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Boat owners say they were fearful during Coast Guard search
The Monterey Herald ^ | September 18, 2005 | VIRGINIA HENNESSEY

Posted on 09/22/2005 2:42:37 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Two of the Moss Landing Harbor residents who were the subjects of random boat searches during Labor Day Weekend say their experiences were closer to armed invasions than the friendly "safety inspections" characterized by U.S. Coast Guard officials.

Both residents said search crews entered the harbor in inflatable boats with machine guns mounted on their bows. Then, carrying M-16 rifles, they approached residents and boarded and searched their boats in the name of safety and "homeland security."

One resident, who asked not to be identified for fear or retribution, said his experience was "very intimidating, very frightening."

"To me it reeks of Nazi Germany and the death squads in Argentina," he said. "I don't want my name on their list."

Scott Jones, a live-aboard resident who was searched, said there has been talk in the harbor about contacting the American Civil Liberties Union, but he first wants to hear further from the Coast Guard about its future intentions.

Lt. Mark Warren of the Monterey Coast Guard Station said he has heard mostly positive response to the operation, but may rethink future actions given current criticisms.

"We take lessons and learn from these types of operations. If the public is genuinely distasteful of it, we might not do it," he said. "I'm not saying we won't, but I'm not saying we will."

In addition to trying to ensure the safety of boats on the bay during the holiday weekend, Warren said, the operation was part of an effort to increase the public's awareness of the Coast Guard's role as a law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. He said the public might have been surprised to see weaponry that is now standard issue to all Homeland Security forces.

"I, as a U.S. citizen, am highly offended by that," said Jones, who is accustomed to Coast Guard boardings when he sails. "When a sheriff's deputy drives down the road or a CHP officer drives down the road and I see them, I'm aware of his job, and not because he's pulled me over and put a gun to my head.

"The Coast Guard's needs would be better served by an advertising campaign," he said, "rather than bullying people in their bedrooms at 10:30 at night."

Jones said he and his wife were sleeping when they were awakened by knocking on the side of the boat.

He went to the deck and was confronted by two armed officers asking if they could come aboard. Thinking something had happened in the harbor that the officers needed to talk to him about, Jones acquiesced.

"It seemed a little unreasonable at 10:30 at night," he said, "but it was the middle of the night and I was half asleep, so I said 'OK.' At this point, I looked out and saw six to eight officers (on the dock) and all appeared armed."

The officers boarded his boat and quickly spread out beyond the immediate deck without invitation, saying they were conducting a safety inspection.

"I can say with all certainly that what they did was not a safety inspection or in any way related to a safety inspection," he said. The officers demanded access to the bilge, saying they wanted to make sure the boat wasn't taking on water.

"This was highly suspect," Jones said. "If you're on board, you'd know if you were taking on water."

When Jones showed them the bilge, the officers repeatedly, and with increasing forcefulness, demanded to know if there were other accesses to the bilge. They also "demanded" the driver's licenses of everyone on board.

Increasingly upset by the nature of the search, Jones asked for the officers' authority and justification. One officer read to him from a federal code authorizing the search.

"It was either the Patriot Act or homeland security,"Jones said.

Warren said the officers would not have cited the Patriot Act because it affords the Coast Guard no additional authority.

Jones conceded he may have heard "homeland security" and registered "Patriot Act," but still feels the search was unwarranted and in a gray area of the law at best.

"I wouldn't question their professionalism, but I do question their motive and their authority," he said. "To me, it sounds like something that an ACLU lawyer would just tear apart."

Coast Guard officials say they are authorized by maritime law to board and search vessels on U.S. waters, including waters that lead to U.S. waters, to enforce federal laws.

Warren said the officers were attempting to ensure the safety and compliance of docked boats by checking for oily water in their bilges and that their sanitation devices were in locked position. Some searches were conducted at night in an effort to catch boats before they went onto the bay for the weekend.

The second boat owner who spoke to The Herald said his boat was searched after he challenged officers who were searching other boats, at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 2, and during the morning on following days. Told they were acting as Homeland Security officers, he asked what they were protecting the harbor from.

"Terrorists," he said he was told by the officers, who exhorted him to "remember the Cole," referring to the October 2000 attack by terrorists on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors.

"The only terrorists down here are you guys," he told them. "You're scaring the hell out of me with that machine gun."

While Warren was noncommittal about future searches, he said it is important for the public to know the Coast Guard's presence will be increased.

