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What procedures should you follow for a USCG boarding as relates to stopping the boat so they can board? Do you heave-to? Should you drop sails? Continue on course?
 

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Sea conditions can affect the decision, but the USCG will advise you of what they expect. You can respond with any alternate suggestion if you are concerned about the safety of your vessel. It's best to be calm and polite. Some people are quick to anger and question authority. These are the same people that have difficulties with boarding and receive less cordial treatment.
 

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I was motoring into harbor, they never boarded, I showed them my "paperwork" and they had me proceed while they followed and I held stuff up so they could see. My flares were expired but still within "grace" period. It was a rubber boat crew that came off the cutter anchored at harbor mouth.
Once on a holiday weekend night CG and Harbor Patrol had set up a "check point" at the entrance and entering boats were being directed to land at the adjacent dock. I was waved thru because I had a valid Vessel Safety Inspection sticker.
So, basically just follow directions.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the good info, since I keep seeing stories related to boarding lately, I was making sure there wasn't a specific expectation. I have no problem at all with the inspections, they are welcome to visit me anytime, but I do want to make sure that I don't do anything to tick them off.
 

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Cookies!!!

My ex-gf would make cookies before arriving in port for the customs/immigration dudes.

We were never stopped at sea by any authorities but I am sure pulling a pack of cookies out of the cupboard and having an innocent female smiling face will have the rigt effect.

It doesn't work for a grumpy solo sailor to hand the CG stale crackers... :rolleyes:
 
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Old as Dirt!
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What procedures should you follow for a USCG boarding as relates to stopping the boat so they can board? Do you heave-to? Should you drop sails? Continue on course?
You do exactly as the Boarding Party instructs....
 

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BJV
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we were boarded a couple of years ago at Fort Pierce Inlet.
held course and speed and boat came along side with two young lads
very polite and had a great chat with them.
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Cookies!!!

My ex-gf would make cookies before arriving in port for the customs/immigration dudes.

We were never stopped at sea by any authorities but I am sure pulling a pack of cookies out of the cupboard and having an innocent female smiling face will have the rigt effect.

It doesn't work for a grumpy solo sailor to hand the CG stale crackers... :rolleyes:
Yes, customs and the USCG might take a special interest in your cookies or home made brownies. How come they have a greenish tint and a grassy smell?

:eek:

MedSailor
 

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Lookin' for an excuse ...
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I got stopped once while delivering a boat from the Moorings. We were in the Old Bahama channel off the coast of Cuba (about 20 years ago). The owner, two of his friends, and I were onboard. I saw a CG cutter in the distance, so I turned up the VHF, and sure enough they were hailing us. We were sailing pretty fast with the wind almost directly behind us. I offered to heave to, but the CG told me to maintain speed and heading. Four Coasties came up in an inflatable. They were complete with sidearms. The inflatable's helmsman matched our speed and two Coasties stepped off onto our boat, which was still underway.

They filled out paperwork and never did look at the boat. Before leaving they asked if we needed anything, so I asked for a newspaper and some bread, which they graciously delivered. It was a very positive experience. Check out the picture we took of the Coasties and me.
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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I concur with the advice above. Ask what they want you to do, tell them your concerns. Usually they will be in a RIB so the need for fenders in minimal. Also after boarding the boat will usually veer away and follow you.

I am usually single handing which does create some issues. The couple of times I have been boarded I have asked and the Coast Guard has agreed to leave someone in the cockpit as a lookout while I go rummage for the paperwork below.

BTW the USCG has a great brochure on boarding parties and procedures. I have cited it before (your question comes up over and over again) but can't find the reference.

Fair winds and following seas :)
 

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Old Guy
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Over a whole lot of years I've had some polite, civilized boardings, and some pretty awful ones. The guys with the uniforms, guns and badges get to call the shots, but if you treat them with courtesy and respect they usually reciprocate. If what they're asking you to do seems unsafe (I had USCG request to board in 4-5' seas and 20-22 knots of wind while we were approaching a headland at seven knots), tell them. FYI, some of the inflatable looking boats they run now are hard-hulled, which can put a whoopee on your topsides...some of the young lads grew up in boats and have superb boat handling skills...while others however, are still learning.
 

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I was boarded about 30 miles north of Cape Cod earlier this year. The boarding party gave clear direction (actually more like requests) and were very friendly and professional. We were on our way back to Nova Scotia with a boat I bought in Charleston. All Canadians on board but technically still a US flagged vessel. Dinner ended up a little overdone but all in all it was painless.
 

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I was boarded this summer while reaching a 5+ knots just west of Milford on Long Island Sound. Just me and my wife on board. RIB out of New Haven came along side and asked to board. I asked if they wanted me to drop the sails and turn the motor on. They said no, just hold your course. Put out fenders, and two uniformed coasties hopped on board. They spent almost 30 minutes checking paperwork and various items (I passed) before hopping back on the RIB and then speeding off back to New Haven.
 

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My experince has shown the same. As I was leaving the harbor they asked me to keep course and speed which I did, and the whole thing was 10-15 min. Just the usual safty inspection. The only thing I thought was strange was as the two were waving the orange inflatable over(with it's .50 cal up front) for their pick up the young one asks me "what do you do out there?" I just sail for a few hours before I turn around and head back in, why? He looks confused, maybe he was a power boater.

Brad
Lancer 36
 

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So, I'm fairly new to boating. Does one give up their 4th amendment rights when traveling on a boat in the United States?
 

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This is the 4th amendment, emphasis added.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

It never said "any search and seizure without a warrant". The courts have upheld that a USCG boarding, without any suspicion, simply for the purpose of a random safety inspection or check for contraband is "not unreasonable".

Only way to change it is to change the law. Vote for someone who will, if you don't like it. I've never heard of anyone willing.
 
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