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Old 03-11-2015, 12:58   #286
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
BTW, its not uncommon to see Coastie Cutters in the waters you are sailing now (W Carib). Ive never been boarded by them there, but know those who have.
Do us Brits get boarded all the time like the Americans??
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Old 03-11-2015, 14:30   #287
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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Do us Brits get boarded all the time like the Americans??

Naturally and in keeping with British custom, if the ship is short handed you may be impressed into service.

Seriously, I believe that if you are in the Florida Straits, you are fair game. They are looking for dope, illegal aliens and terror threats. If they boarded a FL boat operated by a guy with a Bronx accent----- good chance they will say hello to you also.




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Old 03-11-2015, 16:17   #288
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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Naturally and in keeping with British custom, if the ship is short handed you may be impressed into service.
...
Dang it, Snore, you beat me to making a comment about impressment.

Later,
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Old 05-01-2016, 15:26   #289
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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To take a slightly different tack, but one that remains, I believe, faithful to the spirit if not the letter of the thread; what do people do with flares that have passed the expiry date. I have dozens of the things that are creating a storage issue. Can I keep them aboard my vessel and use them first, saving the newer ones as a fallback, or is that illegal?
You are supposed to remove expired flares from the boat. If you do keep expired flares on the boat they must be separated from the good flares and clearly marked as expired.

As far as getting rid of them... some fire departments have reclamation days, but I've found there is a much much better way. Call up your local CG sector and tell them you'd like to fire off some expired flares "from a shoreside location for training purposes." I don't remember what section of the law this comes from, but this is the exact language to use. Apparently if you ask permission to do this from your boat, it's possible you will get an OK over the phone but you are still putting yourself at risk of prosecution. From the shore, it's a different story as the word "shoreside" is written into federal law.

They will probably give you the go-ahead and put out a notice on VHF and to local law enforcement agencies that you are setting off flares as a training exercise. They will ask you for exact coordinates, type of flares, contact number, etc., and you will need to call them right before and right after you set them off. I have actually gotten permission to do this on New Year's Eve at midnight on more than one occasion. One time I got a call just before midnight from the local police who said "they'd rather I didn't" but I don't think you will normally have any resistance. Just make sure you have an offshore breeze because nobody is accepting liability for you, they are just preventing a false distress signal. And it really is good practice to set them off before a real emergency arises.
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Old 05-01-2016, 18:16   #290
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

There used to be a life raft reconditioning shop just north of Ensenada on highway 1 run by The Ensenada 'bomberos'(firemen). When we had our life raft serviced and recertified, we took the expired flares from it and others we had aboard along with a couple of cases of cervesos and had a party on the beach behind their building. We invited their families, kids and had a great party eating, drinking and setting of expired flares for a couple of hours. The smoke flares were a particular favorite with the kids and it gave us an opportunity to see how to handle flares and what to expect when you lit one off. These guys were really pros and their families had a blast! Not certain you could do it in the US, though. Phil
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Old 05-01-2016, 18:23   #291
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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There used to be a life raft reconditioning shop just north of Ensenada on highway 1 run by The Ensenada 'bomberos'(firemen). When we had our life raft serviced and recertified, we took the expired flares from it and others we had aboard along with a couple of cases of cervesos and had a party on the beach behind their building. We invited their families, kids and had a great party eating, drinking and setting of expired flares for a couple of hours. The smoke flares were a particular favorite with the kids and it gave us an opportunity to see how to handle flares and what to expect when you lit one off. These guys were really pros and their families had a blast! Not certain you could do it in the US, though. Phil
I've got two doz expired flares in my garage. I'm going to take them to my kids school and set them off during their play time for the kids to see. Only the smoke flares of course, not the rockets. The school is in a controlled airspace, setting the rockets off might be frowned on
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Old 05-01-2016, 18:38   #292
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

Great Idea, Rustic... be sure and invite the local fire dept and perhaps the police so they know what is going on. It can be a fun learning experience for the kids! Perhaps you can aim the flare rockets at the local characters that cause trouble in the neighborhood! Cheers, Phil
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Old 06-01-2016, 14:25   #293
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

AS we can see there several ways to get rid of out of out dated flares, and all the above ways are very good, However, I would keep as many out dated flares as you feel comfortable carrying in your ditch bag, because you do get into trouble, you will need more than the 3 that are required by the CG, the extra flares are great fire starters if you make it to the beach. Also if a helo finds you it can help him to determine the wind direction so he can make a good approach for a landing or hoist. I would also recommend if you can afford it two handheld radios (1- Marine and 1- Aviation, with extra Batteries) as the can be heard a lot further than flares can be scene,,,, Think about it.... Be Safe...
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Old 06-01-2016, 14:43   #294
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

I've contacted two local fire departments and they were of no help. However, you can always keep old flares in your car's trunk (er "boot" if you will.) for roadside use. However, to the poster who said "You are supposed to remove expired flares from the boat. If you do keep expired flares on the boat they must be separated from the good flares and clearly marked as expired." I have to ask where did he come by this information? Who says you are supposed to remove expired flares from a boat, or keep them separate or marked? Where is that in the CFR? There is nothing wrong with keeping expired flares on board--in fact it's a good idea considering the minimum is usually only three.
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Old 07-01-2016, 06:00   #295
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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I've contacted two local fire departments and they were of no help. However, you can always keep old flares in your car's trunk (er "boot" if you will.) for roadside use. However, to the poster who said "You are supposed to remove expired flares from the boat. If you do keep expired flares on the boat they must be separated from the good flares and clearly marked as expired." I have to ask where did he come by this information? Who says you are supposed to remove expired flares from a boat, or keep them separate or marked? Where is that in the CFR? There is nothing wrong with keeping expired flares on board--in fact it's a good idea considering the minimum is usually only three.
That was me... yeah sorry for the lack of a source on that information. I heard told of people getting cited for having their expired flares mixed in with their required flares. A quick internet search shows lots of people getting this same advice from the CG, but maybe there isn't a specific regulation about it. It might come down to how patient they are when doing the safety check. If you hand them a bag of flares and the first few they pull out are expired, I can imagine certain agents not taking the time to look further.

