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  #1  
Old 05-07-2008
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Sea Pigs Attack!

I was witness to a disturbing but seemingly more frequent occurance this past weekend at one of my favorite sailing haunts. The harassment of a fellow sailor, in a dinghy at that!
This past weekend at Pirates Cove in Josephine, Al the wood boat festival was underway The Perdido Wood Boat Association . There were lots of boats, both power and sail in attendance. Pirates Cove restaurant sits on a peninsula at the entrance to Roberts Bayou, a popular anchorage. After a brisk sail with my two year old son, I rafted up to my Dad's boat in the anchorage to share a coldie and catch up.
As we sat there chatting here comes the ELITE Alabama Marine Police into the anchorage. We promptly made the beer less noticable, since even a glimpse of an amber, lager, ale, or stout will elicit the unwanted attention of these fine gentlemen. We watched the Gestapo...errr officers! turn on their disco lights and pull over an ancient sixteen foot runabout filled with drunken twenty somethings. After checking for life jackets and fire exstinguisher they were allowed to proceed.
A friend of my Dad's, I will leave out his name and boat name for obvious reasons, had been sailing around with some pretty young thing trying to teach her the ropes of dinghy sailing. (PUN INTENDED) He was in his handmade roughly ten foot catboat. NO MOTOR only sail or oars. The FINE GENTLEMEN decided to pull him over next.
The gestapo err cops told him to drop his sail?!?! and then came alonside. They spent about fourty five minutes alongside this dinghy and gave him a ticket for no registration and the young thing a DUI then sent them on their way. This is the first time I have ever witnessed something like this happen to a sailor on the gulf coast. I assure you, they were not drunk, and the dinghy was marked as the T/T for a larger documented boat.
Is it just me or does this situation just seem wrong? All of the sailors I know tend to be courteous mariners and law abiding citizens. The sad fact of the matter is that while these officers were pulled along side this DINGHY there were probably dozens of powerboats full of people in drunken stupors pulling away from Pirates Cove with hundreds of horsepower and double vision.
My question to you folks is this. Is this common among the "local" law enforcement in your area? Around here the Marine Police used to be local watermen who just wanted to keep things civil. NOw we are getting more and more of these sea pigs. What do you think?
Oh and by the way. To all of the Coast guardsman who post on this site. I don't include you in this. I have only seen professionalism in the case of the Coasties. Keep up the good work. What can we do about these State and Local guys though.
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2008
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Don't most states only require registration on MOTOR-equipped boats. I know that is the case in Massachusetts, at least for boats less than 26' that are sail or human powered with no powered propulsion.

A 10' catboat isn't much of a danger to anyone but the sailors within it.
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  #3  
Old 05-07-2008
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This is my point exactly. Said sailor intends to fight this in court, but who knows how that will go.
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  #4  
Old 05-07-2008
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BTW, Alabama REQUIRES sailboats of any size to be registered.

From the following website:

Quote:
In Alabama, all mechanically propelled vessels, sailboats, and boats for hire must be registered, but there are a few exceptions to this law:
  • A vessel operating under a temporary number.
  • A vessel already covered by a number in full force, such as that of another state, provided the vessel has not been in Alabama more than 90 days.
  • A vessel temporarily using Alabama waters that is under registry from another country.
  • A vessel owned by the United States, a single state, a county, or a municipality.
  • A ship's lifeboat.
  • A vessel not propelled by machinery except for sailboats and rental boats.
I think your father's friend is gonna lose because of that.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #5  
Old 05-07-2008
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i had a list of sarcasm ready to post for these "FINE GENTLEMEN". but decided to just STFU.
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Old 05-07-2008
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In California it is all motorized vessels and all sailing vessels 8 feet and over. Human powered vessels don't require registration. Dog powered?...no idea.

The police can get pretty rambunctious but their job, in case anyone has forgotten, is to enforce the laws. Don't blame the cops, blame the politicians who write the laws. If you think a DUI on the water isn't fair then ask the families of the deceased from boating accidents....most of which are alcohol related.
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Old 05-07-2008
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Benthos-

While I agree that DUI, either on the road or the water isn't a good idea, the risk to the public from a 10' sailboat is relatively minimal, don't you think. If he were in a 24' powerboat with 150 HP of engines on-board, and a top speed of 20+ knots... the risk to nearby people is much, much greater.
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New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 05-07-2008
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It would be interesting to hear the other side of the story from a source that hadn't been drinking.
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Old 05-07-2008
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It would be interesting to hear the other side of the story from a source that hadn't been drinking.
I can hear it now...they were doing thirty-five+knots blaring the stereo creating wakes for other boaters and they look like the couple from americas most wanted. we thought it was a 58' Tayana operated by the Karrs.
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  #10  
Old 05-08-2008
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Why did the girl get a DUI and then sent on her way? Presumably, a DUI implies that you are out of control and a danger to yourself or those around you. In court it will be their word because there will be no record of her condition at the police station. I hope they at least got a breathalyzer, though you didn't mention it.

The lack of registration should have been a warning only. Unless it's an intentional income source or the cops are just dicks.

Sounds political to me, which doesn't help your friend. Some safety-Nazi will want to make an example.
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