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Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 647
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 11:33 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Yesterday the slippery slope became more slippery. Norma of the CGAux determined that the Boy Scout sailing program at Dana Point was actually a "passenger for hire" situation and that UPV regulations would be enforced on them. I recommend that all of you involved with any type of community boating program read this entire thread again.
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 415
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2008 - 12:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Yesterday, I made contact with a colleague from many years ago who has been working with CIMI (Catalina Island Marine Institute) since its inception. I asked him what he knew about the Coast Guard problem and got an education. They have been in the middle of it all and found it necessary at one point to hire a consultant organization called Amergent (Coast Guard ex-inspectors) to represent them to the Coast Guard. He said it cost them a ton of money.

Early on they put together a program for kids studying oceanography and included dive studies which required transporting kids from place to place along the island. They built several platform catamarans they called "deck boats" and were given permission by the Coast Guard to operate them as "research vessels" for the limited purpose for which they were intended. In recent years some of these were getting "long in the tooth" so they purchased molds and assembled materials to begin building replacements. This to the tune of about $20,000 for molds and $50,000 for fiberglass and materials.
Then a few years ago, maybe 3, there was a situation at Emerald Cove where Baywatch observed a similar program with 20 people on board a boat which appeared overloaded. They pulled alongside to give a warning. Baywatch apparently felt the warning was not being taken seriously by the vessel and so contacted the Coast Guard. When the Coast Guard got involved they came down hard on the group who then complained they weren't doing anything different than CIMI. The new local Coast Guard commander then began to review the situation and issued a cease and desist order for all programs even vaguely similar to what was going on -- hence the news clipping and meeting that resulted from the crackdown. This virtually shut down CIMI's at sea program. At that time there were a total of 10 research vessels on the coast and CIMI had three of them. Others included University vessels like Occidental's Van Tuna. Their programs were all terminated.

Since the Coast Guard doesn't have the manpower or the desire to get involved in the day-to-day monitoring of summer camps and Marine science schools, they turned over the monitoring to the Coast Guard auxiliary under their safe boating certificate program. From that point it has become a nightmare of struggling with legalities. CIMI has the molds and materials for their replacement boats still sitting in the yard. This is because the Coast Guard says they have to have inspected vessels designed by a naval architect specifically for carrying passengers. At the same time their program is restricted to only within 1 mile of the shore of Catalina. They have managed to get one deck boat certified but after scrapping the others, are severely limited in what they are able to do.

Regarding other sailing and/or kayak programs, he says they have not had much of a problem. Their instructors qualify with a special use license which requires 90 days experience, a course and 30 question exam from the California State Department of Waterways. No Coast Guard license is required for the instructor and the Whaler provided he/she doesn't carry any students. They used to put the kids in the Whaler and tow the boats back after the wind died but they can't do that anymore. There is a special provision that they can do that in an emergency though.
Regarding a fleet of boats, kayak or sail, and a Whaler chase boat, no special requirements for Type I pfds and not considered passengers as long as an instructor does not enter the vessel. For situations where an instructor does accompany the student, no special requirements as long as there is no motor. Technically there may be a motor as long as the motor is not used except in an emergency, but they have chosen not to have a motor on board.

So for our situation, it would appear that the 2005 Log article was incorrect in that a fleet of student vessels need not be considered UPV 's. From my friend's perspective and experience with regulations, as long as the instructor stays in the Whaler, and the volunteer helpers on board are not paid in any way, it is legal. As soon as the instructor steps aboard, then he must be licensed, Type 1 pfds are required along with all the other accoutrements of inspected uninspected vessels including placards and documents. They figure it costs them about $700 to get an instructor completely licensed including all the paperwork.

With regard to the requirement for two captains over 12 hours we went back and forth with no conclusion. He mentioned the possibility in passing that if after sailing to Catalina (10 hours) everybody went ashore, only one skipper might suffice, but just anchoring would not be enough.

With regard to TWIX, he says we need it because all kinds of places are being called secure areas including Avalon. So we may discover Dana Point harbor is a secure area.

From now on it appears we must be certain that licensed instructors are never allowed on board vessels with students unless carrying satchels of pfds, placards, fire extinguishers, notices, documents and posters.

