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Thread: Boarded by the Coast Guard Mem. Weekend

  1. #1

    Default Boarded by the Coast Guard Mem. Weekend

    Just curious if anyone else was boarded by the Coast Guard out of Whittier last weekend. I was about 1/4 mile out of the Harbor on my way out for the weekend when they pulled up in their inflatable. Two got aboard. No sweat because every year I get a Coast Guard Auxilliary inspection/sticker and so I know what I need to have on board (haven't had the inspection yet this year, though....was out fishing that weekend). I asked them what they do when they find someone isn't in compliance. Ticket, warning, other? They said it depends on what they find. Sometimes they take people off the water. An example is when they find a boat with no PFDs on board.....especially if there are kids on board. I'm guessing that probably the most overlooked thing that people miss is flares that are out of date and not having their boat registration on board. The last (and only other time) I was boarded was about 8 years ago when I was in my 16-ft inflatable off of Deep Creek. Personally, I'm glad they're out there doing their job. While it may be an inconvenience for some, I'm sure lives have been saved by it.

  2. #2
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    Default

    I was boarded on big lake a couple years ago. They just pointed a few thing out that I should probably have on board an let me go. Everyone on board was whereing life jackets.

  3. #3

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    I never thought about them being on the lake, but I guess that makes sense.

  4. #4
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Default

    Coast Gaurd = Best law enforcement people out there
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default helicopter

    My wife and I were on the canoe this last Saturday at Whittier near the tunnel and we saw a coast guard helicopter fly in and circle a few times (once over us, which seemed as if they were checking us out)? Donít know if that was connected to anything?

  6. #6

    Default

    I didn't hear any distress calls Saturday. Besides the inflatable that they used to board us, there was also a much larger Coast Guard boat (cutter?) outside of Whittier harbor. The first time I was ever boarded, they were training. Maybe the chopper, like the cutter, was part of a training exercise.

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    Default Checked in Valdez

    Got my first inspection as I came in to Valdez harbor last Sunday. They didn't request to board the boat as it was beached near the dock at the time. I invited them in anyway so they would not have to fill out the inspection in the rain..... They were very polite, and professional. Passed with flying colors.

    They were also out on the water from listening to others down there.

    Got checked by the friendly State Troopers too! Busy enforcement weekend over Memorial Day!

    Gugs

  8. #8
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    Default Coast Guard

    Was boarded last year, very polite and well trained law enforcement. It's hard to imagine someone being in a bad mood while out on a boat though. The troopers however have irritated me before, but I guess we all have a bad day now and then, no matter where we are.

    Chris

  9. #9
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default

    Never have but I'm sure my time will come.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  10. #10
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Default

    Everyone should get the voluntary inspections done. At the very least, a VSC (Vessel Safety Check), and if you can, go for the 5-Star (or as many as is practical for your boat) rating. Homeland Security sent me a 5-Star pennant this year, and it's already proven useful in not having my day (or tours) interrupted. I haven't driven a vessel with a COI inspection commercially in a long time. I'd imagine the CG lets them by without a boarding more often than not...

    The USCG is welcome aboard my boat any time, and the Troopers are welcome as well...

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up Free Vessel Safety Checks Save Lives

    Members of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary are trained to conduct free Vessel Safety Checks for Recreational Boaters. Some are also qualified to conduct inspections on Uninspected Passenger Vessels - 6 packs as we know them. The inspections done by the Auxiliary are between the boater and the inspector and is not a law enforcement activity. You can also take a virtual VSC online at http://safetyseal.net/what_is_vsc.asp

    There are vessel examiners in Juneau, Sitka, Homer, Kenai, Kodiak, Whittier, Seward, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Eagle River, Mat-Su and Petersburg. Anyone can request a VSC and a UPV inspection on the District 17 Auxiliary website at http://a170.uscgaux.info/d17_vsc_page.htm. The examiners will go to your boat - the boat does not have to be in the water for the examination.

    UPV's can then qualify for the 5-Star program which is a higher level of safety equipment than what the law requires.

    So take the time to contact an examiner near you and have a safe summer on the water

  12. #12

    Default

    The helo was most likely an AirSta Kodiak H60 temporarily stationed out of Cordova.

    One nice patrol route for then is to leave Cordova, head up to Valdez, over to Whittier, then down the highway to Seward. Stop for lunch at that restaurant right on the dock. The head back via a southern route such a Montague-Hitchinbrook-Cordova.

  13. #13

    Default I wonder if you would be happy aboput the Troopers asking to

    "Inspect" your motor home, camp or house? For your own safety of course.
    It really frosts me that they can board my boat without probable cause.
    Memorial Day 2005 three Coast Guardsman from the Cutter Mustang boarded my friend's 22 C-dory out of Seward and took 90 minutes to go through his boat. His kids were in pfds and he hand more than the minimum, required gear. The only thing they faulted him for was having his expired flares in addition to his up to date flares. They just took their sweet time going through every cabinet, nook and crany. Joe is a stand up guy, clean cut consientious about his families' safety to a fault.
    From what Joe was telling me, it sounded like the lead Coasty was a badge heavy power tripping punk to me.
    Regardless, why are boats NOT considered as free from illegal search and seizure?
    If a LEO tried this with any other sort of camp, RV or domicile, they would be subject to legal action.

    Rob

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    Default Excessive searching

    Leahy, I would agree with your feelings concerning unreasonable searches, and a 90 minute inspection for a 22 ft boat does sound excessive. Whoever the Coastguard personnel were, they do have a chain of command. Your friend probably did the right thing letting the inspection process be completed, but he might have considered following-up his encounter with a complaint. Ego can get inflated and maybe this guy might have needed a little deflating by the right authority.
    Most safety inspections shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.

