Always Obey the Coast Guard

June 20, 2011


This time, I just told my son we were going sailing and he was okay with it.  (Why didn’t I do this before?)  The wind wasn’t too great but I thought it was worth getting out anyway.  We managed to get out of the marina just fine which was the first surprise.  And once we turned into the wind, we had just gotten our main up and jib unfurled when here comes the coast guard barreling toward us.  And I don’t mean a leisurely jaunt in the marina — they were going full bore at us.  I knew I should just freeze, but I had to wonder: was there some prohibition on going out now because of the impending weather?  It certainly hadn’t happened before, so I just stood there in the cockpit, dumbfounded.


The one who seemed to be in charge asked if I had ever been boarded by the coast guard before, and I managed a weak “no.”  He explained that it was a routine safety inspection, and proceeded to ask me for the boat registration — which I kept forgetting to take from the office.  I also didn’t have any ID on me because I have always been afraid of losing my wallet in the water.  They checked my flares, fire extinguisher, pfds, etc. and gave us a clean bill, but reminded me that the state authorities might be pickier about the registration and IDs.  I did produce the letter from the previous owner to CRAB, the 501(c) 3 from which I purchased the boat.  The letter had the boat hull numbers on it.  Eventually, they printed out a report for me to keep with the boat and went on their way.  All this while, my son — who is usually a chatterbox — said absolutely nothing, just kept the tiller full to starboard to maintain our relative position.  By the time the coast guard left, the wind had gotten even lighter.  We were out for perhaps another hour or so, but probably less.


Kind of a pain, but at least I had everything else I needed to have, and you can believe I’ll be getting my boat registration on the boat before I leave the marina again.


P.S. I found the registration in my office and took it to the boat on Thursday, June 23.




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