An interesting aside to all of this was how exactly the Coast Guard came to the conclusions it did regarding such situations. Apparently all of this confusion is based on a very tenuous congressional "opinion" which came out of a meeting in 1964. Since that time this "opinion" has been interpreted in many ways and is very subject to the opinion of the local commander whose tour of duty only lasts a few years at most. What is needed is an official ruling from the Commandant of the Coast Guard that subjects training classes on recreational vessels to recreational vessel rules. If recreational vessel rules are not sufficiently adequate for the safety of those on board than they should be changed. But it is ludicrous that the rules should suddenly be more lax as soon as a licensed Captain is not on board.
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 414
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 12:03 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

This is the news artical that says Kayaks require a licensed Captain.

USCGAux6.jpg
 

David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 253
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Saturday, September 20, 2008 - 01:16 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

This is probably where an attorney who practices maritime law should step in with answers. My understanding is that the Coast Guard can board any vessel they choose. I also understand that they cannot begin ripping your vessel apart without your permission or probable cause. You would be foolish to rely on my understanding, however.

I have also come to the revised conclusion that one should be truthful in whatever you say as there is probably something about making false statements in the process of an enforcement action somewhere in the law.

Mark showed me a paragraph out of the CFRs that says the CG Auxiliary, when so directed, can carry out any Coast Guard activity with all the authority that implies, subject to restrictions the Commandant may issue. I'm repeating this from memory and may not have it quite right. The entire purpose of the auxiliary is a little like the reserves for the reserves, a group of known individuals with some familiarity with CG practices who augment the force and it's reserves when needed.

Given that the national threat advisory is "elevated," I'm not surprised the Auxiliary would be tasked somehow. Also given the likelihood that a marine attack might look like a small passenger vessel, well what do you expect? I think the current enforcement posture conflicts with the Auxiliary's directive to engage all recreational boaters as part of maritime intelligence, but I'm also pretty sure PR is not one of their strong points.

A visit to the Auxiliary site is instructive.
 

John Fellner
Advanced Member
Username: john_fellner

Post Number: 31
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, September 19, 2008 - 01:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Do you have to let them on your boat? Don’t they need a search warrant? You could tell them that this is not your boat and you do not have the authority to allow them on board.
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 410
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 05:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Avalon Harbor was apparently never designated as an anchorage, and there are many other harbors similar. So therefore technically lights and bells.

Title 33 CFR 5.31
"Members of the Auxiliary, when assigned to specific duties shall, unless otherwise limited by the Commandant, Be vested with the same power and authority, in execution of such duties, as members of the regular Coast Guard assigned to similar duties."

In actuality the kayak school at Catalina was actually kayaks, catamarans and lasers. It was multiple schools and institutions including Catalina Island Marine Institute and the Boy Scouts. The date in The Log was September 2005.
 

David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 251
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 01:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Isn't there an exception to having to show an anchor light in a "designated anchorage?" I cannot believe anyone would maintain that anchor lights are required in a slip in the harbor.

Your point remains, however. I think someone needs to decide to be a test case and refuse compliance with stupid requirements. Do the CFRs permit the Coast Guard to delegate enforcement to the CG auxiliary? How does the CG Auxiliary come to have enforcement powers? There has to be something in writing saying so and defining an appeal process.
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 408
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 11:42 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Apparently yesterday the Auxiliary began their inspection of Aventura boats and presented as evidence of their authority two things. One was a copy of CFRs empowering them, and the other a Log article from 2005 which showed them requiring a kayaking school in Catalina to adhere to passenger vessel regulations. I have not yet seen either, but I will let you all know when I do. In the meantime, keep watching for any news in the sailing media and let us all know if you see anything.

I am predicting a slippery slope here. Its like, if you require vessels in Avalon harbor to keep their anchor lights lit at night, then you have to require them to all ring their anchor bells all night long if the fog rolls in. Idiotic.
 

