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Old 07-12-2010, 11:56   #1
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So We Got Buzzed by a Coast Guard Patrol Boat the Other Night

We were shooting out of Point Loma headed north, I think at this point under reefed main and staysail, headed offshore. Probably 11pm or so, pitch black. 15-20 knots of wind.

My friend and I heard an engine sound, and thought some jerk fisherman were zooming around with no lights on. I get on the VHF and said "turn your lights on, skipper."

Closer and closer, and then finally I make out the bright orange and the shape of the Coast Guard boat, still no running lights. They hang about 20' - 30 ' off our port beam and question us on where we launched from, what time, how many on board, our destination, etc.

Finally after a couple of minutes of shouting back and forth, he asks if we're rigged for foul weather, we tell him yes, and he says "okay, have a nice night." Flips his running lights on and zooms away.

It was a little weird. I know there are a lot of drug and human trafficking going on along that stretch of water, but on a Hans Christian with two people in neon weather gear">foul weather gear in the cockpit, all proper lighting and flags flying?

At least we didn't get boarded.

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Old 07-12-2010, 12:10   #2
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You look suspiciously like a nee'r do well, they were just doing their job. Be thankful it was the Coast Guard and not TSA, they don't even buy you dinner and a movie first.

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Old 07-12-2010, 14:14   #3
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I am not a big fan of the USCG. They are nosy.
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Old 07-12-2010, 14:20   #4
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They have "snuck up" on me several times. Can't help but wonder about their policy of coming up on you DARK. Sorta like what a PIRATE would do. how long before someone takes a shot?
Once, 40 miles west of Nevis , thay busted my monitor with the zode.
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Old 07-12-2010, 14:29   #5
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I had a game warden sneek up on me one time while drinking beer and shooting dove in fisher county...west Texas. Does that count?
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Old 07-12-2010, 14:48   #6
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I was on a boat off of Key West in the early 80s where we were being followed by an unlit boat. We suspected it was the coasties but the boat refused to answer several hails. Finally the captain announced on the VHF that if they did not identify themselves he would open fire. They immediately turned on every light they had including a large spotlight which rendered us blind and immediately announced they were the USCG on both the radio and loud hailer. Quite frankly we were relieved it was the Coast Guard and not drug runners. It's a quite effective way of getting the coast guard to answer. If a boat doesn't respond to that you're probably in serious trouble.
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Old 07-12-2010, 15:17   #7
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had similar happen but it was a unlit helicopter near Marco Island, I was anchored in the mangroves and around 23:00 I had a chopper buzz me then make a tight circle and spotlight me, after 3 passes it headed NE and I could see it was USCG, screwed up my sleep for the rest of the night.

I had them approach me with a machine gun mounted on the bow in Tampa Bay channel, I had a fresh bottle of bubbles and used the wind to blow bubbles across the water, they were not as amused as me.....

Once they passed me in a narrow channel near Anna Maria Island and a young coastie saw my Arkansas flag, then read my Arkansas registation and got very excited, he yelled into the cockpit "Hey, that guy's from Arkansas"... I could hear the skipper reply "I know, I can read, I'm not from Arkansas"... it's amazing how much one can hear under sail, I laughed for a long time about that one.. he must have been an Arkie

Still ain't been boarded by any LEO... 13 months an counting, I am a big fan of the USCG, they save lives instead of take them.
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Old 07-12-2010, 15:21   #8
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From what I have gathered from CF and elsewhere is that they mostly won't bother you once they realise you are not actually trying to leave.
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Old 07-12-2010, 15:23   #9
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I was about 400 miles west of the Ecuador/Columbia border when I was buzzed by a US Coast Guard HC-130 plane - maybe 100 feet off sea level, about 200 feet from the boat. Called them, got no response. At the same time the next day they were back, but after they buzzed us again, they called us on the VHF, inquiring as to where we were from, going, how long we had been out. Then they asked if they could be of any assistance - we thought about it for a few seconds, then asked them if there were any other sailboats in the area. They flew off w/o a response, but about an hour later they called again to let us know there was another boat about 50 miles west of us. We got the feeling they were probably pretty bored flying over thousands of miles of ocean every day.

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Old 07-12-2010, 15:51   #10
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As we raced out -- a few hours late -- to the start of the Baja Ha Ha in 2009 we ran across this Submarine blocking the channel off of Point Loma. The Naval Security boat came by with a machine gun on the bow and demanded that we get 300 yards away from the sub. We couldn't because the channel isn't that wide there. Then the USCG came up and wanted us to get 500 yards away. That would have put us on the airfield. LOL if they want to close down the entrance to SD Bay then do it -- But put out a notice to mariners. There are a few other pictures as well Picasa Web Albums - mckenzie.charlie - Coastguard
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Old 07-12-2010, 16:07   #11
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No doubt they were watching you on infrared to see what your physical responses would have been at the time. If all of a sudden there was rushed movements and people clamoring into the space under the cockpit (to hide) or dumping stuff overboard they would have seen it all anyway. So ultimately, they probably only needed to say hello and ask a couple of questions to see how you reacted to their presence.

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Old 07-12-2010, 16:51   #12
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Hi Charlie... the Navy and the Coasties are really sensitive about coming too close to our boomers and they do NOT mess around. Their standing orders apply to ALL water borne and aircraft no matter how innocent or insignificant. Naval security is still very tight when active maritime assets are in the neighborhood. Right after 9/11 we were on our way to a yard just south of the Navy Graving Yard south of the Coronado Bridge and were skirting the far west side of the channel to give the Yards as wide a berth as possible and were met with the same response who not only warned us off but manned their 50 cal bow mount all the way down to the commercial yard south of the Navy Yard. That is the price we pay for times we live in, I guess... Capt Phil
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Old 07-12-2010, 17:19   #13
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I've been on the other side of the searchlights a few times.

The machine gun is SOP, as you never know what a drug runner will do. The times I did counter-drug operations stop and searches, we manned all 4 .50 cal machine guns and several M-60's. If that isn't enough to scare you, the two 5" - 54s cannons probably would.

We stopped a 30' sailboat heading north through the Windward Channel, without lights, mast and less than 1 foot of freeboard. We wouldn't have seen him except the sonar gang called the bridge and told the OOD they were picking up high speed screws about 100 yards off the port bow. The OOD thought it was a joke since high speed screws are usually associated with torpedos. It took about 15 minutes with the high beams to find him.

14 tons of mary jane and an outstanding warrant for armed robbery ruined his night. The Coasties really enjoyed the bust, then lite the boat and cargo on fire.
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Old 07-12-2010, 17:26   #14
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Super, Price of weed just went up .And profit.Not safey.
The ONE time I called them for a mayday relay, 25 miles north of Cap Hatien, no responce.
I wound up saving 2 poor souls clinging to a burnt wreckage, took them into the DR.
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Old 07-12-2010, 19:21   #15
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Originally Posted by rhr1956 View Post
while drinking beer and shooting dove in fisher county...west Texas.
Were you that guy with Dick Cheney, nose looks like a bit like a beak and all that?

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