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Coast Guard Boarded Me in Tampa Bay Today!

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Old 02-20-2008, 07:46 PM
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Unhappy Coast Guard Boarded Me in Tampa Bay Today!

Well what an exciting, scary and nervous afternoon I had! I took my Fountain 38TE out for a quick spin around Tampa Bay this afternoon to burn some old gas out of it so that it is lighter in weight when I take it in for the 100hr service tomorrow.
I left Apollo Beach at around 4pm and zipped across the bay toward the Pier hung a left and dodged some crab traps, hung another left heading north toward McDill hung a right at a sand bar and cruised along the McDill security posts back towads Apollo Beach. I had to get my boat back on the lift by no later than 5:00pm because of the low tides and shallow water in my neighborhood canals.

I saw in a distance heading north leaving the Pier Area the Coast Guard RIB running about 2 or more football fields horizontal to me. I see these guys out all the time on Tampa Bay. I thought nothing of it and kept going because they were running horizontal to me far away and not towards me. Aparently these guys were trying to catch me and I had no idea! They said they had lights on and a siren but I did not see any light plus they were far from me and I could not hear a siren over the blast of wind. I was traveling at 65-71mph back across the bay to Apollo Beach during all this. I idled down in the no wake zone in Apollo Beach on my way to my dock and after a few minutes of idleing toward my house I hear sirens and see them coming so I stopped an let me come to me.

They pulled up to my boat, guns drawn and pretty upset. They aksed if I saw them and why I was running from them and to step back in the boat. I explained what I saw and did not see them coming toward me and I never turned around to look at what is behind me while I ran across the bay...heck i am going 70+mph! They asked to board and no problem I let them board. Gave them my papers and answered there questions. After about 20min in the Apollo Beach basin I explained to them if I do not get this boat to my lift I will not be able to get it on the lift due to the tide and there is no place to dock this size of a boat in the water over night at my house. They were very nice and cool about my situation and followed me all the way to my house and let me put my boat on the lift. I almost did not get it back on.

They explained to me that they could arrest me and put me in jail with a FELONY because I ran from them. That scared the chit out of me. I thought what are they going to do with my prosthetic leg? If they take my leg from me will they damage it. If they throw me in jail I have to charge my prosthetic leg up at night and if I don't it does not work..how will I walk. I thought JAIL...I've never been in a jail, my arms are bolted together due to my accident how am I going to protect myself in jail..I can't fight! I think a few years were taken off my life today my heart was racing!

However they said they could see I did not intend to run from them and I did not see they were after me. They understood my story thank god! They explained that boats like mine are being targeted because of all the human and drug smuggling going on in the west coast of Florida area. This type of illegal action is now coming farther north into the Tampa area. Boats like mine are being stolen and used for this purpose.

Still they could see that I was just hot rodding around the bay and not on some kind of mission but I guess they have a job to do. All in all this is the very 1st time I have ever been boarded and I have been boating in the Tampa area since 1997! These Coast Guard guys were actually very polite and nice.
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:49 PM
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Sounds like an exciting day to say the least.
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:57 PM
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Here in Houston, the RIB's have machine guns bolted on in the front and rear at all times. The ones pulling us over are the same folks that protect the Houston Ship Channel so they have to carry full offensive equipment at all times. If you see those machine guns coming at you, it's a different feeling. Also sounds like they were throwing around the Felony word. Doubt they would want to use it unless they had evidence. The negative publicity on OSO would ruin them (ha).
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:00 PM
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Hope ya checked your shorts!!!! Glad it worked out ok!
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:03 PM
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Yes machine guns and all! I was freaking out. going to jail!!!!...I've never been in the back of a police car!

Again, once they saw I was legal and not trying to hide anything from them they were really polite and cool towards me. They must run into some real idiots on the water though.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:09 PM
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Our port is so small that "Coasties" pretty much know our boat. I do try & engage them in conversation if we happen to dock close somewhere. But they are very serious about stuff.

I know its different down your way, and they don't know what they will run across. But, whats the point of threatening a law-abding citizen w/ jail? From a distance and moving at speed they should know its unlikely you would realize thier intent.

If you look up local USCG Auxillery they will do a courtesy vessel exam and give you a decal, that will reduce boarding potential/time waste.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marylandmark View Post
If you had quads they would have never caught you...
LOL quads or Big Blocks cant outrun that motorola .
Fever sounds like they shook your feathers a bit , and scared the chit out of ya but it all worked out OK
ROCK ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:19 PM
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[.

If you look up local USCG Auxillery they will do a courtesy vessel exam and give you a decal, that will reduce boarding potential/time waste.[/QUOTE]

The old goats we have around here complain about "What'a you need a boat like this for and that makes so much noise" so I avoid them every time so as not to get my BP going..Afterall most of them are vets so I tip my hat to them for that..
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:20 PM
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yes, in my experiance they are very serious about there job. Always very social and good natured but dont think I would want to be the one to piss them off!!!!
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:22 PM
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Its not that bad in the back of the popo car. But that board in behind the front seats really does tear your knees up. It really does make it hard to give those bjs for protection when you get to jail.

LOL!!!!!!!!!!
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