Ted Lavino
Moderator
Username: tlavino

Post Number: 84
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Friday, September 12, 2008 - 05:17 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

"Now apparently they are not required"

It seems that the requirement remains, but enforcement is selective...
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 401
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Friday, September 12, 2008 - 01:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I recall a number of years ago a rumor got started in San Diego that authorities were going to begin enforcing day shapes. All of the Aventura vessels got a steaming cone and an anchor ball. It was never unforced so they never got used, but for years they would be kicking around on the older boats. Now apparently they are not required.
 

David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 238
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Friday, September 12, 2008 - 12:38 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

When I first read the navigation rules I could not understand why recreational vessels did not fly "day shapes." There is no exception in the rules for recreational vessels. This is how some excerpts read:

"Rule 30

(a) A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen:

1. in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball;"


"(d) A vessel aground shall exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule and in addition, if practicable, [Inld] where they can best be seen;

1. two all-round red lights in a vertical line;
2. three balls in a vertical line.

(e) A vessel of less than 7 meters in length, when at anchor not in or near a narrow channel, fairway or where other vessels normally navigate, shall not be required to exhibit the shape prescribed in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule."

"e) A vessel proceeding under sail when also being propelled by machinery shall exhibit forward where it can best be seen a conical shape, apex downwards. A vessel of less than 12 meters in length is not required to exhibit this shape, but may do so. [Inld]"

"6. Shapes

1. Shapes shall be black and of the following sizes:
1. a ball shall have a diameter of not less than 0.6 meter;
2. a cone shall have a base diameter of not less than 0.6 meter and a height equal to its diameter;
3. a cylinder shall have a diameter of at least 0.6 meter and a height of twice its diameter;
4. a diamond shape shall consist of two cones as defined in (ii) above having a common base.
2. The vertical distance between shapes shall be at least 1.5 meter.
3. In a vessel of less than 20 meters in length shapes of lesser dimensions but commensurate with the size of the vessel may be used and the distance apart may be correspondingly reduced."

Then it occurred to me that, with my boat less than 65 feet but longer than 7 meters, I would be trying to fly "commensurate" day shapes the size of volleyballs on my 28 foot boat. Where am I supposed to hang a chain of black volleyballs? The whole thing becomes absurd. Therefore no one enforces the requirement.

Unless "reasonable enforcement" becomes a concept taught to CG auxiliary members, West Marine might start selling little scale day shapes.

Can't you see it now? "use the medium sized dayshapes for vessels between 20 and 30 feet. Power vessels should purchase the nine-foot mast to hang their dayshapes from."
 

Ted Lavino
Moderator
Username: tlavino

Post Number: 83
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 01:27 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

"How do you suppose they inspect for 2 captains after 12 hours?"

I would assume they check the deck log to see if more than one captain is making entries?
 

Ted Lavino
Moderator
Username: tlavino

Post Number: 82
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 01:25 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I think difference is that the form I found is to be used for a "courtesy" inspection that either the USCG or USCG Auxilliary would use while the vessel is not under way, vs. an enforcement inspection that Dulcinea went through. I found other examples that are likely to be used during an enforcement action, but they differ only in format - the types of things that are checked is the same...
 

David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 237
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 12:58 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

So the thing that separates recreational uninspected vessels and from passenger carrying uninspected vessels is the people pay to come along? I don't have a copy of that section of the CFRs but I'm sure going to get it in a hurry. This seems way, way overkill for a even a six pack.
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 398
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 12:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Yes Ted;
That is the format for the uninspected inspection. Apparently they have a bit better publication for the Atlantic side. The one we have is slightly more primitive, but the same wording.
Notice how it says voluntary, without penalty. Ours doesn't say that.
How do you suppose they inspect for 2 captains after 12 hours?
 

Ted Lavino
Moderator
Username: tlavino

Post Number: 81
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - 06:53 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Greetings folks, I've found a copy of the USCG UPV inspection form that lists what they look for and the legal basis for doing so in terms of references to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The recreational version of this checklist is the basis for much of the Safety section of my vessel checkout checklist (http://www.electricmarine.com/discus/messages/147/1528.html?1210563246)

Forewarned is forearmed..

http://www.uscg.mil/pvs/docs/UPV%20EXAM%20BOOKLET.pdf
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 397
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - 04:03 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dulcinea Inspection/Enforcement Response

The recent letter about the boarding of Dulcinea by the Coast Guard was a real shocker to me. I had heard rumors there were changes taking place in the harbor, but I had generally discounted them as not affecting me. But reading about the boarding in the letter and all the requirements they were putting on an uninspected vessel; that got my attention quick. Some of the requirements I had not even heard of and the rest I was convinced were only applicable to inspected passenger carrying vessels.

