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Old 08-12-2010, 20:16   #46
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Since I have operated with the Coasties on board our ship doing counter drug ops, let me explain a few things that are SOP.

They use black zodes.
They use state of the art night vision equipment.
They and the U.S. Navy ships that carry the Coastie Law Enforcement Detachments frequently run “dark”, especially if they are following a suspicious target. Guess that means if they buzzed you running dark they were watching you and had been tracking you for a while. Most likely, the buzz was to verify what they already knew, i.e. get a close up look at you and to see what your response would be.
Sailboats have been used to transport drugs, even those just doing short runs out to places like Catalina Island. Drug runners like to transfer drugs to “innocent” boats to bring their product in to shore.
They like to follow targets to “see where you are going and more importantly, who you are meeting”.
They man their guns and train them on targets if they feel threatened or if they plan to board a vessel. Drug runners like guns, Coasties don’t like other people with guns when they are following them or try to board them. “Normal” people don’t shoot at unlit boats in or near U.S. waters unless they have something to hide; this is called an aggressive move and tends to upset the Coasties. If you shoot at them, they will shot back and they will make sure the threat is neutralized. Coasties have machine guns, and in some cases cannons. You are NOT going to win. If they are onboard a U.S. Navy vessel, you aren’t going to like their response either, but then you probably won’t be alive to explain why you took a pot shot at them.

Allow me to relate how a suspected drug runner off Columbia was hailed and told to heave to and await boarding by our vessel. He chose to run. He was probably laughing his a$$ off because he was leaving a Nuclear Cruiser in his wake. However, he forgot the modern advance called radio. We hailed the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, who was operating north of us and told them we had a boat that refused to heave to and was fleeing to the north. Three hours later, the suspected runner found a fully armed and very angry U.S. warship parked across his route, pointing some 10 machine guns, two phalanx CIWS (read gatling gun if you like) and two 5” – 54 cal cannons at him. He decided to comply with the boarding request.

Moral of the story: Like them, hate them, but don’t mess with them, because they can and have torn boats apart looking for illegal items.

Just sayin’….
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Old 08-12-2010, 21:07   #47
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Old 08-12-2010, 22:25   #48
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so can you carry a shotgun on a boat like a stainless steel Mossburg? I kinda wanted to have a few for protection from the crazzies...pls rsvp
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Old 08-12-2010, 22:30   #49
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If detecting a "dark" moving boat at night, I'd like to think my first reaction would be to sound five short signals, shine a light in its direction, make a verbal challenge if I had a megaphone, and if no reponse, shoot off a white parachute flare.
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Old 08-12-2010, 22:43   #50
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so can you carry a shotgun on a boat like a stainless steel Mossburg? I kinda wanted to have a few for protection from the crazzies...pls rsvp
If in US or International waters, yes. I'd recommend a twelve-gauge, pump-action shotgun. It is intimidating because of the large muzzle and the "chink-chink" of the loading/cocking action. The less military-looking (hand grip, etc.) the gun is, the less possible hassle from authorities.
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:46   #51
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I was in the US Navy and did drug interdiction work; I've never seen a sailing vessel transporting contraband nor am I aware of a single sailing vessel off the coast of southern California that was used for that purpose in the last few years.

I'm not disputing that they should investigate all vessels, including ones that have never been used previously for illegal activities. But COLREGS applies to all vessels, and it's even a test on the Master's license as to what can be suspended by law enforcement and what can't be, and day/light shapes are not acceptable. And that's a USCG test question.

I mean really, a vessel capable of making > 46 knots was making sure the 36 foot sail boat with a hull speed of ~8 knots didn't run away from it?

USCG Defender class boat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:03   #52
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Zode is actually a fairly commonly used term (been around for 25+ years) referring to the more common larger Zodiacs used for military, scientific and commercial applications. Guess it never caught on with the recreational crowd.

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Old 09-12-2010, 09:16   #53
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Zode is actually a fairly commonly used term (been around for 25+ years) referring to the more common larger Zodiacs used for military, scientific and commercial applications. Guess it never caught on with the recreational crowd.
It certainly caught on with recreational divers. It has been used in common parlance within the diving community as long as I can remember, even to the point where inflatables not manufactured by Zodiac are sometimes referred to as "Zodes."
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:29   #54
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I had never heard the term but was able to grasp its meaning by parsing the post it was used in. Still didn't help me understand where a monitor was installed such that a "zode" could damage it?
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:06   #55
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I wonder how much of a problem the warm engine and cabin heater was causing them.
None at all.

I flew FA-18s (USN) for ten years. We used to fly low and lights-out over anything that floated. Nothing dangerous, mind you, but it provided an opportunity to practice with radar, FLIR, targeting systems, etc. And it was fun. In short, if you sail offshore (or near shore) you've probably been shadowed by boats and aircraft more than you realize.
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:09   #56
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I had never heard the term but was able to grasp its meaning by parsing the post it was used in. Still didn't help me understand where a monitor was installed such that a "zode" could damage it?
Monitor windvane, hanging off the transom, protecting the zode from the stern of the sailboat.
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:10   #57
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I wonder what effect "if any" a 18 million candlepower spotlite would have on nite vision devices?
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:15   #58
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Well if you know morse code and can read flashing light. Then when you suspect that unlit vessel to be USCG then give them an Alpha Alpha.... Slowly of course you don't want them to think it is gun flashes.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:47   #59
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I wonder what effect "if any" a 18 million candlepower spotlite would have on nite vision devices?
-It would be near catastrophic and could jeopardize the lives of the aircrew.

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Old 09-12-2010, 12:48   #60
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-It would be near catastrophic and could jeaparize the lives of the aircrew.

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I thought all the night vision stuff made in the last few years automatically adjusts for light sources like that? Sort of like the sound amplifiers that don't amplify anything louder than 80db or whatever.
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