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Old 05-10-2013, 12:44   #1
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Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

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.
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Old 05-10-2013, 13:01   #2
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

The CG has had the right to terminate an unsafe voyage for a long time. Over 30 yrs., anyway. Maybe since its inception.

It is possible to question what the label of CG approved on the fire extinguishers does for you, i.e., has the brand been shown to be reliable, contain a certain amount of contents. Like why was your not so certified? What, if anything, was wrong with it? As the skipper, you bear the responsibility for being in coompliance with CG regulations.
They may have perceived you as an accident about to happen, who knows?

Good deal you were polite to each other.

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Old 05-10-2013, 13:58   #3
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Don't know about you, sounds like the " boot" got put in. You piss them off somewhere


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Old 05-10-2013, 14:00   #4
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

I see a big business in printing up "USCG Approved" stickers. . . .
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Old 05-10-2013, 14:33   #5
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

I'm guessing that the coastie in question was rather young...perhaps just out of school?

On Cape Cod, I used to run into summer cops with that kind of attitude on occasion.
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Old 05-10-2013, 14:46   #6
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

Sheesh!
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Old 05-10-2013, 14:56   #7
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

I can't say! Here we are also in Myrtle Beach and making our 23rd transit of the US East Coast. During more than forty years of liveaboard cruising we have never been stopped by the Coast Guard. I think I'm in compliance with all regulations, but I've never been confronted. We're spending a week at Doc Holiday's before fueling at Osprey and on to Georgetown. We'll look for you on the water, but we slowly poke about!
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Old 05-10-2013, 15:14   #8
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

I'm in Osprey Marina right now. Will be here until the end of October...

The whole situation just left me a little confused. Why would a horn need a coast guard approval but not a whistle? Why do we have to wear the auto inflate jackets to be legal but not the ski type ones?
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Old 05-10-2013, 15:27   #9
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

sounds like they really had a nit pick going on for some reason. I have been boarded, but worse case they told me that something was out of date or not correct and nees to be replaced. Establishing you as a "unsafe voyage " was way beyone what I've seen. Geez, that would piss me off too. It really rings of something you did to piss them off... dont know what that would be though... You were on the east coast US right? So what if you had guns aboard? Nothing Illegal about that....
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Old 05-10-2013, 15:33   #10
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

I am guessing that in your part of the world it would not be safe to laugh and tell them to piss off?
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Old 05-10-2013, 15:41   #11
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

I know of only one way to make yourself less of a target for such things and that is to get a current USCG Aux. courtesy inspection sticker. Otherwise known as a CME Courtesy Marine Examination. Not a guarantee but at least they know that at one time you had all your stuff together.
Ounce of prevention.
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Old 05-10-2013, 15:57   #12
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
sounds like they really had a nit pick going on for some reason. I have been boarded, but worse case they told me that something was out of date or not correct and nees to be replaced. Establishing you as a "unsafe voyage " was way beyone what I've seen. Geez, that would piss me off too. It really rings of something you did to piss them off... dont know what that would be though... You were on the east coast US right? So what if you had guns aboard? Nothing Illegal about that....
That was the first question they asked. If we had guns we would have had to bring them out while they were onboard. The only time time they seemed agitated was when I was slowing to a stop. I think they thought I should have stopped faster. Once onboard things were lighthearted with no tension in the air at all. This was a mix of young and older Coasties.

David, with all the homeland security stuff, pissing them off would probably be unwise.

I'm still not sure why they felt we were so unsafe. I even fired one of the old extinguishers off yesterday just to test it. Worked fine. I still have the other two as backups...
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Old 05-10-2013, 16:03   #13
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

A tad heavy handed, but seriously you didn't have the PFD's onboard or the proper fire extinguishers. The fire extinguisher stuff might sound trivial but it prevents cheap welded garbage from ending up on boats. Likewise, the PFD rules are pretty clear cut.

The USCG is the one dealing with dead bodies, burned boats, and putting their lives in harm's way to safe mariners. If they want you to test the whistle, test the whistle.
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Old 05-10-2013, 16:06   #14
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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
I am guessing that in your part of the world it would not be safe to laugh and tell them to piss off?
Have yet to be to a place where it's wise to tell armed officers to piss off...
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Old 05-10-2013, 16:06   #15
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Re: Boarded by the Coast Guard..Terminated Voyage

As to inflating vs foam filled lifejackets... i would make a wild guess than autoinflate would sink, inflate at depth and pop up somewhere you can't see it immediately? Whereas foam will be on the surface where you could swim to it and pull it on in the water?

Just a guess, but it has the pernicious sort of logic bureaucrats like to make rules around.
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