The rumors I had heard, but not believed, were that the Coast Guard Auxiliary had been charged with enforcing the rules for six pack charters and were requiring things like Type I PFDs with reflector lights and whistles (very expensive), ring buoys with 60 feet of line and double captains on overnight voyages -- things that had previously only been for more than six passenger, inspected vessels. So I immediately contacted my congressman's office and requested their help in finding out what was going on. Jeremy, at Rep. John Campbell's office, immediately put me in touch with Tom Coleman, the Branch Chief at the Coast Guard's Marine Inspection office in Long Beach. I read off the list of requirements from the Dulcinea letter and his reaction generally was that these wouldn't apply to me teaching people how to sail on a 30 foot sailboat. In fact one of the requirements he said would only apply on a vessel carrying more than 150 passengers. But he added the caveat that his job was inspections and the letter described a situation of enforcement.

I mentioned the rumor about the Coast Guard Auxiliary taking on an enforcement role; he said they were assisting to a greater degree since the Coast Guard was stretched so thin with their Homeland Security duties. He added that in Dana Point harbor the county harbor director had asked them to inspect all vessels and he gave me the name and phone for a Norma Lo Coco who was in charge of the inspection program.

Suddenly it was sounding like maybe the rumors were true. I went to the harbor and was able to find a copy of the UPV inspection form, and sure enough it had all the requirements for an inspected passenger carrying vessel and references in the CFRs showing that they also applied to uninspected passenger vessels. The implication would be that if I was teaching a sailing class on a boat that had not conformed to the Coast Guard Auxiliary uninspected vessel inspection requirements, I would be in violation of Coast Guard regulations.

So now I did three things. I called the boating newspaper, The Log, gave them as much information as I had and requested they publish a story explaining what was going on. I put in a call to Norma Lo Coco who agreed to call back later. I also forwarded a formal request for assistance to Rep. Campbell's office.

When I later spoke with Norma she said that if I was teaching sailing to Aventura sailing club members the standard recreational boating inspection would suffice, but that if any member of the class was a nonmember, then the passenger carrying vessel inspection requirements would be necessary.

It is important to understand the background for this new line of reasoning. We went through the same mental gymnastics years ago when we were sometimes carrying more than six students on board larger boats cruising out to the Channel Islands. The challenge at that time was that the students were not acting in the capacity of passengers at all but in fact were participating as crew. This was specifically because they desired to learn crew skills for when they put to sea with their families or friends.

The Coast Guard position was that since the participants were required to pay a "consideration" for participating in the class, they were defined as paying passengers and therefore were limited by the six pack rule. The fact that they were actually acting as crew was immaterial. There was no limit to the number of crew on board so long as they were paid. I would often point out that when they went sailing with their family without an instructor on board, they would only be required to have recreational boat safety equipment on board, but when they went out with a class of more than six, they were required to have an inspected passenger carrying vessel with entirely different equipment on board. The inference here was that in the eyes of the law, to take their precious families sailing they needed to be much less safe than when they were getting the practical experience, under expert guidance, to become safer sailors.

The issue of "too many passengers" on board a boat has always conjured up images of "boat people" crowded aboard a boat, helplessly at the mercy of a crew of sailors navigating perilous seas. Contrast this with the typical sailing or cruising class where one instructor trains everybody to be the crew themselves. The students are the ones doing the work, standing the watches and learning to be safe by practice. Why then should their classroom be any different than the one they will be using when they put to sea with their family? When a problem occurs during training there are always plenty of student crew available for dealing with the situation. If there is peril, it will be when they are on their own.

If authorities were concerned for safety, they would be requiring a father to go out and buy Type I PFDs for the protection of his family. But I think these rules were actually designed to make it easier for rescuers to find large numbers of people in the water when a ferry boat sinks. Then, the same regulations are mindlessly applied using the definition of passenger as anyone who pays money. In fact this is always referred to as paying for passage, not at all what is actually being paid for in our case.
 