"The Coast Guard's focus on homeland security has increased our presence on the water and will continue to increase our presence simply because that's what Congress is wanting us to do right now," he said. "The concern at the congressional level about the security of ports is pretty high."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 4a; 4thamendment; aclu; armedinvasions; boatdwellers; coastguard; donutwatch; druggielibs; fourthamendment; gwot; homelandsecurity; inspections; jackbootedthugs; jackboots; law; libertariansridiots; mosslanding; nazis; newworldorder; patriotact; searches; terrorism; terrorists; threat; trollsgalore; uscg; usscole; wodlist
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To: freema

If terrorists had used a boat to kill a bunch of people, we would be criticizing the Coast Guard for allowing it to happen.


351 posted on 09/23/2005 4:54:32 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: thefactor

I will have to assume that you would not mind being rousted at night in your home for a drug search.


352 posted on 09/23/2005 5:13:05 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Nov3

There are a few here who accept it. I also believe they think it will never happen to them because they are “law abiding citizens”. Some would even welcome being rousted from their bed in the middle of the night if it would help win the War on drugs, War on Terror, war on Crime, War on ____. They aren’t yet in the majority.


353 posted on 09/23/2005 5:17:54 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Yakima

"And this is the way it will be as long as the US enforces it's right to maintain borders. Many people forget that a navigable waterway is a border."

I am convinced that some of the folks complaining the loudest on this thread are either Libertarians/liberals who hate the notion of borders, or they make their living by engaging in smuggling.


354 posted on 09/23/2005 5:25:55 AM PDT by BeHoldAPaleHorse
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To: AppyPappy

Why couldn't I put into plain English, what you just said? LOL!


355 posted on 09/23/2005 5:33:38 AM PDT by freema (Ready to Rock AND Roll)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I was a coastie. I did hundreds of these boardings. My job was to cover the crew of the boat we inspected. I carried a 45 and a remington 870 sea service shotgun, short baerrel.


356 posted on 09/23/2005 5:36:35 AM PDT by Fierce Allegiance (Anyone want to be on my Civil Engineers ping list? Infrequent pings only to relevant stuff.)
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To: R. Scott

if there were probable cause to search my house, then yes. if not, there's always litigation. i am one who thinks the authorities should be able to fight crime without the permission of the ACLU.


357 posted on 09/23/2005 5:56:42 AM PDT by thefactor
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What is the United States Coast Guard?

The U.S. Coast Guard is one of five branches of the US Armed Forces, and falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is the country's oldest continuous seagoing service with responsibilities including Search and Rescue (SAR), Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE), Aids to Navigation (ATON), Icebreaking, Environmental Protection, Port Security and Military Readiness. In order to accomplish these missions the Coast Guard's 38,000 active-duty men and women, 8,000 Reservists, and 35,000 Auxiliarists serve in a variety of job fields ranging from operation specialists and small-boat operators and maintenance specialists to electronic technicians and aviation mechanics. The Coast Guard, during an average day, will:

Conduct 109 Search and Rescue Cases

Save 10 lives Assist 192 people in distress

Protect $2,791,841 in property

Launch 396 small boat missions

Launch 164 aircraft missions, logging 324 hours

Board 144 vessels

Seize 169 pounds of marijuana and 306 pounds of cocaine worth $9,589,000

Intercept 14 illegal migrants

Board 100 large vessels for port safety checks

Respond to 20 oil or hazardous chemical spills totaling 2,800 gallons

Service 135 aids to navigation

Image hosted by Photobucket.comImage hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted byPhotobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Thank You Coast Guard, Always Ready, Always there, American Heroes, God Bless!



358 posted on 09/23/2005 6:30:59 AM PDT by GodBlessUSA (US Troops, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You! Prayers said for our Heroes!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Blackrobes have costantly RULED that Boats and Motor Homes are "conveyances", not homes protected by our Bill of Rights",...just another example of "compelling State interests" conjured to enhance the police powers of the State.

It does not seem to matter that such dwellings are citizens' homes. One can always put such for as one's defense or cause of action, but don't bank on it. You'll be shot dead in the name of police action - in your home, even if you could have proven that you were not a criminal/terorist.


359 posted on 09/23/2005 6:40:53 AM PDT by SevenDaysInMay (Federal judges and justices serve for periods of good behavior, not life. Article III sec. 1)
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To: thefactor
if there were probable cause to search my house, then yes. if not, there's always litigation. i am one who thinks the authorities should be able to fight crime without the permission of the ACLU.

Yes – if along with the probable cause (and not necessarily “a confidential informant, well known to the officer”) there is a search warrant. I am not a great backer of the ACLU, but I do believe that Our Constitution should be the Law of the Land, and I do not believe that any persons – including law enforcement personnel – should be exempt from that law.
360 posted on 09/23/2005 6:43:51 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: R. Scott
i agree. but the Constitution does not provide for "the right to pilot a boat without being searched."

you are subject to maritime laws if you decide to go boating. and you also agree to random searches (safety inspections). most coast guards, LEO's really just want to do their job and go home. but there are a few who are a little gung-ho and believe they are fighting the war themselves.