  15. #15
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by leahy View Post
    I wonder if you would be happy aboput the Troopers asking to "Inspect" your motor home, camp or house? For your own safety of course......They just took their sweet time going through every cabinet, nook and crany......
    In '98 I took my family on a motorhome trip across Canada, down into the Great Lakes region, back to the Rockies, then up and over to the Cassiar, and then back home. This was before 9/11 and the ultra-paranoid Canadian firearms laws, and I had a declared shotgun on board. When declared at Beaver Creek going into Canada the border guard didn't even ask to see it.

    When I got to the gate of Jasper National Park coming back up the park ranger asked if I had any firearms. I again declared the shotgun (unloaded and in a closet). He asked us to pull over, and he entered to inspect.

    I showed him the shotgun, and he never touched it. He gave it a cursory glance. Then he went through the closets, cabinets, and drawers. He seemed particulary interested in my wife's underwear.

    Much was served by such an inspection. Who knows? That nasty shotgun might have come alive during our sightseeing in Jasper, jump out of the closet, load itself, and kill some hapless creature. Or my wife's even nastier underwear might have done similarly...........

  16. #16
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    Default Coast Guard boardings

    This thread is heading a slightly different direction from Skydiver's original post and I'd like to address the original comments if I may....

    For some baseline information, most boating safety programs are focused around enforcement and education. In Alaska, there are two basic jurisdictions on the water; State and Federal. Some waters are under joint jurisdiction and you could find Coast Guard and/or State Troopers in those waters. Many of Alaska's rivers and lakes have been deemed navigable and are under joint jurisdiction by Federal and State (that's why you'll sometimes see Coasties on Big Lake, for example). It can be confusing for boaters, especially if you aren't aware of which waters you are on. Regardless, when you do get boarded, having all the required safety equipment makes the process much easier to get through. The Coast Guard offers a compliance option (basically a "fix-it" ticket), depending on the situation. Please be aware that this opportunity to comply with the requirements is not always universally applied; we have no obligation to offer a compliance option; it's simply a 'soft' approach to law enforcement. My office processes all the District 17 (Alaska) CG4100 boarding reports. If you get boarded and have discrepancies, the paperwork comes to my office and, depending on the circumstances/situation, I will either offer a compliance option (you'll get a letter in the mail with instructions on how to comply) or I will make the decision to forward your case to a federal hearing officer for review and possible fines.
    As I've heard AKFlamingo say, "Vessel Safety Checks save lives..." The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free Vessel Safety Checks (VSC) with no risk of punitive action by law enforcement officers; in other words, if you fail your VSC, the information is not forwarded for law enforcement action. Once you get a VSC sticker awarded, it is not a "get out of jail free" card, it simply indicates that you've taken the steps to ensure that your boat meets the requirements. Our officers are instructed to look for current VSC stickers and will normally wave you by, but the presence of a sticker does not guarantee that you won't get boarded. If you need a VSC and are not in close proximity to a qualified examiner, please call me at (907) 463-2297 and we'll try and make arrangements for you, thanks!
    The other part of a boating safety program is education and our boarding officers are all trained to help educate the boating public; it's all about saving lives. Personally, I subscribe to the 40/40/20 rule; "40%" of the boaters will take classes and do the right thing regarding safety, "40%" respond to enforcement or do the right thing because it's the law and "20%" simply go about their business with little regard or respect towards being safe on the water. The existing safety programs focus on the 80% of recreational boaters and our search & rescue (SAR) programs work with the remaining 20%. There are lots of other agencies and departments working with this 20% also, including the State Medical Examiners office.
    I appreciate the opportunity to post on this forum and hope that my comments are helpful....if you have further questions about the Coast Guard and boating safety, please call my office at the number above, PM me (or email direct) or post your questions if you think it's relevant to everyone. Have a great and safe summer on the water!

    Mike
    michael.r.folkerts@uscg.mil (907) 463-2297

  17. #17
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Default Thanks to the Coasties . . .

    My experience with the Coasties (including the Auxiliaries) has been top notch. I've been boarded both in fresh water and on the seas. They've been courteous, professional, and have always taken the time to educate as well as check for compliance issues. They have my thanks for doing a tough job, in the world's toughest environments, for very little pay.

    SH

  18. #18
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    Default CG Boating Safety

    MIke thank you for sharing all the CG has to offer and the clarification, Everyone should have the free inspection done, as most of get confued with the written requiremetns and the person to person communication are the best way to learn.
    2003 220 Hewescraft Sea Runner 115 Yam'y, Soft Top "Schmidt Happens"

  19. #19

    Default Without trying to cause any trouble

    Under what statute can the Cost Guard board a boat? Why are they, exclusive of all other government agencies, allowed to conduct searches without cause or warrants?
    "In the interests of public safety" is not the correct answer here. We are supposed to in the nation assumed to be inocent (In compliance)
    Otherwise we would be in a totalitarian state like Japan where the police search every home at least once per year.
    Constituently, I thought citizens were protected from unreasonable search and
    seizer, I have looked in vain for the "Except for the Coast Guard" clause.
    And before you assume that I don't comply with safety regs my boats do, it's good common sense for the most part.
    Can anyone answer my question; do I have to let the Coast Guard board my boat any time they feel like it?

    Rob

  20. #20

    Default

    Rob, sent you a pm.

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