David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 213
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 05:10 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I have been boarded on my own boat and on other people's boats three times in the last two years. This isn't any sort of claim for a record, but this is what I do to survive with a minimum of fuss.

First, make sure you are up to date: Flares, fire extingishers, PFDs readily accessible, type 5 throwable PFD (I never tried to argue if a regular PFD was a throwable because I can't throw one.) registration, personal ID.

I berth in the Port of LA,so things may be a little extra tense there. As soon as you see the flashing blue light and know it's for you, heave to and avoid any scurrying about like you are trying to hide or dispose of something. If you have plenty of warning, get the beer cans stowed. The questions you do not have to answer are the best kind.

One member of the CG crew will be assigned to talk to you. He/She may have really good people skills and will try to keep you calm and reassured this is just routine. Don't try to shake his hand, this is not a social meeting. I'm sure they are forbidden to let you get into a position where you might use some martial art on them. Other scary looking dudes will be standing around in tactical boots with their hands on their guns. Really. Their eyes never leave the boat and their hands never leave their guns.

It is "Yes sir" and "No sir" from you, deferential but with enough volume so everyone hears. It's best if your senior officer is on deck and wide awake to receive the party. Have your documents where they are easy to get to, but do not move about the boat as it will look suspicious. I keep a copy of my registration laminated and hanging on a hook by the companionway.

I pay attention to the guy who talks and do not drift off. I keep looking at him like he is really important and like I have absolutely nothing to hide. I think this lowers the adrenalin level in the chaps with their hands on their guns, but that's just a guess.

They will ask about firearms immediately. I'm always just a little extra emphatic with my "Oh no sir" as though he just asked a really ridiculous question. As he asks for things, produce them quickly and without a lot of fuss. They will look for and write down the information from each class of item to ensure it meets CG standards. You can direct one of your crew to fetch the items. You want to stay in view with your hands out of your pockets, moving slowly and deliberately. If you have to go below to get something, tell the CG guy before you do and make sure he seems ok with it.

While you are having this little interchange, your documents are being checked out by remote computer link including the hull number and registration and driver's license and whatever else. He/she will ask if you have the yellow copy from a previous boarding and it will help if you have.

DO NOT ASK ANY QUESTIONS OR VOLUNTEER ANY INFORMATION. You are only inviting further scrutiny, as in the example above.

If He/She asks if one of their men may board it is much more than a courtesy. As I understand the law, you are giving them permission to search the vessel. "I'd prefer not, sir." might work, I haven't tried it. They can board you anyway, but I think they need to spot probable cause to start tearing your boat apart. Your reaction can be probable cause, so everyone stay really cool and quiet. Answer the questions they ask in a normal friendly way. Ending the sentence with "Sir," of course. This is a military organization and they respond instinctively to formal deference and acknowledgment of your inferiority.

Sometimes, if your answers are good enough, they might not board. I don't know if I'd have the balls to refuse permission to come aboard, it's something a lawyer should comment on. La Mouette has been pulled over twice, but they have not actually boarded me yet, but they will. I did watch as they boarded a friend's boat. The guy who talks will maintain his position and send others to look the boat over. They really don't want any of their guys in a potential hostage situation, so if everyone is on deck that will be good, but no guilty moves.

While I was on the fire department in Colorado, a young cop stopped two kids on the highway. Instead of waiting for backup, he made them lie down spread eagled on the highway. While he was searching one of them he had the muzzle of his shotgun on the neck of the other kid. Or whatever. Anyway, he blew the kid's head off by accident. I didn't go on the call because I had been partying and you don't answer rescue calls drunk. But I took the firetruck out the next morning and washed down the asphalt because so many people were complaining about the blood on the highway. There was a chunk of February asphalt missing about big enough to put your thumb in the hole.

So I always taught my kids to take cops very seriously because they are the ones with the guns. Being a wise ass in front of a cop of any kind is asking for bad trouble.
 

