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Old 03-24-2014, 12:28 PM   #41
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Not 15 minutes, but I have been stopped in my vehicle for random safety checks or license and registration checks by the CT state and local police in the past.
I think there is not a choice other than to tolerate it.
In FL on the road you must stop if you see the flashing light. However you do not need to comply with a vehicle search unless the stopping officer has reason to believe you are breaking the law.
However if you refuse a vehicle search expect further scrutiny.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:29 PM   #42
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I suppose you could try to outrun them, let us know how that works out as I've never tried that.
Actually on the lake we lived on in NC, a very fast boat did outrun the Wildlife Commission Game Warden one day. They just overlooked one factor as they "escaped" far up the lake. Airplanes. The Wildlife Commission also had a plane overhead which was following, so a few minutes later the game warden who was outrun pulls up to the man's boathouse and then walks up to his house. Jail quickly followed as a misdemeanor ticket had escalated into a felony one as well. So moral of story is 90 mph Hustler can outrun 60 mph Game Warden but 160 mph plane can outrun him.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:06 PM   #43
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Not 15 minutes, but I have been stopped in my vehicle for random safety checks or license and registration checks by the CT state and local police in the past.
.
That's exactly my point. I don't think you would be so complacent if that stop took 15 to 30 minutes.

Also, I'm in the USCG Aux and in Sector NY, they pretty much make it a policy not to stop boats that have an inspection sticker, as that is exactly why the Aux does the inspections, so the Gold side doesn't have to.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:11 PM   #44
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We were leaving the sales dock, bringing my new to me boat to it's new slip. We hadn't gone 2 miles before spotting the USCG. Being the only boat on the estuary it didn't surprise me when he lit us up and came over. He asked us to maintain spped and direction, then asked for our papers. Since the boat is in the process of getting the paperwork returned all I had were "traveling Papers" issued by the company who provided the title work and a letter from my insurer.

They asked a couple of questions about origin and destination, took the papers, backed off the starboard quarter while they searched the computer for whatever they were looking for. 5 minutes later they handed back my papers and wished me a nice day. No boarding, no problems.

Me, on the other hand, I was wondering what kind of boat I just bought. 9 years of owning a Beneteau sailboat and I never was boarded or stopped by the USCG. 10 minutes into ownership of my OA and I'm getting pulled over.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:54 PM   #45
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It is interesting that no one would tolerate a 15-30 stop in their car in this country.
Just saying.
In my state they have annual inspections...only recently it became a joke...that 's every year.

I have been boating avidly for 50 years and only stopped once by the USCG, once by Marine police.Almost every bad thing you hear about inspections has to be taken with a grain of salt.

As the Operations Officer then Executive Officer of one of the largest busiest USCG activities for over 3 years...there were virtually no complaints in thousands of boardings that I remember...if there was...the boater was usually part of the problem too.
As SoF pointed out...keep compliant, keep sober, be polite and I really doubt youll have much of an issue.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:22 PM   #46
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Get your local USCG Auxiliary to do a courtesy safety inspection and slap on the sticker. I've never been boarded as the Coasties see the sticker, wave and move on to some poor soul who doesn't have one.
Good advice. Do it now - not later. You may not pass the first time. You need time to correct their findings. That's why the CG acknowledges them.
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:10 PM   #47
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The only stop I had last year was NOAA. We were in the middle of Sumner Strait, fishing in basically flat water. They were the only boat I could see when they came running up, talked to us for about 5 minutes, took our fishing license info (after I asked if they wanted it), and then took off. I was boarded a couple of years ago by the USCG. Since my son at that time was assigned on the USCGC Adelie doing the same thing with their small boat, I put on my Adelie hat. They pulled along side, asked about firearms, asked to come aboard, looked at few things, asked about my son, and asked if we were going shrimping. When I responded we were heading out for some spring skiing, the conversation immediately went to where since they had one skier on their crew. We asked to take pictures and they continued on their way.

