Two observations and a question:
1. It so happens that we just returned 3 days ago from a western Caribbean cruise
aboard the Carnival Victory. On our 2nd day out we picked up 10 Cuban refugees from a sinking boat. Last Saturday somewhere in the Windward Passage
we were ordered to a full stop by the US Coast Guard, and they off-loaded our Cubans using the usual hard hull
boats with inflatable
gunnels. Obviously, a 900 foot multi-thousand ton cruise ship
can stop (eventually) in most any reasonable conditions without being in danger
of rolling over or otherwise endangering herself and the people on board. Despite very benign conditions (3-4' seas) and the ‘full stop’ order, our Captain
continued to make some headway to hold the ship steady and the Coasties raced aft and then forward to match our speed before tying up for the transfer. On a small sailboat at sea this may not be possible, and I agree with the heave to and/or negotiate advice.
2. If you are in San Francisco
, New London, Cape May, etc. where there is a major USCG base, you can expect to be boarded more frequently and probably just for practice. According to my son, a Coast Guard veteran, even a safety
check boarding party is supposed to be headed by a petty officer who is presumably over 18 and has some skill and tact when dealing with yachties.
3. We were boarded by USCG twice while at anchor
, but never while under way. Both times the Coasties were friendly and professional. On the first occasion all the Coasties were wearing boat shoes or sneakers. On the 2nd occasion the petty officer noticed that one of his seamen was wearing combat boots and proceeded to chew the kid out. He also apologized to us and offered to file a report for any damage to our sole - which we declined. On our boat we wore boat shoes or sneakers, but mostly we went barefoot - guests were required to do the same. What kind of foot gear
have Coasties been wearing when you were boarded?