David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 212
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 04:08 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Mark How passed this along:

BOARDING BY US COAST GUARD, DULCINEA, SPRING, 2008
2Jun08

On a recent great-sailing spring day 1.3nm past the Newport Beach bell
buoy, DULCINEA was finally boarded by the Coast Guard after 10 and 8 years
of operation as a charter and sailing school vessel. The event started when I
remarked to my passengers that we were seeing a Coast Guard boarding in
progress on a fractional ownership vessel out of Newport Harbor and that
they would probably come to see us as soon as they finished there. My
passengers were apprehensive about heavily armed dark blue-uniformed
military personnel in an imposing-looking large inflatable with big engines
approaching us as one had grown up in communist Poland and the other had
done graduate work in a couple of central South American dictatorships.

The Boarding Officer in charge hailed us and told us to heave-to for a
boarding and inspection. “Aye, Aye, Sir, may I open my starboard safety gate
for boarding and tying up there?” “That’s affirmative and I need everyone on
board on deck. Do you have weapons on board?” After complying and
several of them boarding, I introduced myself and held out my hand...he
didn’t accept it but identified himself and instructed his crewperson to go
below and check the below-decks. He asked for my registration and if I had
illegal drugs onboard and instructed the crewperson to check the
recreational safety equipment when I told him that, “ Just to be clear about
this, I’m legally operating a UPV passenger-for-hire charter and sailing
school vessel.” “Oh, well in that case, since they paid to come aboard I’ll
need to see your vessel DOHS Documentation Certificate with Coastwise
Trade endorsement, proof of citizenship--passport or birth certificate, no
driver’s licence accepted--, posted Emergency Procedures and Waste
Management Plan specific to DULCINEA, and Waste and Oil Discharge
placards.” I told him where these and other documents were located and the
crewman checked my Master’s License w/sailing endorsement, current drug
test and CPR/First Aid certificates, the FCC ship’s radio and operator’s
licenses, Rules of the Road, and VDS. The other 17 CFR-required UPV safety
items and equipment that apply to this vessel weren’t inspected. After
inspecting the documents, he eyed my passengers’ Tecates in the helm-
station cup holders-- “Captain, how many of these are yours?” “None at all,”
I said. He looked skeptical, then asked my passengers who confirmed it and
said they were just on a birthday outing and had one beer each, after which
he quizzed them to tell him where the life jackets were, MOB procedures and
retrieval point, VHF location and what to do if the captain fell overboard or
had a heart attack, if the captain had explained sailing safety hazards and risks
and where the Emergency Procedures were located. He checked my
horn, noted my active radar and asked his crewperson to check that my VHF
below was active and on CH 16 and noted a hand-held at the helm. And
again he asked them to confirm that the captain had not drunk a beer. At this
point I offered to furnish him a sample. The Uninspected Passenger Vessel
items he checked were satisfactory but recommended that the plastic ties
on my Y-valves should be replaced with locks and the keys hidden so
passengers couldn’t tamper with the Y-valves. I was issued a yellow
satisfactory Boarding Report and told that for one year if the USCG
approached for boarding to show them this and they probably wouldn’t board
unless they saw a Rules of the Road violation or unsafe situation.

During the examination of the documents he noticed my company name on
my business license and asked if I was also a Shellback and where and when
this happened so we compared notes about the initiation ceremony and
chatted for a moment. Regarding alcohol levels, he told me that the Coast
Guard limit for commercial passenger-for-hire voyages is .02% for the
captain and for recreational it’s .04%, half what we’ve been teaching. I asked
about who this applied to on a recreational vessel and he said the owner, or
the owner’s designated operator of the vessel. He also volunteered that the
previous vessel had been boarded because they had been violating Rule 9 all
the way up the harbor but when boarded said that they had never heard of
that Rule. I said that I wasn’t surprised, as 95% of unlicensed sailors aren’t
aware of Rule 9.

As we were wrapping up, another Newport Beach fractional-ownership
sailing vessel was bearing down on us so the boarding officer said we better
make way for them. I went in gear and eased around to the same heading as
the approaching vessel that was coming up on us and said, “Now, we’re the
Overtaken Vessel so we’re Stand-on and she’s the Give-way Vessel.” He
laughed, jumped in his big Zodiac and roared off to board them. But he still
didn’t let me shake his hand.

Captain Don Moseley

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