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Old 17-03-2015, 09:11   #1
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Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

A most interesting event occurred last tonight. After a night shark fishing trip off the beach in 35 - 40 feet (we didn't catch one), we were coming back to the ramp at St Andrews Park. As we entered the fairway out from the jetties into St Andrews Bay under modest power (just enough to plane the 22' boat) and as we were banking to the left to head north into the jetties proper, we were suddenly crossed by a Homeland Security bad@ss boat running with no lights doing about 25 knots. She had 4 300 HP engines and was impressive. It was quite dark, with a touch of fog/haze setting in. Visibility wasn't terrible but it wasn't good either.

Their crossing our path with so little clearance was startling so I shut it down to idle speed and said WTH! The patrol boat turned, flipped on lights, and quickly caught up to us to "pull us over". They said they had us radar the whole way and we had safe clearance but it seemed a bit reckless to me to run dark. We were never gonna hit but having a boat suddenly appear in front of you at 10 pm isn't cool. They checked us out thoroughly and let us go so all's well that ends well. They were not interested in our fishing licenses. I guess they were just doing their job and we are lucky to have them out there protecting our coasts but it was a bit spooky.
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Old 17-03-2015, 09:35   #2
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

We were doing the Ft Lauderdale to Key West race a few years ago in a CS36. In the middle of a dark night we were suddenly "lit up" by a powerful searchlight from seaward. The captain grabbed his own searchlight and shone it back at the light source. It was a black unmarked go fast boat. They turned off their light and we turned ours off and continued racing.
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Old 17-03-2015, 09:56   #3
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

I was out in St Andrews Bay last Sunday. Thing the wife and I noticed that between the Sheriffs boat, the Coast Guard and several FWC boats, there were more LEO boats, than recreational boaters.
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Old 17-03-2015, 10:48   #4
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

Scott,
Your 22' runabout probably looked like an invasion force from Cuba, an offshore drug runner from Jamaica or a waterborne camel ridden by Al Qaeda.
I'll bet you felt safe when you saw it was Homeland Security! Especially since the cost to run the department is only 66.4 billion a year. Just a drop in the bucket for our safety, huh?
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Old 17-03-2015, 10:53   #5
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pirate Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

LOL.. had that happen rounding Europa Point, Gib at 2am.. no warning then suddenly blinded by a Spotlight.. 8 SBS tooled up in a big rib..
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Old 18-03-2015, 12:07   #6
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottthardin View Post
A most interesting event occurred last tonight. After a night shark fishing trip off the beach in 35 - 40 feet (we didn't catch one), we were coming back to the ramp at St Andrews Park. As we entered the fairway out from the jetties into St Andrews Bay under modest power (just enough to plane the 22' boat) and as we were banking to the left to head north into the jetties proper, we were suddenly crossed by a Homeland Security bad@ss boat running with no lights doing about 25 knots. She had 4 300 HP engines and was impressive. It was quite dark, with a touch of fog/haze setting in. Visibility wasn't terrible but it wasn't good either.

Their crossing our path with so little clearance was startling so I shut it down to idle speed and said WTH! The patrol boat turned, flipped on lights, and quickly caught up to us to "pull us over". They said they had us radar the whole way and we had safe clearance but it seemed a bit reckless to me to run dark. We were never gonna hit but having a boat suddenly appear in front of you at 10 pm isn't cool. They checked us out thoroughly and let us go so all's well that ends well. They were not interested in our fishing licenses. I guess they were just doing their job and we are lucky to have them out there protecting our coasts but it was a bit spooky.
Complain to the nearest USCG district Office!! and do it now! If you need a number or address, I will help you.
I have 30+ yrs with the CG, and while I DID retire some 15 years ago - 1 yr before 9/11, The "rules" have not changed that much.
The Coast Guard has authorized it's vessels - when in a law enforcement condition - to run without lights. - to my knowledge this is still being debated on the international scene. BUT standing orders are to bring up the running lights and illuminate the CG Ensign and otherwise ID themselves prior to conducting a boarding. Also making a high speed run close aboard, at night, without lights, on a vessel in domestic waters with no intel indicating a concern, is - in my opinion - VERY BAD seamanship - that LE boat driver had no idea what you would do if or when startled. (or if his RADAR was in that precision of calibration! not all are!) IF the boat/crew was not CG, it is another matter - I do not believe - I could be wrong - but other agencies have not OFFICIALLY been given permission to run without lights. In any case the nighttime, high speed, close aboard pass was - again in my opinion - uncalled for, and needs to be reported.

Back in the 70's when we started to carry weapons on boardings - prior to 77-78 we did them unarmed - in time, some sailors got a little full of themselves as "smokies of the seas" - to the point that increasing complaints causing the CG Commandant to issue a CG Wide notice to LE Units to "review" their local boarding policies. Who knows, it might be time again for a "review"
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Old 18-03-2015, 16:40   #7
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

Down right scary! I live in Norway with some crazy Russian on the doorstep, but it sounds even worse to have these fellows on your waters!
To me it appears like thugs have found a new legal job. As said by the ex CG, you should report this behavior.

