Much like the Hatfields and McCoys, this feud is over territory and owners’ right, but, rather than Kentucky backcountry, this fight takes place on the waters of Havre de Grace’s Yacht Basin.
First came the complaints of nuisance and negligent boat owners causing problems with fellow mariners at the Yacht Basin. Then came assertions of unequal treatment, unfair punishment and even unlawful operation and expenditure of taxpayer money at the city marina. Next we heard about improperly designed and incorrectly installed railings, parking spaces and other equipment.
And now we have a dead body.
Missing since late February, 53-year-old Donald Walter McGlothlin was found Monday on Swan Creek by a pair of fisherman. He had died from drowning and hypothermia, or perhaps some combination of the two.
Mr. McGlothlin was also one of the few residents of the Tydings Park Marina – he lived in a house boat on Pier 4.
Here is what the Havre de Grace Police Department had to say about this death:
On March 30, 2008 at approximately 3:10 PM, a report was received by Harford County Emergency Operations that a body was sighted in the area of Swan Creek and the Chesapeake Bay, Harford County, Maryland. The report was made by two persons fishing in the area.
The Aberdeen Proving Ground Police Department responded and assisted while the body was recovered and transported to the Tydings Park in Havre de Grace, for further investigation.
The deceased was transported to the Medical Examiners Office in Baltimore for post mortem examination and identification purposes, which took place on March 31, 2008.
On February 28, 2008 the Havre de Grace Police Department began an investigation into the report of a missing person named Donald Walter McGlothlin, 53 years of age, who had a last known address of Pier 4, Tydings Park Marina, Havre de Grace, Maryland. Mr. McGlothlin was reported missing by a friend. It was later discovered that Mr. McGlothlin was last seen or heard from on February 19, 2008.
The investigation of Mr. McGlothlin, being missing, did include an underwater search in the Tydings Park Marina, which was conducted on March 2, 2008 by the Susquehanna Hose Company Dive Team.
The identification of the deceased subject recovered on March 30, 2008 is that of Donald Walter McGlothlin.
Marine resources from the Perry Point Fire Department, Aberdeen Proving Ground Police Department, Susquehanna Hose Company and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources assisted in the recovery of Mr. McGlothlin.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Maryland State Police Crime Lab Services assisted in the identification and investigation of the death of Mr. McGlothlin.
Drowning and hypothermia are listed as causes of death for Mr. McGlothlin.
The body washed up just a day before city resident and former Yacht Basin boat slip renter Richie Clements sent a letter to Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne Dougherty inquiring about, among other things, improperly installed, unsuitable and even missing railings at the marina:
Wayne..Mayor HdG Md.It has been noticed that the railings that I said were unsuitible for use and also installed improperly when piers 1 and 3 were done…have been removed for replacement.Considering that my comments and criricizim, (the forcing of the city to modify their instalition at the time they were originaly installed), are once again proven to be founded and in sound judgement I would ask the following…..How much was the cost of these 100 or so aluminum boarding ladders…to include man-hours by the city to remove them and install the replacements at just a few years old?Is the fact that they have been replaced any indication of the competance of the designer, Geri Fraley?Were they originally purchased through Susquhanna Yacht Services? (geri fraleys buisness)If so can the money be recouped from him?Who is to be held accountable for this waste of state, county and city,(waterways grant) taxpayer money?Why have I been ousted from the marina for pointing these things out to you (the city govt)?On another matter…although I dont think you care…there was a very serious complaint lodged against Mr.*******,…the city hero with the extensive criminal record…whome you love so much…reguarding …(ill let you ask)….. that happened while on duty in the PARK. All I’m willing to say is if you ignore this offer and somthing happens,(and it probably will),…you and only you will be held primarely accountible . I will also add that this matter has nothing what so ever to do with me. As a community citizen and user of the marina and park this is of grave concern.………Get back to me if you want me to escort you through an un squewed …un announced …interview…without the possibility of wittnesses being harassed or threatened in advance as has happened in the past. Remember…I have never lied to you….or been wrong… and although it bothers you its an irrefutable fact!Now its not only me! Are we all Crazey?This is the chance to partialy redemm yourself.HdG citizen and victim of political oppression and harassment..Richie Clements
So what is going on here? Is the marina unsafe? Are its owners and operators playing fast and loose with the rules and not running a tight enough ship (pardon the pun)?
More than likely, Mr. McGlothlin’s death can be chalked up as another casualty of life in a river town. Drowning is an unfortunate and unique risk that comes with living in Havre de Grace, Port Deposit and other waterfront communities.
But, if nothing else, maybe now is a good time for Havre de Grace to take a good long look at the operation, management, funding, equipment, infrastructure and everything else that goes into running the Tydings Park Yacht Basin.
In case you were wondering, here’s some information the city provides on its web site about the Yacht Basin:
The City of Havre de Grace, City Yacht Basin is located at the southernmost end of Havre de Grace adjacent to Millard J. Tydings Memorial Park. The Yacht Basin, constructed between 1956 and 1966, provides water access to the northern Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna River for the citizens of Havre de Grace and general public. The superior location of the Yacht Basin off the main channel and protected by the City on one side and Tydings Island on the other, affords an ideal location. The location provides panoramic views across the Susquehanna Flats and down the Bay toward Turkey Point and the main body of the Bay.
The Yacht Basin currently is furnished with 275 boat slips and a launching ramp which will accommodate vessels to 35 feet. Shoreline fishing access and a boardwalk provide access for non-boaters. The City of Havre de Grace maintains and manages the City Yacht Basin as an enterprise fund to provide affordable water access to the public.
- The annual rental fees from April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007 are $40/foot.
- Launching fee is $5.00 per launch.
- Transient slips are $1.00/foot per night.
- Annual rental of 275 slips
- Transient docking
- Gasoline and diesel fuel
- Sanitary marine pumpout
- Hunting & fishing licenses
- Sell bait, ice, newspapers
- Outside snack bar will accommodate 50 people
- Showers for slip users
- Boat launch ramp
- The Yacht Basin monitors channels 16 and 68
The Department of Natural Resources bases two boats in the Marina which are equipped to provide rapid and efficient responses to persons requiring routine or emergency water rescue services.
Research and Education
Within Tydings Park is a research facility operated by University of Maryland. It is the Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies (CEES), Northern Chesapeake Bay Research and Monitoring Facility. They monitor buoys in the Upper Bay. Their data collection may include:
- Wind speed and direction
- Water speed and direction, temperature, pH, turbidity
Gere Frailey, Dock Master