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Old 06 August 2014, 11:50   #1
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Boarded by the Coast Guard

There I was out for a pleasant afternoon on the boat a 22'0" centre console T-top with 2 x 85hp Yamaha outboards.

Anchored at Shitten Bay at about 2:30 in the afternoon.

Along comes the St..Kitts & Nevis Coast Guard RIB with 3 x 275hp Mercury engines plus an odd assortment of guns including something like an AK47 - I am no expert on weapons however I think the were probably loaded with live ammunition.

They asked if they could come aboard.

Sure, no problem says I.

One officer with clipboard and massive black assault type boots came aboard, fortunately they did not leave a mark(s).

Asked :-
Name of vessel: Gave it and the reg number (painted big on the side)
Owner: Me, no ID left it in the car (did I have my ownership receipt - Yeah right, I haven't a clue where it is);
Crew: Names, ages and nationalities, given and recorded.
Anchor: We were anchored with a Fortress with 10'0" of stainless steel chain in 15'0" of water, but had a spare Fortress anchor with 10'0" of stainless steel chain and unused coil of 720'0" of rope;
Flares: Yes, flare launcher in orange container and some replacement cartridges I bought 1 year ago.
Mirror: Signalling device in the flare box.
Compass: Yes, fixed into centre console.
Whistle: Yes, in the flare box.
Bailer: 2 x Rule bilge pumps and one 5 gallon pail. A big pail is better when bailing than a little one.
Spare fuel: Yes 2 x 5 gallons in containers with hoses.
Oars (no no rowlocks either)
VHF No, but did have (3) mobile phones among crew. Maybe I should carry my satellite phone?
Flashlight/torch: No, but did have matches.
Water: Two 2 litre bottles of water and the melting ice in the cooler.

Also had a First Aid Kit but was not asked for it.

The officer was extremely pleasant and cordial.

They then boarded a tiny fishing boat and a day charter catamaran.

Good to see that they were checking up on boats.
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Old 06 August 2014, 12:17   #2
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common occurrence when training away from uk waters. Had the Greek coastguard, Turkish coastguard, Cypriot coastguard alongside at one time or another. General rule is never run...you'll usually not outrun what they are using. Be civil and friendly...and whatever you do, do not assume that because the guy you are dealing with barely speaks English that his partner is the same. Brought home to us in Greece when the CG turned up all guns and attitude and the young guy at the stern of the boat conversed in broken English with the boat owner. His boss was at the wheel on the centre consol and at the end of the discussions (Crazy Dave who lives out there was short of a few bits n pieces they wanted to see on the boat) spoke for the first time in perfect oxford university English to say " Gentlemen, if you do not have all the requisite paperwork etc onboard this vessel next time I see you there will be a severe financial penalty..you understand that Gentlemen?" He then sorta mentioned with a grin that he had attended uni in the uk! He always let the youngster do the talking so he could listen in to the conversations elsewhere on the boat. Clever *****!
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Old 06 August 2014, 21:29   #3
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I don't think the UK coastguard has any way of boarding anymore!

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Old 06 August 2014, 21:48   #4
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Originally Posted by SDGANDER View Post
I don't think the UK coastguard has any way of boarding anymore!

SDG
Border force do... we've split out the two/three functions in the UK. So in some countries CG would deal with immigration issues, excise issues, safety issues.

HM CG / MCA did have a couple of boats but suspect they are not used for boarding like this.

Border force have some big kit that used to be part of customs & excise. Not sure HMRC still have stuff...
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Old 07 August 2014, 00:17   #5
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Looking for drug runners?

USCG does boardings at random (though they generally hit me for some reason); around here they are more safety inspections for required equipment.

Generally goes like:

What am I doing out today? [like the dive gear isn't a giveaway] No, no weapons on board (spearguns don't count.)

Show current registration and ID, lifejacket for each person, show flares (hopefully not expired), show throwable flotation aid (required for over 16', I think), sound horn (or show can of compressed air horn, or whistle), show fire extinguisher (required as my tank is built-in.)

Wait a few minutes while they finish paperwork, then get the explanation that this form will prevent another inspection within 6 months or a year (depending on who's talking.) File the form, which has never prevented another inspection.

Total time about 5 to 10 minutes (depends on if the guy filling the form out has done this before, and how fast he writes.) All in all, not too bad.

So yeah, Doug, you're not the only one.

jky
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Old 07 August 2014, 02:50   #6
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On lakes it is the sheriff that does inspections, not boardings. In all my years of boating, We have gotten one ticket when a pro wakeboarder from Australia left his lifejacket behind. Typically the inspections by the coast guard reserves come before launching. Ironically now I launch a lot at the Coast Guard station on the San Francisco Bay, as it is free, and well located (Hence why it is a Coast Guard station), and have never had them inspect me. I do follow all the rules and even make sure I always have my trailer and boat registration.

I did learn the other day when surprising a police officer who was trespassing on private property (Addressing a homeless couple fighting), with a handgun in your hand leaves you in handcuffs until they verify who you are. (I quickly set the handgun down and put my hands in the air, as I announced who I was.) They ran me, and my gun, then handed it back to me and told me to have a nice day. One of them even told me he was a HUGE gun proponent, and said I had a nice Beretta. Not even a comment from them about the pre-ban 15 round clip. No hard feelings from either side.
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Old 07 August 2014, 03:25   #7
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Originally Posted by ShinyShoe View Post
Border force do... we've split out the two/three functions in the UK. So in some countries CG would deal with immigration issues, excise issues, safety issues.

HM CG / MCA did have a couple of boats but suspect they are not used for boarding like this.

Border force have some big kit that used to be part of customs & excise. Not sure HMRC still have stuff...
Have seen UK border force regularly around Poole, Swanage and in the area, have also regularly seem them board vessels including numerous times in Studland Bay from a small rib they launch off the back end of the large vessel they use.
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Old 07 August 2014, 04:53   #8
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Makes you realise how lucky we are here in the UK (says he, sitting in the sun in Normandy typing this. France has more police & bureaucrats than offenders, & there're a LOT of offenders) Never been boarded in the UK, had a cheery wave from the border patrol boats now & then, but that's it. No tickets, leesonces (apart from VHF) , permits, fines, tests etc etc.
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Old 07 August 2014, 05:20   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boristhebold View Post
Have seen UK border force regularly around Poole, Swanage and in the area, have also regularly seem them board vessels including numerous times in Studland Bay from a small rib they launch off the back end of the large vessel they use.
One seems to have been lurking around Eastbourne for a while. It certainly seems to have a turn of speed.

Doesn't show up on AIS though...
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Old 07 August 2014, 07:10   #10
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I would have found that quite scary! I'm glad we don't tend to get that kind of stuff in the UK.

I used to race on a yacht when I was about 14, and one day I was helping the owner deliver the boat somewhere for a regatta. Suddenly the Police pulled up next to us in this massive black rib and started asking lots of questions. They were very nice and soon disappeared after the owner stuck his head out from down below to see what was going on, I think they were just a bit confused as to why a 13 year old was sailing a 33 foot yacht through some busy shipping lanes seemingly on his own. :L
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