Very interesting thread. We have been boarded many times, USCG, USN, Mexican, Costa Rican, Cuban, and others. Usually routine as we always smile and welcome them on board, thanking the boarding party for looking out for our safety
. 1990 we sailed nonstop from Panama
to Mobile, Alabama
since the sailing was perfect and no need to stop. We checked in with the Mobile USCG by VHF
when about five miles out. They asked the typical questions and where we were going. We had arrangements with a marina on Dog River, so they said they would meet us there. They did help us tie up and came aboard, USCG, DEA & Customs
. We were totally compliant. They took the drug sniffer dog below, then let him roam the boat. He went up on deck
, laid down and went to sleep. The dog handler stated that was the best drug sniffer they had and if he laid down, we must be okay. They all left apologizing for taking our time.
We roamed around the Caribbean
from 1993 to 1995, enjoying pre-chavez Venezuela
for about nine months. We made some local friends and ending up as paid crew on a wealthy Venezuelan's 83' Berger power yacht taking it back to Ft. Lauderdale for maintenance
. No inspections at all any country on that big boat. A few months later the owner called and asked if we would like to deliver his son's 44' sloop
back to the USA so he could sell it. Arrangements were made and we flew from Trinidad back to Caracas. I spent an entire week preparing the boat for the trip, also conducting a thorough search to be certain there was no contraband hidden. I dove the bottom looking for abnormalities. The owner was one of the wealthiest men
, but I do not trust anyone. He had bought the boat in the USA, American builder
, (Nordic, I think), but not wanting to pay VZ import
duties had flagged it in Aruba
, so we were flying the Dutch flag.
The boarding occurred in the passage
between Puerto Rico
and Hispaniola by the US Navy in the middle of the night. I always take the first watch, then my wife relieves me about midnight. I had just gotten to sleep when she called me, "There is a big ship trailing us and calling on the VHF
." I talked to them, answering questions, bound from, bound to, registry, citizenship of the crew,, etc. Red Flag ! Two Americans, sailing a Dutch flagged boat, returning to the USA? As a former active duty US Marine
,I welcomed the Navy aboard, 4 young sailors on a RIB
, with big seas left over and no wind
. We were rolling gunnel to gunnel, but they managed to get aboard with their weapons. Two asked us to go below with them and answer questions, which we willingly did. After about 5 minutes the young sailors were turning green and looking very distressed, so they asked the other two to come below and they went on deck
for fresh air. This crew lasted about 3 minutes before the became green. I offered them a beer
. They were about ready to puke, called their vessel and said we were okay and could they return to their ship. As the RIB
sped away, two of them were hanging over the side barfing. I called the ship and complimenting them on their diligence, protecting our safety
in international waters and requested they do future inspections while I was on watch. No reply.
After visiting friends in the Bahamas
, we sailed right into Ft Lauderdale with no inspection
. We had to take our ships papers, etc. to Customs
. That was also amusing as the ships papers were in Dutch. The %#@@! female agent was an arrogant alpha hotel
who was just not pleasant. Later I wrote her up.