Man with canoe lives on Boston Harbor

Posted: 12/03/12 at 10:45 pm EST      Last Updated: 12/04/12 at 3:31 pm EST

BOSTON (WHDH) -- A strange sight in Boston Harbor -- someone snapped a photo of a man in a tent on a barge in the middle of the water.

That man is Michael Smith. He said no harbor, or barge, is his home. His only constant is his mode of transportation -- his canoe.

“It only makes sense, I mean much of Boston is based on maritime tradition, anyone can know our history. The USS Constitution is right over here. It’s glorious. I was on their dock,” said Smith.

Although docking can sometimes be a problem, Smith said it is a matter of practicality.

“The canoe works. I’m able to carry around many more pounds of gear than I would if I were walking around with a backpack,” said Smith.

Even though he doesn’t stay in one place for long, Smith has caught the attention of the U.S. Coast Guard.

“He’s kind of living off the area out there, both on land and on the water. But we certainly have visibility on him. We patrol every day along with the Boston police and as of right now he’s not doing anything illegal,” said Lt. Joe Klinker of the U.S. Coast Guard.

What Smith is doing is considered recreation, and is legal, as long he stays in public waters.

Smith said while some people may find his lifestyle obnoxious he hopes it brings attention to the needs of the homeless.

“People have to do what they have to do to survive and you gotta have self esteem to make it. You have to allow people to keep their dignity,” said Smith.

From day-to-day Smith said he doesn’t know where he’ll stay. Smith said the weather was nice on Monday so he didn’t need the tent.

The Coast Guard and Boston Police said as long as Smith is out on the water they’ll keep on eye on him.

Have a story idea or news tip for 7NEWS?

Email:, or call us at 1-800-280-TIPS.