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US Coast Guard
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Andy Burton

Jun 28, 2011, 4:59 AM

Post #1 of 2 (10517 views)
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I think people have misunderstood my remark about "jackbooted thugs" in my letter to the editor last wek. Several responses have been from sailors who noted that when boarded the USCG personnel have been invariably polite. That has been my experience, too. However, When your immaculately clean yacht is boarded from a rubber boat with black rubber fendering that leaves marks on your topsides, and combat-boot-wearing large men with guns tromp through your boat looking for drugs, the fact that they are institutionally polite is moot--I think it's pretty rude to board my boat uninvited in the first place. And I think it's time to start making a fuss

It's not the fact that the boarders are polite. It's the fact that the Coast Guard can board you at any time for no reason whatsoever. And make no mistake, they board with the threat of violence. Should you refuse to allow them to board, the ultimate result is that they will shoot you.

The Coast Guard does a wonderful and brave job rescuing sailors who get into trouble at sea. They should be and are proud of that job. I don't think the good ones are proud of boarding boats, even if they are brainwashed into believing they are doing it for our own good or to search us for drugs.

As for requiring permits to allow sailboat races, I can only add this: Once you start asking permission, you grant that entity the right to say, "no."


Jul 27, 2011, 5:54 AM

Post #2 of 2 (10357 views)
Re: [Andy Burton] US Coast Guard [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I couldn't agree more. A friend was boarded in the middle of the night returning from the islands. He had just survived a 16hr watch during an offshore passage in winds up to 52 kts. The single crew was asleep below after the same watch and his radio and autopilot had both failed. Coast guard lights from behind totally blinded him. They were quite belligerent, though knowing my friend he could have intimidated them somewhat. His over all impression was solidly "jackbooted thugs".

This is not meant as a slam on the Coast Guard as their safety and rescue efforts are highly commendable. In the past the military has not been allowed to police US citizens by the Posse Comitatus Act placed into law as a result of questionable actions by Union forces in the South after the Civil War. Unfortunately the "war" on drugs and terrorism is eroding civil liberties and basic rights we have considered inviolate and taken for granted in this country for some time. At the risk of a rant, I won't go on but it really is time that the pendulum start back the other way.

Protections against unreasonable search and seizure are in place for a man's home. Those protections don't exist on a man's boat even if it happens to be his home at the time. See US Code, Title 14, Part 1, Chapter 5, Section 89.

Who was it that said, "Those not willing to risk personal safety for freedom deserve neither"?
Check Six .......Mal

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