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Old 19-03-2015, 09:26   #8
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

We had a very unpleasant encounter this summer when returning from the Canadian Gulf Islands to Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands. We were in a group of 7 small (26') sailboats checking thru Immigration and Customs in this quiet recreational port. The officials on the Canadian side were most polite and helpful so we were thinking of doing this trip again. But the officials on the American side were rude and belligerent so much so that they had my wife in tears. And they were the same to the rest of our flotilla. No excuse for this behavior. If foreign tourism is down I can understand why.
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Old 19-03-2015, 10:06   #9
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

They were operating with Radar and happened to be running without running lights. While you couldn't see them, they could see you and avoided collision. It happened to be closer than you were comfortable with, but they (who do this for a living full time) were comfortable with the passing distance. This made you uncomfortable. You called them on it. They stopped, turned around and discussed your concerns with them at which point they attempted to assure you there was no cause for concern. They then decided to ensure you were operating safely, since you called them on what you perceived to be a lack of safe operation on their part. (I certainly wouldn't want to be caught being a hypocrite).

So my take away from this is you were operating under limited visibility without radar and therefore were not forwarned of their presence despite them being fully aware of you. My personal opinion is this is not as big a deal as it is being made out to be.

Run with radar, @#$$% happens at night.
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Old 19-03-2015, 10:23   #10
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

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They were operating with Radar and happened to be running without running lights. While you couldn't see them, they could see you and avoided collision. It happened to be closer than you were comfortable with, but they (who do this for a living full time) were comfortable with the passing distance. This made you uncomfortable. You called them on it. They stopped, turned around and discussed your concerns with them at which point they attempted to assure you there was no cause for concern. They then decided to ensure you were operating safely, since you called them on what you perceived to be a lack of safe operation on their part. (I certainly wouldn't want to be caught being a hypocrite).

So my take away from this is you were operating under limited visibility without radar and therefore were not forwarned of their presence despite them being fully aware of you. My personal opinion is this is not as big a deal as it is being made out to be.

Run with radar, @#$$% happens at night.
RADAR on a 22' recreational fishing boat? That would be considered over kill in some circles.

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Old 19-03-2015, 12:25   #11
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

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RADAR on a 22' recreational fishing boat? That would be considered over kill in some circles.

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Some yes, but I had a Garmin 740S on my 21 CC and loved it, for one thing you could do the RADAR overlay and see if there was already a boat on the fishing spot you are headed for, it was also great for squalls and at night I like having it. Some claim that they could get return off of birds and the birds are where the bait fish are, which is where the game fish are, but mine wouldn't reliably.
The price differential to add RADAR to the 740S wasn't actually that expensive, and why would a 45' boats "need" for a RADAR be greater?
RADAR is just another tool


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Old 19-03-2015, 12:27   #12
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

It's a big deal because it's illegal to run without lights, if they break those laws, then which laws do they not break?


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Old 19-03-2015, 12:36   #13
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

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LOL.. had that happen rounding Europa Point, Gib at 2am.. no warning then suddenly blinded by a Spotlight.. 8 SBS tooled up in a big rib..
Yep ,. met them lads a few times, one time it was SBS too,
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Old 19-03-2015, 12:56   #14
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Some yes, but I had a Garmin 740S on my 21 CC and loved it, for one thing you could do the RADAR overlay and see if there was already a boat on the fishing spot you are headed for, it was also great for squalls and at night I like having it. Some claim that they could get return off of birds and the birds are where the bait fish are, which is where the game fish are, but mine wouldn't reliably.
The price differential to add RADAR to the 740S wasn't actually that expensive, and why would a 45' boats "need" for a RADAR be greater?
RADAR is just another tool


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Oh, I agree, RADAR is fantastic. I'm actually reading this from a fairly recent CG Enforcement perspective (left CG April 2014) all our 22' boats had RADAR, but to expect Joe boater to have one isn't realistic. Some 22's have it, it's fantastic, it's a great tool. But most aren't going to have one (I don't have RADAR on my 35).


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Old 19-03-2015, 13:28   #15
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Re: Scary Night Encounter with Homeland Security

"So my take away from this is you were operating under limited visibility without radar and therefore were not forwarned of their presence despite them being fully aware of you. My personal opinion is this is not as big a deal as it is being made out to be." Shrew




Some people ,without thought ,easily give away their freedoms and rights guaranteed by the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Generally, these are usually people who have never read nor understand these documents and do not know the History of the US and our historical fight for freedom from King George III-the German King of England. They feel more comfortable under the Big Thumb of government. It is how they have been hardwired from birth. I think IceOps, a former CG and man of experience, said it best. Remember, a house rarely falls without reason . . . it usually rots one timber at a time.
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