As some of you know that have been reading the blog, we have started our trip south and are now in Myrtle Beach. However, the first three miles of the trip got interesting. Here's the story..
Three miles down the South River after leaving Pier 7 Marina a small Coast Guard boat hails us down. The first thing they do with frantic waving of arms is tell us to slow down. Remember, we're on a Lagoon
410 doing all of 6 knots. I put her in neutral and they are still arm waving like crazy to slow down. I then ease her into reverse, if they thought I was supposed to slam her in reverse and make some kind of emergency
stop they were mistaken. We stopped and they boarded and asked if we had weapons, to which we said no. Then they proceeded to tell us they were doing a safety inspection
. No problem, I'm thinking, as I know we're ok. Well the first thing they dinged us one was our life jackets. We have the auto-inflate type and they told us they are not legal
unless we are actually wearing them.
What about the jackets in the dink I asked? They were water
ski type jackets and we were told they were fine, didn't have to wear them to be legal
. I was confused at this point but next he wanted to see a horn or noise
maker. I showed him our EcoHorn. This is the horn you recharge with a bike pump. Where is the Coast Guard approval stamp he asks? It was on the packaging but not on the horn. So now the horn is not legal. He asks if I have a whistle and I told him I had several. I got one out and he asked me to blow it and make sure it worked! Now, the whistle was fine even though it was not marked with a Coast Guard approval. More confused at this point.
Then he asked to see our fire extinguishers and their location. No problem except once again no Coast Guard approval on them. I have four onboard. At this point he tell us he is "terminating" our voyage and we have to return to our slip or mooring
. We cannot move the boat from there until we have proper Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers onboard! And they were going to escort us back to make sure we complied! What the heck?? At that moment they received a may day concerning an overturned boat and had to leaver with escorting us back. They told us NOT to leave the river without proper gear
We went back to Pier 7 and dropped the hook, launched the dink and went to shore. Had to borrow a car to run to West Marine
and buy the Coats Guard approved extinguishers. Returned the car, hopped in the dink and returned to the boat.
My question is when did they Coast Guard get the authority to "terminate" a voyage do to not having Coast Guard approved equipment
onboard. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?
Let me conclude by saying that we support the CG and the boarding party was professional and courteous.