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Old 14-06-2011, 11:19   #46
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

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As a gun owner, I know well enough not to discuss a situation when the barrel is pointed anywhere near my direction!!! Politeness always works when one is not in control of a situation (sense of humor does too!)

Yeah, if I felt the situation required a discussion, it would happen long afterwards, and would involve representation by MY legal government. I have a pretty good idea what it takes to invoke that.

Getting back to my question, I suspect (but am not entirely sure), that the USCG would have no legal right to board a non-U.S. flagged boat in international waters.

Perhaps the question becomes, where does that authority start? 3 miles? I think that one went out the window years ago. 12 miles? I suspect this is the correct answer. 200 miles? Nope that may be the economic zone, but not a jurisdictional one for high seas traffic, AFAIK.
The USCG does board vessels in international waters. To give them a hard time in any way just provokes them and will probably make your boarding experience more difficult. They do have the option of being easy or being hard on you. They are humans too.
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:20   #47
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

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My capitan had one of those (he is owner/operator),as well as a notarized document from a State represenative acknowlaging that we were not criminals, a statement from Marina Hemingway stating that we were guests of the marina and all fees were waived. Our passengers had their press credentials and documents attesting to the fact that they were on assignment for a national news organization (I cannot disclose more than that per my contract).

please, lets keep the discussion on USCG boarding and not international conflicts, although the conflict is a small part of this event the main point is what to expect when you are hailed at night by a big dark mass off your stern
Personally, I had my employment contract, my passport, driver license and little dog, she ad her vet papers and was scared the whole time. The reason the USCG took so long was checking all our paperwork, some of it they had never seen.
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:21   #48
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

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I certainly would not need one if I was coming from a non-U.S. territory. See question 2.

"2. I request authorization to depart the U.S. territorial seas with the intent to enter the Cuban Territorial Sea during the voyage described below:"


It is a good question if my last port of call was, say Tampa. I suspect, but do not know, that not being a U.S. flagged boat, it does not apply to me UNLESS I have U.S. citizens aboard.

Is my suspicion correct?
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:25   #49
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hot topic?

-this 3 bam at 3 am happened to us off isle dominica with their navy gunboat..of course you feel violated but this is their job? isnt it? to board seacraft at 3am when most are asleep,,kudos to respondant that replied "these keysytaone cops are dumb yankees on an andreniline rush",,pity they dont run into some real bad -guys that will smoke their ass fast,,NO ,,let us go pick on innocent sailboats,,enough said,,cheers
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:25   #50
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

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Perhaps the question becomes, where does that authority start? 3 miles? I think that one went out the window years ago. 12 miles? I suspect this is the correct answer. 200 miles? Nope that may be the economic zone, but not a jurisdictional one for high seas traffic, AFAIK.
I'd be surprised if they couldn't board within the economic zone. Canada has commandeered (I'm not sure ths is the right term) and brought boats into port, under arrest, for illegally fishing in our economic zone. Of course the 200 mile limit only applies when there isn't another country in the middle of it!
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:26   #51
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

They call them a SAW because SAW is an acronym for Squad Automatic Weapon. The SAW is what replaced the M60. The M2 is a .50cal heavy machine gun, and it is called the Ma Deuce, not a SAW.
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:33   #52
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

For what it's worth, the waters between Cuba and Florida are subject to intense scrutiny. I too would be shocked if you steamed from Havana to Marathon without the USCG inquiring to your intentions.

From the OP's description, this was a routine "traffic stop" and despite the CO's PFD, a relatively uneventful one at that.

Oh, for anyone who cares, the SAW is a 5.56 caliber weapon, no way they'd be using that for ship -> ship combat.
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:37   #53
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

US territorial waters are 12NM...for most intentions that is the legal limit of boarding...beyond that some jurisdiction related to the 200NM EEZ is required...as I said...the USCG has had the right to board many a vessel for many a good reason but they hold that "right to board" very dear and will ask permission from the home state even when it's not necessarily required or they could have "manufactured" probable cause...

The USCG protects their rights and reputation like a bulldog....those that complain should wish more countries had a USCG so that piracy and other lawlessness on the high sea was only a memory.
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:38   #54
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

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I'd be surprised if they couldn't board within the economic zone. Canada has commandeered (I'm not sure ths is the right term) and brought boats into port, under arrest, for illegally fishing in our economic zone. Of course the 200 mile limit only applies when there isn't another country in the middle of it!
Google (and Wikipedia) being our friend, here is the quote from Wikipedia:
"A coastal nation has control of all economic resources within its exclusive economic zone, including fishing, mining, oil exploration, and any pollution of those resources. However, it cannot prohibit passage or loitering above, on, or under the surface of the sea that is in compliance with the laws and regulations adopted by the coastal State in accordance with the provisions of the UN Convention, within that portion of its exclusive economic zone beyond its territorial sea."

Not being entirely up on maritime law, that would indicate that if I am not fishing, drilling, harvesting seaweed, or attempting to find methane nuggets on the sea floor, legal jurisdiction of foreign to the U.S. flagged ships does not apply.

Again, I sure am not going to argue with anything that has bullets in it that is pointed my direction, but I certainly would invoke my governments assistance after the fact in discussing the matter. Now, that may jeopardize any future entry into the U.S., so of course one needs to think of consequences, but that is a decision to be made after the fact.

