Hot Barnacle Summer: NPD's Eye-Catching Tactic For Repeat Parking Scofflaws

Jason Graziadei •

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Forget the boot. The Barnacle is what you need to worry about.

The Nantucket Police Department’s parking enforcement mechanism known as “The Barnacle” has had a larger presence this summer around the downtown area. The yellow device is affixed to the windshield – rather than a wheel – of an offending vehicle with more than $250 in outstanding parking tickets. It obscures the driver’s view, preventing the operator from safely driving away from the spot without first contacting the police department to pay the outstanding tickets.

The Barnacle uses commercial-grade suction cups to latch onto windshields “with 1,000 pounds of force, making forcible removal next to impossible,” according to the company.

While the police department has had the Barnacle devices for four years now, Lt. Angus MacVicar said there’s been more deployments this summer than in years’ past.

“It may be odd-looking, but it's an extremely effective device,” MacVicar said. “It has the same effect (as a boot) but it’s considerably easy to attach and unattach. You can affix it to a windshield with ease as well as remove.”

The Barnacle is typically utilized by the department’s full-time downtown officer Jerry Mack, rather than one of the community service officers who are usually the ones writing the tickets.

But how easy is it for someone to remove on their own? According to the company, it’s nearly impossible, and putting the defroster on ain’t gonna work.

“ The device’s smart technology adjusts the suction level to respond to changes in climate and temperature, so using the defroster isn’t an option,” the company states. “Removing the entire windshield would trigger the tamper alarm, and it would be challenging to find an auto shop that would comply with this illegal request.”

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