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  #1  
Old 07-17-2013
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VSC saved me from CG boarding

In the PNW, and likely most places, the CG is very active in boarding recreational vessels for inspections. I avoided one a week ago as we were entering Cattle Pass into the San Juan's. I was a bit too conservative on the passage plan for the Straight of Juan De Fuca and arrived smack dab in a 4 knot current coming at me in the pass. Eight foot logs were flying past us. And just to make it more interesting the CG in a gofast was coming up behind us with blue lights, damn. As they approach I said, "hey, we have a current VSC", they swung around the port side to see the sticker and they said "fine" and left us, whew! They went right for another sailboat near us that was stuck in the same current, whew!

It pays to spend some time in the dark days of winter to have the CG Aux or Power Squadron do a VSC while hunkered down in the marina. I never thought it would save us from an boarding, but it did. I will have them do it again next winter.
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding

I was boarded in Los Angeles Harbor a couple of weeks ago. Before they did, they asked when was the last time I had been boarded. I found them to be very cordial and professional. All they did was check to see whether we had the proper safety gear, which we did, and looked in the bilge. Oh, and they asked if we had any firearms. All told, it took about 10 minutes of our time. So, I guess it would be bad if you didn't have, say, fire extinguishers on board, but otherwise I had no problem with getting boarded. They did come from out of nowhere, though. I think they were supposed to give me something to prove I had been inspected, but they didn't. I'm going to look into VSC.
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding

Agree, I have had nothing but the best interactions with the CG. Highly professional. I was told specifically by the Power Squadron that a VSC will not stop a boarding but it really helps if you can give them the VSC checklist when they get on the boat. That was the first time I've done a VSC, and I will do it every year from now on. The Power Squadron folks who did the inspection were also very nice and informative.


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Originally Posted by rbrasi View Post
I was boarded in Los Angeles Harbor a couple of weeks ago. Before they did, they asked when was the last time I had been boarded. I found them to be very cordial and professional. All they did was check to see whether we had the proper safety gear, which we did, and looked in the bilge. Oh, and they asked if we had any firearms. All told, it took about 10 minutes of our time. So, I guess it would be bad if you didn't have, say, fire extinguishers on board, but otherwise I had no problem with getting boarded. They did come from out of nowhere, though. I think they were supposed to give me something to prove I had been inspected, but they didn't. I'm going to look into VSC.
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding

What is a VSC?
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

While it may be legal for the CG to board your boat for no reason, it does not make it right. Attitudes like the CG are doing you some sort of favor because they were "professional or cordial", or that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing because you are up to par, do nothing to further liberty.

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(a) The Coast Guard may make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests upon the high seas and waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of laws of the United States. For such purposes, commissioned, warrant, and petty officers may at any time go on board of any vessel subject to the jurisdiction, or to the operation of any law, of the United States, address inquiries to those on board, examine the ship’s documents and papers, and examine, inspect, and search the vessel and use all necessary force to compel compliance. When from such inquiries, examination, inspection, or search it appears that a breach of the laws of the United States rendering a person liable to arrest is being, or has been committed, by any person, such person shall be arrested or, if escaping to shore, shall be immediately pursued and arrested on shore, or other lawful and appropriate action shall be taken; or, if it shall appear that a breach of the laws of the United States has been committed so as to render such vessel, or the merchandise, or any part thereof, on board of, or brought into the United States by, such vessel, liable to forfeiture, or so as to render such vessel liable to a fine or penalty and if necessary to secure such fine or penalty, such vessel or such merchandise, or both, shall be seized.
(b) The officers of the Coast Guard insofar as they are engaged, pursuant to the authority contained in this section, in enforcing any law of the United States shall:
(1) be deemed to be acting as agents of the particular executive department or independent establishment charged with the administration of the particular law; and
(2) be subject to all the rules and regulations promulgated by such department or independent establishment with respect to the enforcement of that law.
(c) The provisions of this section are in addition to any powers conferred by law upon such officers, and not in limitation of any powers conferred by law upon such officers, or any other officers of the United States.
The original law from which this atrocity was drawn from goes back to the Revenue Cutter Service created by Hamilton. It was originally targeted to commercial boats (because there was not really any recreational boats) at the time for, you guessed it, revenue. It has been expanded upon through it various revisions, and in true government style has never contracted to reduce power.

You give an inch they will eventually take a mile.

Recreational boating, not engaged in any commerce, should not be subject to warrantless boarding and inspection. Due process should not be circumvented just because you step on a pleasure craft.
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding

In all my life on the water I have NEVER been "boarded" by any authorities. The closest thing would be a fishing license check by the DFO.

It's interesting that in a country that seems to cherish freedom, you accept such an invasive act as having your vessel boarded for no apparent reason as normal and reasonable!

Most yacht clubs around here require an annual coast guard courtesy inspection as a condition of mooring, and even that is done with auxiliary volunteers.

The only time the authorities will stop and board someone around here is if you give them a reason to take an interest in you!
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding

Doh! Context would be helpful, sorry. Vessel Safety Check or some call it Voluntary Safety Check, I have heard both versions.

USCGAUX: Vessel Safety Checks

The CG Auxilary and the Power Squadron organizations do these checks. Once you pass you get a sticker for the port side of your boat and a completed checklist.

Here is the checklist
http://forms.cgaux.org/archive/a7012.pdf

Last edited by kellysails; 07-17-2013 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding

I hear you on that. I know some people who have been boarded 3+ times. It does seem heavy handed.


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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
In all my life on the water I have NEVER been "boarded" by any authorities. The closest thing would be a fishing license check by the DFO.

It's interesting that in a country that seems to cherish freedom, you accept such an invasive act as having your vessel boarded for no apparent reason as normal and reasonable!

Most yacht clubs around here require an annual coast guard courtesy inspection as a condition of mooring, and even that is done with auxiliary volunteers.

The only time the authorities will stop and board someone around here is if you give them a reason to take an interest in you!
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding

If some bozo asked me to heave to or take them alongside while I was bucking a four-knot current, and neither one of us was on fire, I would report him to the district commander as being an outright DANGEROUS BOZO.

Yes, you can transfer crew while under way. Is it reasonable and proper to ask a sailboat to do that, especially with deadheads in the water? Hell no, that's time for someone to report for retraining. Filing a protest about the unsafe request could save someone's life.
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding

All four of us on the boat thought it was a dangerous request. And while we were all looking at the CG boat coming up from behind us we just missed a gigantic log, literally within a couple feet. When you have six big dudes with blue lights on in a gofast heading towards you it's hard to keep your focus


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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If some bozo asked me to heave to or take them alongside while I was bucking a four-knot current, and neither one of us was on fire, I would report him to the district commander as being an outright DANGEROUS BOZO.

Yes, you can transfer crew while under way. Is it reasonable and proper to ask a sailboat to do that, especially with deadheads in the water? Hell no, that's time for someone to report for retraining. Filing a protest about the unsafe request could save someone's life.
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