his explorer hat. He dresses in layers to stay warm, but also doesn't seem to mind that colder weather will be coming as winter arrives.
Smith plans to sleep out in Boston Harbor all winter and prefers to concentrate on the beauty of his surroundings rather than the bareness of his accommodations.
Before sunup Tuesday, Smith saw a shooting star skitter across the New England sky and said later he made a wish meant for all people, no matter where they bunk at night.______________