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Old 22-05-2008, 09:59   #1
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Ever been boarded in open ocean?

How does that work? Do you get to maintain your course and speed or do they make you drop your sails? That would be a hassle. Does it even happen that often?
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Old 22-05-2008, 10:09   #2
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Dropping your sails is miniscule if you are boarded by overzealous coasties. The will ask you to come to a complete stop, and hold steady, so they may approach. Some will slam your boat while others will take care in boarding. I have had both pleasant, and horrible experiences being boarded. As in any facet of life. There are nice people, and then there are the JERKS!!!!!!

One of the most polite boarding was in Mexico by the Armada. It was little unnerving with under 20 yrs of age men holding machine guns on you. Especially with a lack of communication......
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Old 22-05-2008, 10:10   #3
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We were boarded by coasties this last weekend. I maintained course and speed while they matched it. No fuss, no muss.
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Old 22-05-2008, 11:00   #4
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Charlie,

They just wanted to see your pretty boat up close!
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Old 22-05-2008, 11:06   #5
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Thanks Hud, it was the first time for me, fairly nice but professional guys. They were hitting up everybody outside of Friday Harbor that day.
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Old 22-05-2008, 13:21   #6
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What are the legal issues if your boat is damaged during a boarding.

Scenario: You have a new paintjob with non-repairable Awlgrip. Whilst boarding a 5ft scratch is made down the boarding side. Since both boats are underway, who is responsible for the damage?
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Old 22-05-2008, 13:38   #7
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Holding course seems to be more common than not especially if the weather / conditions are not so good. We now approach graduation time and all the new Coasties have to do boarding training exams. If you see the large cutter lowering boats this time of year you should expect it. They board who ever comes by unless you have been boarded very recently. They do it for the training so you probably don't get written up. The amo is live. They don't use fake weapons - ever.
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Old 22-05-2008, 15:01   #8
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A good reason to get an AIS transponder, and not just a receiver. You can auto transmit all your basic data plus a few lines of text. And if you've been recently boarded (and they used the little Fedex style computer scanner for your yellow form) - then they'll know you've been recently boarded and unless something else seems amiss - you won't get bothered (unless you were somehow mistakenly risk indexed during your last boarding)

If following the letter of the law, you are supposed to bring your vessel to a complete stop immediately upon being hailed. If you're alone on the open seas then it's best to stop. If you're amongst other boaters, then just follow their instructions - sometimes they'll do a rolling board.

Quote:
A vessel underway, upon being hailed by a Coast Guard vessel or patrol boat, is required to stop immediately and heave to, or maneuver in such a way as to
permit the boarding officer and boarding party to come aboard.
http://www.uscg.mil/d1/prevention/Na...nforcement.PDF
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Old 22-05-2008, 15:11   #9
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I was hailed on VHF perhaps 50 to 100 miles south of Montauk once while on the way to Bermuda. They asked the usual questions and IIRC the seas were running 5-8 feet so a boarding would have been sloppy. No biggie. They were professional and polite and wished us a safe passage.