361 posted on 09/23/2005 7:08:17 AM PDT by thefactor
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To: Yakima

You said it better than I did at 322, concerning high seas boardings.


362 posted on 09/23/2005 7:28:35 AM PDT by Travis McGee (--- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com ---)
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To: Ramius

Hey, I get a great warm and fuzzy feeling when I see the orange boat or helo. They are the guys (and gals) who save dumbasses like me who go way out on the ocean and get into trouble.


363 posted on 09/23/2005 7:33:30 AM PDT by Travis McGee (--- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com ---)
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Comment #364 Removed by Moderator

To: porkchops 4 mahound
"The traditional American definition of a "navigable water" was that a water was considered "navigable" if a man could pull an empty canoe along it's course at some time of the year."

I've done a lot of whitewater canoeing and personally I have to say I've never seen a Coast Guard cutter on any of the little mountain streams and rivers I canoe on. Where that law does come into play though are in lawsuits where people try to stop folks from canoeing on "navigable" waterways that cut through their property. I knew a crazy old man who took his case like that all the way to our state Supreme Court. He owned land on both sides of a small river and was always pointing guns at people in canoes and threatening to shoot them if they didn't hurry up and get past his land. It happened to me twice when I was paddling down that river. I kind of felt sorry for the old guy because people were starting to vandalize his property and he swears they even killed some of his cattle. I don't know if that ever happened or not but his antics sure won him a lot of enemies. I didn't care much for having a gun pointed at me either but I got a little more understanding for his point of view when I met him and talked to him about his concerns later.
365 posted on 09/23/2005 8:06:17 AM PDT by TKDietz
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To: SevenDaysInMay

Boats have always been subject to boarding and search--they are, after all, operating on and across the borders of this country.


366 posted on 09/23/2005 8:24:01 AM PDT by BeHoldAPaleHorse
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To: The SISU kid

Sounds like an interesting read.


367 posted on 09/23/2005 8:24:53 AM PDT by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: Ramius

Almost.

Love your screen name. Great movie.


368 posted on 09/23/2005 8:30:30 AM PDT by RinaseaofDs
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks; Jim Robinson; The Sailor; txradioguy; Jet Jaguar; Defender2; Blue Scourge; ..
"Seems the jackboots are out in all their goose-stepping glory..."

Jim Robinson, my rant

To the posters, on this thread, that have made remarks like this.

I'm sure you are the same people who said

1) Gitmo troops are abusing "detainees"

2) ALL Iraq USA troops abuse "detainees"

3) President Bush WAS AWOL

You are so quick to buy the media's ONE SIDED story
and believe everything you read
and are willing to find the military GUILTY
without any real facts.

I'll give those of you anti-Coast Guard posters some
REAL facts.

Over Labor Day weekend the US Coast Guard was saving lives in New Orleans.

Among other places.

On any given day, the men and women of the Coast Guard:

• Conduct 109 search-and-rescue missions.
• Assist 192 people in distress.
• Seize 169 pounds of marijuana.
• Nab 306 pounds of cocaine.
Most important, the Coast Guard saves lives.
"Ten or 12 people today will go home to dinner with their family
only because the Coast Guard got them out of trouble,"
said Adm. James Loy, commandant of the Coast Guard.
Now that's a respectable day's work.
All from a service of only 35,000 people, fewer than the New York Police Department.

And you anti-Coast Guard posters get up, away from the keyboard and do something to help either the Coast Guard
or an other agency.

I have reported to Motor Lifeboat Station Coos Bay OR
every week, at least one day a week,
often times more, since Oct 2001
March 2005 update
In March 2005 I became the 1st Flotilla 51 AND Division 5 member
to be designated a CFVE.
(Commercial Fishing Vessel Examiner)
May 2005 update
I head a unit that does all voluntary CFVE dockside exams for Station Coos Bay
and verify compliance to any boardings at sea safety violations

This is what I do

Commercial fishing is one of our nation’s most hazardous industries.
The Coast Guard is committed to increasing safety in the fishing industry.
The main objective is to increase compliance
with the minimum safety requirements found in
Title 46 Code of Federal Regulation, Part 28—
Requirements for Commercial Fishing Industry Vessels.

U.S.C.G Auxiliary Fishing Vessel Safety Division
I am 1 of 162 CFVE's (Commercial Fishing Vessel Examiner)
trained and certified by the US Coast Guard
nationwide out of 32,719 Auxiliary members.
I am 1 of 9 CFVE's
out of 1,704 Auxiliary members in Dist 13 (WA, OR, ID, MT).

So you see I have 1st hand, on the job, experience with being on boats in harbors.

And it does not cost you anti military types one taxpayer dollar.

