It's true that thefts happen in marinas, and even yacht clubs from time to time, but an unattended boat on the hook in an urban area is pretty inviting.
As for squatting, I have no problem with people anchoring for short term, while they are visiting, and doing so within the existing regulations as responsible boaters. I have a problem with people who anchor their boats there for the long term so they don't have to pay for moorage, insurance etc. If someone was living aboard that cat I doubt it would have been stripped in such a brazen way. Perhaps I am wrong?
I am curious though...how do you pay for power and water while you are on the hook?
Anyway the issue of squatter boats is being addressed by all the BS regulations so the problem isn't as bad as it was. Some of them tried to move to Deep Cove once Vancouver cracked down, but fortunately they were moved on pretty quickly leaving the limited space for bonafide cruisers visiting the area. But that is a topic for another thread I guess!
I hope they catch the thieves! hopefully the owner had his boat insured...
The thefts are actually more common in the marinas since it is guranteed that the boats have have no one aboard almost all the time, as you can't live-aboard and any idiot can walk down to them. I'd say most of the boats in the marina where I have my boat stored and where I work see an owner every 3-4 months if they're lucky.
Power and water and sewage cost far more on the hook. Water must be bought and transported out. Either you buy a generator and pay for fuel, repairs etc(all of which help the economy as you are concerned about since they're taxed so highly :-)) Per liter of water, and per watt of power used, and liter of sewage produced you pay paying far more than on land.
I think most liveaboards would happily pay for a mooring assuming it was:
1. Available, not with waitlists measured in years or decades as with liveaboard slips.
2. Affordable, aka the costs associated with it were in line with the costs of maintaining it and a reasonable profit.
3. Safe, well maintained. I know my anchor is oversized, modern and well built. So is my chain. I don't know that about something someone else set up.
4. Come and go freely, so if I go cruising it could be designated as transient moorage without me losing my spot, or paying exorbitant fees. For example, if I go for a 2 month cruise in the summer, I would pay 1240$ for my slip. Can't rent it out, can't cancel the moorage. 1 year leases only, due every april 1st.
The single largest expense for my boat right now is the slip fees, and I still can't live on the damn thing.
I'm all for getting rid of the derelict boats, ones that are so unsafe as to pose a menace that sort of thing, but there should be some way to live on a boat, I'm not looking for a free lunch, there isn't any such thing. I do want to live aboard, but there is no way to do so legally here except to anchor out.