I always kept expired flares in a separate place in a big plastic container marked "Expired Flares." I agree that having more than the minimum is a good idea. When that plastic bin was too full to hold any more, that's when I started getting permission to set them off for training purposes. Also some of my flares were expired for more than a decade and I thought it was high time to stop carrying them around, but amazingly even the oldest of them have all worked perfectly.

If anyone knows for sure I am happy to be corrected. What I do know for sure is that I definitely don't regret setting some off for training purposes with CG permission.
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Old 07-01-2016, 06:57   #296
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

Here is a relevant page from the maritime law section of my master license coursework. Nothing about keeping expired flares on board but some info on disposal...Click image for larger version

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Old 07-01-2016, 08:23   #297
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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I am former military, former law enforcement and work in cyber security today...and *I* have a freaking problem with them having "every right to board" and would have an attitude as well, especially in the case shown here.

Sorry but there is something so inherently wrong, almost dare I say evil, in the government having almost unlimited authority to board a boat, anywhere, anytime. Makes my skin crawl and blood boil a little. Not what I thought I was fighting for in the sands of the middle east.
As a Canadian who lived for many years in the U.S. I find it interesting that the prevailing attitude amongst Americans is not more in line with the quote above. I have been boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard numerous times and it was NEVER a good experience.(Maybe I have just been unlucky 10 times?) More of a " I have a gun so I am going to do anything I like " attitude. The U.S. Coast Guard is all over the Bahamas, and the Caribbean stopping and harassing recreational boater, but you never see other foreign government vessels performing the same " necessary " policing of these waters. If it was such a great way to stop crime you would think they would do the same job given that the British. Dutch, French etc have a much larger interest in many of these islands than do the Americans. If you look at the stats for illegal drug importation into the U.S.A for the last 20 years, it has gone up every single year. So I fail to see the effectiveness of the coast Guard effort, if it is indeed a drug interdiction program.
More importantly it has been my opinion that from looking at the changes, of which the Coast Guard operations are just one, that your rights as citizens since the Patriot Act has come into force has been eroded beyond belief. The American government has basically rewritten your constitution to make it possible to do whatever they want, whenever they want and you no longer have any say in the matter. I know this is not a favorable position to most Americans, but as an outsider looking in it appears to the rest of us in the world as if "1984 " has come and gone on 9/11 in your country and nobody noticed.
I could not even imagine the citizens of Canada allowing a similar thing to happen to their country without a revolution taking place.
Don't get me wrong here, I believe that the U.S. Coast Guard has always done an admirable job of search and rescue operations, and since it's formation in the 1790's as the revenue service, has done many honorable and worthwhile things including, starting in 1794, being given the mission of preventing trading in slaves from Africa to the United States.
I guess the question now is what exactly is the real mission.
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:02   #298
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

Two comments:

Old flares: If you have aerial rocket-type flares, DO NOT take them to the beach to start a fire. At least stand far away and hope for good aim if you do. They are meant to be fired in to the air.

The US Coast Guard: I have nothing but admiration for the USCG. I'm a US citizen and know how many lives they have saved over the years. I am happy to know they are around to rescue me, family, friends if needed. I have never been boarded by the USCG though. The stories I have heard from those that have have been very mixed. But the general feeling was that they were over-bearing and pretty eager to show their weapons and not always respectful of the boats. In other words, bad, scary experiences. I have also heard of very good experiences. All in all, I would not want to be boarded by the USCG but wouldn't expect a bad experience if it happened.

The most friendly boarding we ever had was by the French Navy in French Polynesia. They had semi-automatic pistols on their hips but were gentlemen to a fault. They requested permission to come aboard for an inspection and discussion and then took off their shoes when they did. We showed our papers, they had a quick look below, and had a nice conversation in the cockpit. We actually enjoyed the visit.

I have heard mixed stories about the Mexican Navy boardings but many have been fine per friends and 3rd-hand stories but they do not take off their boots and they do carry rifles at the ready held by very young, nervous looking men. I have heard they are very polite though (unless you have contraband or not have the proper documents). It might be an inconvenience to have them board but I wouldn't worry about it.

Boardings done by Customs and Immigration in various countries have usually been good but we did get shaken down by the Tongan authorities for booze and cigarettes. We don't smoke and my wife refused to give booze to the official. We did give cigarettes we purchased locally to speed the paperwork when leaving as we heard it could take a couple more days delay if you didn't.

We had very good and very bad experiences with different port captains in Mexico though. Leaving Zihuatenejo and Mexico was very difficult with long waits in uncomfortable chairs while the captain chitchatted and joked with his underlings, which we could see through the office windows. It was quite obviously on purpose. I was pretty PO'd at that. We had great experiences with other captains though.
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Old 07-01-2016, 11:26   #299
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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However, you can always keep old flares in your car's trunk (er "boot" if you will.) for roadside use.
I would qualify that statement a bit because in places like Florida or California the trunk of the car can get so hot that it will not be safe to store flares.
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Old 07-01-2016, 13:38   #300
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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I would qualify that statement a bit because in places like Florida or California the trunk of the car can get so hot that it will not be safe to store flares.
Don't think so, svlamorocha. I used to live in Southern California, and routinely carried flares as safety equipment in my car's trunk. No cases of spontaneous combustion. Furthermore, they're fairly standard, and CA has millions of cars....

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