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Old 03-24-2014, 05:03 PM   #48
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Polite and respectful is the order of the day in these cases. I try to operate and maintain my boat in a professional manner, and have no problem dealing with other professionals doing their job. An Ohio watercraft officer shared his story. One holiday weekend, he was doing random safety inspections at a busy local launch ramp. Seeing a large family with a rather decrepit looking boat preparing to launch, he asked if he could do a voluntary safety inspection for them while they waited. The husband became very loud and belligerent, bragging about his knowledge and experience, and didn't need no stinkin' voluntary safety inspection. The officer said very well, and left him alone. When they got their boat in the water, he approached them with a mandatory safety inspection, and wrote him up for numerous violations (out dated safety equipment, not enough life jackets, etc.) and ordered the boat back on the trailer. Extreme? Maybe. Did the owner have it coming? I think so. The jerk was willing to compromise the safety of his family. The officer tried to be nice about it, but got berated in public while doing his job on a holiday. You reap what you sow.
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:18 PM   #49
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......Also, I'm in the USCG Aux and in Sector NY, they pretty much make it a policy not to stop boats that have an inspection sticker, as that is exactly why the Aux does the inspections, so the Gold side doesn't have to.
Are you saying that the USCG Aux has the power to stop and inspect boats? They have the legal right to just as the actual USGC?
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:58 PM   #50
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Are you saying that the USCG Aux has the power to stop and inspect boats? They have the legal right to just as the actual USGC?
Think the gold side he is referring to is the actual USCG.

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Old 03-24-2014, 06:00 PM   #51
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Think the gold side he is referring to is the actual USCG.

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Old 03-24-2014, 06:30 PM   #52
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Here's a question that has been troubling me for a long time. I have had a CG Aux inspection every year, in fact I had one yesterday. Over the years I have been boarded by the CG twice and by Fish and Wildlife once. All were courteous and efficient and there were never any issues.

One of the boardings took place on the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal with a strong current running. I was asked to go to slow speed, maintain heading etc., and a team of two climbed aboard while a third followed in their patrol boat. I was asked to produce documents. I did not deem it safe to leave the helm and told them so. They asked if anyone else on board could drive the boat. I called below and had my wife get out of bed (she had not been feeling well--suffers from migraine) and she took the helm while I retrieved documents etc. After looking at our documents, and seeing the CG Aux inspection sticker they wished us a pleasant trip and departed without an inspection.

A cruising friend of mine told me that I was not obligated to comply if I felt there was a danger to my crew or vessel and that I should not have aroused the Admiral who wasn't feeling well. I felt that discretion was the better part of valor in this case.

As if the CG gods were listening, shortly thereafter he was approached for a boarding while underway. He did not feel it was a safe area to stop and refused to be boarded. He said that he would stop in a safer area. When he finally did stop he was issued a fine of $750 for resisting a boarding (not sure of that terminology but that is the essence). He intends to contest the fine.

At last, my question--what do you do if you feel a boarding is unsafe? What are our rights? Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:34 PM   #53
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We are far more relaxed our side of the 'pond'. We don't have this degree of intervention from the authorities. I guess it's because we don't have the same security concerns or population pressure on our waterways.

Toward the north of the county we do seem to more active in patrolling the waterways, but I believe that is just to ensure none of the Queenslanders flee south of the Tweed river.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:30 PM   #54
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.............. A cruising friend of mine told me that I was not obligated to comply if I felt there was a danger to my crew or vessel and that I should not have aroused the Admiral who wasn't feeling well. I felt that discretion was the better part of valor in this case.

As if the CG gods were listening, shortly thereafter he was approached for a boarding while underway. He did not feel it was a safe area to stop and refused to be boarded. He said that he would stop in a safer area. When he finally did stop he was issued a fine of $750 for resisting a boarding (not sure of that terminology but that is the essence). He intends to contest the fine.

