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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...
I was thinking of that same incident. If I recall correctly from my reading of Junger's "The Perfect Storm", however, his crew wanted off the boat and had been communicating with the USCG, while the captain wanted to stay with the boat (a Westsail 32?). The Coast Guard refused a partial evacuation and ordered him off the boat, too. The boat was doing fine, experiencing the normal scary stuff that happens in a storm (water above the floorboards, no engine, no electrical power), but his crew were pissing in their panties.
The lesson: don't let your crew start talking to the USCG or get anywhere near your EPIRB or PLB, if there is no reason to abandon the vessel.
I don't know the legalities involved, but from my conversations with CG personnel, once they have been called and arrive on-scene, and begin rescue, they are in command of the situation...not you. This is for very good reason in my opinion.
In the case of Satori
, the CG didn't "compel" the Mayday. They just ordered everyone off the boat because in their judgement it was the safest thing to do. They have the right to make the call at that point in time. You've given it to them.
James - do you know of any case law on this kind of thing that clarifies it more?