I am asking the legal situation question. Practical matters are another thing.
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:39   #55
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

It's just like getting pulled over by any cops in the US. They're often jumpy and they have the guns. You remain calm and be kind and helpful and usually all is well. Nobody likes getting pulled over but it sounds like they did their job professionally.
I'd say it's pretty obvious that there are literally tons of drugs flowing into Florida on boats every day and they're trying to slow it down. Seems like their job is like grinding water. Doesn't matter how hard you try the result is the same.
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:42   #56
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

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Google (and Wikipedia) being our friend, here is the quote from Wikipedia:
"A coastal nation has control of all economic resources within its exclusive economic zone, including fishing, mining, oil exploration, and any pollution of those resources. However, it cannot prohibit passage or loitering above, on, or under the surface of the sea that is in compliance with the laws and regulations adopted by the coastal State in accordance with the provisions of the UN Convention, within that portion of its exclusive economic zone beyond its territorial sea."

Not being entirely up on maritime law, that would indicate that if I am not fishing, drilling, harvesting seaweed, or attempting to find methane nuggets on the sea floor, legal jurisdiction of foreign to the U.S. flagged ships does not apply.

Again, I sure am not going to argue with anything that has bullets in it that is pointed my direction, but I certainly would invoke my governments assistance after the fact in discussing the matter. Now, that may jeopardize any future entry into the U.S., so of course one needs to think of consequences, but that is a decision to be made after the fact.

I am asking the legal situation question. Practical matters are another thing.
Your assumtion is correct with the exception that drug related offenses CAN fall into EEZ jurisdiction (some weird twists) and there's a bunch of treatys with many countries that supercede just territorial and EEZ limits.

If you are legal and have nothing to hide...a USCG boarding should be neat and quick depending on the situation.

Fear from the USCG and not all the other hazards associated with voyaging is just plain foolish based on MANY years of reality at sea.
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:59   #57
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

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Your assumtion is correct with the exception that drug related offenses CAN fall into EEZ jurisdiction (some weird twists) and there's a bunch of treatys with many countries that supercede just territorial and EEZ limits.
That would make some sense, especially with regards to attempting to restrict illegal drug activity. Thinking about that, I would suggest that any boat coming from Cuba probably would not be involved in that anyways... my guess is the Cubans are probably a lot harsher then the U.S. if they find someone smuggling.

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Fear from the USCG and not all the other hazards associated with voyaging is just plain foolish based on MANY years of reality at sea.
Agreed, and I think the USCG does not have a reputation as "cowboys". I wish Canada had a similar organization. (We do have one called the Canadian Coast Guard, the functions are not entirely the same)


Now, the boots thing, shure wish they had a way of mitigating that when boarding
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:00   #58
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

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Your assumtion is correct with the exception that drug related offenses CAN fall into EEZ jurisdiction (some weird twists) and there's a bunch of treatys with many countries that supercede just territorial and EEZ limits.

If you are legal and have nothing to hide...a USCG boarding should be neat and quick depending on the situation.

Fear from the USCG and not all the other hazards associated with voyaging is just plain foolish based on MANY years of reality at sea.
In the middle 70's I was a lieutenant in the Bermuda Fire Service, with responsibilities for non-fire related use of equipment and apparatus.
I was requested to perform a service with the USCG, who had chased a little freighter from the Carolinas right into St.Georges harbour.
Drugs were not found (its a long story) which I describe only to support the attached post.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:01   #59
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

Legalities aside, the US has had an embargo on Cuba for over 40 years. During that time the USCG and Navy have operated on these seas with the assumption enforcing the laws relevent to the contiguous zone as well as the Economic Zone using the security of US companies and interests (oil platforms) for legal standing. Meanwhile, Cuba has applied for recognition of it's 200KM economic zone (for the same reasons); obviously there's going to be a conflict of opinion over who's jurisdiction outweighs the other when there's less than 100KM between the two countries. My thought is that if Homeland Security wants ships, boats or rafts boarded, it will be done. We can all thank the USA Patriot Act for the shoot first and ask questions later policy, but it's all academic while traveling in an area patrolled, monitored and enforced by the US military.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:36   #60
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Re: Boarded by USCG 60 miles off Key West

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Legalities aside, the US has had an embargo on Cuba for over 40 years. During that time the USCG and Navy have operated on these seas with the assumption enforcing the laws relevent to the contiguous zone as well as the Economic Zone using the security of US companies and interests (oil platforms) for legal standing. Meanwhile, Cuba has applied for recognition of it's 200KM economic zone (for the same reasons); obviously there's going to be a conflict of opinion over who's jurisdiction outweighs the other when there's less than 100KM between the two countries. My thought is that if Homeland Security wants ships, boats or rafts boarded, it will be done. We can all thank the USA Patriot Act for the shoot first and ask questions later policy, but it's all academic while traveling in an area patrolled, monitored and enforced by the US military.
We can thank the Patriot Act for a lot including the thwarting of numerous terrosistic attacks foiled in the US.

Lets let the borders be patrolled by vigilantes...

The US Military was/is rated as one of the most trusted organizations on the planet for the vast majority of the last 40 years. WAY past politicians, catholic priests, etc...etc...

Like ghostbuster's....who ya gonna call when the job needs to be done?????

Like I said...for all that's gone on in the last 40 years in the Caribbean and the USCG/Military...name on one hand the incidents of cruisers being violated or bothered beyond being anti-government dreamers.
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