At last, my question--what do you do if you feel a boarding is unsafe? What are our rights? Thanks for your thoughts.
There are lots of Internet "lawyers" out there and your friend is one of them. I think you did the right thing. If I had no one else to operate the boat I would suggest that either one of them operate it or I could just tell them where to look for whatever it was they wanted. The other choice would be to let them board but keep moving to a safe location before leaving the helm.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:35 PM   #55
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I would never refuse a boarding. I would ask to go to safer conditions if dicey. I think there is a big difference in the CG's eyes. If they don't agree to me moving, then issue is settled and I stop. Refusing gets them spooled up, rightfully so.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:44 PM   #56
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There are lots of Internet "lawyers" out there and your friend is one of them. I think you did the right thing. If I had no one else to operate the boat I would suggest that either one of them operate it or I could just tell them where to look for whatever it was they wanted. The other choice would be to let them board but keep moving to a safe location before leaving the helm.
We see how that worked out for the friend. $750 fine but he intends to contest. No telling how much time and energy expended already and now more to go. Even if he wins, then what will he have proved? Being right by law doesn't necessarily benefit you.

Asking for options, expressing concern while the desire to cooperate, all are options. As you indicated, letting them board but asking then if you could pull to a safer location or anchor or dock. The poster here saw the easy solution to wake his wife. Had he been alone, perhaps idle and run quickly for the papers (a good reason to keep them at the helm). Most of the time the agents are going to be reasonable. However, even if they are unreasonable, playing lawyer and contesting or questioning their authority is only likely to make things first.

People tried to compare to policemen and I'll assure you that the average policeman, if you play armchair lawyer with, will make you regret that in one way or another. It's like refusing a search. Yes, if you've got something you shouldn't that may make sense. But it's likely to lead to a long time sitting beside the road, perhaps dogs brought on site to sniff, maybe even a warrant to look. The moment you say "no" then the determination to search will increase dramatically.

99% of Coast Guard persons are going to be courteous and appropriate. They're attempting to do a job as they understand they're supposed to. 1% may resent you having a boat. But with either group, courtesy and respect and cooperation are the smart move.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:35 PM   #57
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During my 25 years of boating, I've only had two interactions with policing authorities: once when I was illegally anchored in the area of the Suisun reserve fleet (private security):

(can't find the photo, but it has been previously posted, so you are spared.)

And when I attempted to pass under the new Oakland span of the Bay Bridge (California Highway Patrol), here after making a detour to the east:




Had thought it would be OK since a yacht had just passed under the span:



Can imagine owners of yachts have their privileges.

There were no problems. Just followed directions.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:42 PM   #58
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I was stopped by the USCG not too far outside my marina. They were professional and very polite. I had my three year old with us and we were all wearing type III life jackets (I firmly believe this sets the tone for inspections). Everything was quick and painless. We were complimented for wearing our jackets and the boarding party were commenting how they've never seen a boat like mine. They departed after a little chit chat and that was it. My only gripe is one of them left a black streak on my bright white gunwale, which took a lot of scrubbing to remove. I swear the sole of their boots are made out of tar!
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:31 PM   #59
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As a skipper you are responsible for the safety of your vessel.

That said...you cannot refuse to be boarded...while it would never be approved in most of the cases described here....disabling fire could possibly be brought to bear on your vessel if you did not comply.

A seasoned skipper should be able to work it out with the boarding team...but when all is said and done...if they disagree...prepare to be boarded.

The only time I was ever boarded by a county guy with USCG too...they came aboard before I even knew it....they said they were blowing horns and sirens but 120 Lehman noise at 1600 RPMs and a little music sure didn't drown out a hearty attempt in contacting me.

And yes...if they do damage during a routine boarding you can file a claim...whether approved or not may depend on a few things....request through the proper paperwork a copy of the recorded transmissions or broadcast clearly on 16 that while you invite the boarding...at this time it would put your vessel at risk and clearly articulate your concern.

read this if you really want to know what a boarding officer is thinking about....

http://www.boatswainsmate.net/BM/BOStudyGuide.pdf
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:33 PM   #60
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Along the same lines... the instructor in the Captain's course told us now to volunteer that we were licensed Captains because the boarding chiefs would hold us to a higher standard... any experiences here?
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