I would feel very differentl about being boarded any place for that matter.
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Old 22-05-2008, 16:06   #10
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On the day I left Mooloolaba (Queensland, Australia) to deliver my (new to me) yacht back to Hobart (Tasmania), we got very close to being boarded by a horde of heavily armed police. Apparently, the previous night, 6 criminals had escaped from the prison nearby. Apparently, my delivery crew and I (all fairly rough looking, shaved heads, tattoos, etc) were likely looking susopects - they though that we were the escapees and had stolen a yacht to make good our escape... They came alongside in a large (50') flybridge cruiser, with several cops with sub-machine guns trained on us from the flybridge, and were all set to board us... I managed to convince them to radio the local coastguard and coast radio to confirm that we had logged our trip with them the day before and provided details of the boat, itinierary, crew details, etc. I laugh about it now, but at the time it was slightly scary... especially since it was blowing 25+ knots, with short, steep, choppy waves and they were coming dangerously close to us.
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Old 22-05-2008, 16:07   #11
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so who is responsible for damages?
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Old 22-05-2008, 16:12   #12
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We've only been boarded once and that was in the early 90s when the Coast Guard was in their "kinder-gentler Coast Guard phase". We were headed north, in the Gulf Stream between West End and Charleston SC ..... seas were fairly rough ..... Just after midnight, we had just changed watches and no visible vessels were on the horizon ..... shortly after watch change a huge spotlight suddenly lit up our 27' Watkins (which scared the s*&^ of my wife) .... We turned the radio on and spoke with whoever was in command ..... after several minutes of where have you been?, where are you going?, why?, etc., etc. we were instructed to maintain course and speed .... They then turned their deck lights on to reveal a large cg cutter (manned 50 caliber and all) .... they lowered an inflatable and four men (oldest was probably 21 and the rest were maybe 17 or 18 years of age) came over to board us ....... Remember, this is during the coast guard's kinder - gentler days ...... The inflatable crew had all their weapons, clipboards, etc. in a canvas duffle bag .... They came up to our boat once and placed the duffle bag in our cockpit with us (honest to God - I am not lieing!) .... Made a circle aroung our boat then came along side and three men boarded and one stayed with the inflatable and just continued to circle around ..... one man stayed in the cockpit with my wife and the remaining two went below to with me to inspect our boat (in those days I suspect that it was more to look for drugs than to inspect our boat - in fact afer we thought about it awhile we assume that they had been watching with night vision the whole time they were talking to us on vHF) ..... They were courtious and if fact the whole thing was quite an adventure for us ..... For them we suspect that it was more a training exercise than anything else ...... when they were finished they returned to their cutter, doused all their lights and headed off in the direction of some new running lights on the horizon.
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Old 22-05-2008, 17:22   #13
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If you let them know your concerns before hand, they will comply concerning damage to your boat..
Been boarded a dozen times and I always welcome them aboard and then tell them as they are comming up next to me, this is a glass hull and dont wreck it, they'll through out a few fenders and watch what they're doing.
Comming up the river from San Francisco, I past "Port Chicago" and not only were the coast guard out there, but the federal police in boats flashing blue lights.
One of the boats hailed me on the radio and instructed me to move to the north channel as I was infringing on a safe zone while they were loading a ship.
I replyed that The north channel didnt have enough water depth acording to the charts and If I was being forced to move to the other channel, someone was going to have to take responsibility for my boat, a documented vessel.
After a minute of pause, a deeper voice came on the radio,(I suspect a superior officer) and told me to hold my corse through the restricted area and they would escort me...
Didnt have my camara but it was a sight to see TWO armed boats with me as I sailed past with all my sheets up.......
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Old 22-05-2008, 17:27   #14
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Who is responsible for damages? Short answer: the Coast Guard may be liable for damages to your vessel caused by the negligence of its agents.

Long Answer would take much more time then we have here. The United States is immune from suit unless it agrees it can be sued. It has waived immunity under one or more acts involving damages to private vessels caused by public vessels owned by the United States. The Public Vessel Act comes to mind. However, as you might expect there are many exceptions to the rule.
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Old 22-05-2008, 17:29   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
What are the legal issues if your boat is damaged during a boarding.

Scenario: You have a new paintjob with non-repairable Awlgrip. Whilst boarding a 5ft scratch is made down the boarding side. Since both boats are underway, who is responsible for the damage?
I had exactly this happen...
We had a new paint job and were just motoring back to our slip from the boat yard after having it painted. We were boarded by a bunch of 18 year olds with guns. When I went to help them on board they yeld at me to stand off. I yeld back at them that I didn't give a damn about them and that I was trying to protect my new paint from their stupid inflatable. This didn't help the boarding situation as they then all had attitude as they spent an hour going over every inch of my vessel to ultimately site [sic: "cite"] me for not having a posted trash disposal plan.
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