Boarded by the Coast Guard

Yesterday I was out sailing with a friend in Elliott Bay, well I guess we weren’t really sailing because there was no wind….  anyhow, we were trying to figure out what to do next, and hadn’t planned on being out very long.

We’d seen one of the smaller Coast Guard boats running around near us for a while, and when it came straight towards us, I figured something was going on.

Sure enough, they politely asked if we had been boarded and inspected recently by the Coast Guard, to which I replied that we hadn’t.  They then asked, again very politely, if they could do so.  It didn’t really seem like a question that had an answer other than “sure”, so that’s what I said.  They asked permission to come aboard, and two of them transferred, rather adeftly, to my boat to start the inspection.

They looked at life jackets, bilges, wastewater pumpouts, toilets, fire extinguishers, flares, and engine compartments.  They found a couple of things wrong, but since it was an inspection, they just asked me to fix them.  I suppose they could have fined me, but they were extremely nice and courteous.

We both asked some questions of them, about the process and regulations, and about their fast boat and strange weapons that they were more than happy to explain.

Overall, it was a very pleasant experience, and at no time did I feel uncomfortable or anything at all.  They were so super polite and efficient, and very courteous, as well as even a bit joking at the end.  I’m glad they try to make it as stress-free as possible.

I’ll be changing my fire extinguishers and zip-tying my pumpout valves here in the next few days just in case they decide to check up on me, and because it’s apparently the law.

The only bad thing was that as a result of being below during very barfy waves, I got really motion sick and we had to abandon sailing about an hour afterward, and I barely made it to the dock.  I was shot the rest of the day…

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About Steve Mitchell

I live in Seattle, WA and love sailing, technology, & playing and composing music. I started playing the piano when I was 3, and ended up figuring out many other instruments along the way. I'm an avid sailor and have a 2000 Beneteau 311 named Grace, and sail it whenever and wherever I can.

  • Glad to hear you had a good experience. The vast majority of Coasties are professionals with exacting expertise. They are the Guardians that give us comfort to set sail.

  • fornetti

    I do not believe this

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