Feel free to ping your lists,
both PRO MILITARY and ANTI MILITARY
369 posted on 09/23/2005 8:37:38 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (SEMPER PARATUS -- ALWAYS READY)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

bump


370 posted on 09/23/2005 8:42:06 AM PDT by Soaring Feather
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To: All

What is the United States Coast Guard?

The U.S. Coast Guard is one of five branches of the US Armed Forces, and falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is the country's oldest continuous seagoing service with responsibilities including Search and Rescue (SAR), Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE), Aids to Navigation (ATON), Icebreaking, Environmental Protection, Port Security and Military Readiness. In order to accomplish these missions the Coast Guard's 38,000 active-duty men and women, 8,000 Reservists, and 35,000 Auxiliarists serve in a variety of job fields ranging from operation specialists and small-boat operators and maintenance specialists to electronic technicians and aviation mechanics. The Coast Guard, during an average day, will:

Conduct 109 Search and Rescue Cases

Save 10 lives Assist 192 people in distress

Protect $2,791,841 in property

Launch 396 small boat missions

Launch 164 aircraft missions, logging 324 hours

Board 144 vessels

Seize 169 pounds of marijuana and 306 pounds of cocaine worth $9,589,000

Intercept 14 illegal migrants

Board 100 large vessels for port safety checks

Respond to 20 oil or hazardous chemical spills totaling 2,800 gallons

Service 135 aids to navigation


371 posted on 09/23/2005 8:43:31 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (SEMPER PARATUS -- ALWAYS READY)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

BTTT


372 posted on 09/23/2005 8:43:52 AM PDT by BIGLOOK (I once opposed keelhauling but recently have come to my senses.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

I'm with you, Tonk. The CG has got a dang tough job and they do it with extreme professionalism. The people in the story sound like they're counting their blessing that they weren't 'holding' at the time. I've dealt with the CG on a few occasions, and I'm thankful for each and everyone of them. I share your frustrations ...


373 posted on 09/23/2005 8:47:29 AM PDT by 68 grunt (3/1 India, 3rd, 68-69, 0311)
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To: George_Bailey
We are coming to take you away, my friend, my friend, my friend......
374 posted on 09/23/2005 8:49:42 AM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

I can't believe you bought this story hook, line and sinker.


375 posted on 09/23/2005 8:50:18 AM PDT by StarCMC (Old Sarge is my hero...doing it right in Iraq! Vaya con Dios, Sarge.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; Jim Robinson

You know, there's another thread here, about the British storming the jail with a tank only to find their men hidden by the 'police' in another house-
where I noticed and made the call that everyone on the thread assumed the report that the 2 British troops were disguised and armed with explosives, because the (compromised)Iraqi police and the media report said so.

No critical thought process was evident on the very first line of reason, proof. Rants were all over the place.


376 posted on 09/23/2005 8:51:58 AM PDT by freema (Ready to Rock AND Roll)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Anyone planning on buying a boat?

Already have two...

377 posted on 09/23/2005 8:52:54 AM PDT by BlueMondaySkipper (The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it. - George Orwell)
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To: 68 grunt

"The CG has got a dang tough job and they do it with extreme professionalism."

I'm on base, every week, since Oct 2001

I see 1st hand what they do, their resources, etc

I also have 1st hand encounters with
commercial AND rereational boaters
in 3 differnt ports.

This story sounds like the usual one sided part of the media.

I feel sorry for the so called FReepers who believe everything they read.


378 posted on 09/23/2005 8:53:11 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (SEMPER PARATUS -- ALWAYS READY)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Dinna mess with Tonk's CG and thus incur his rightful anger!!!

Tonk, the whining in that article reminds me of a phone call to the local radio station during one of last year's hurricanes, Frances I think. We had Florida National Guard troops directing traffic at major intersections with their M-16's slung, them in their long sleeve uniforms baking in the hot Florida sun. God Bless them, they kept the peace and we had no trouble, the exact opposite of New Orleans. Everyone got the picture? What are you thinking? Safety, give them a hug, a thumbs up, buy them a cold one if you could? Well, that lib caller was whining about how the M-16's upset her and made her feel scared. Scared??? Sweet mother of pearl! Imagine her as the governor of your state!

Anyway, the whining in this posted article reminds me of that silly woman caller. Perhaps she was one of the ones on that boat?

379 posted on 09/23/2005 8:56:57 AM PDT by NonValueAdded ("Freedom of speech makes it much easier to spot the idiots." [Jay Lessig, 2/7/2005])
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

House Defense Review Should Include Coast Guard
by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.
WebMemo #851

September 21, 2005 | |

http://www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/wm851.cfm

The Pentagon is finalizing its congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), an analysis of the strategy, forces, and resources required to make the nation safer over the next four years. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), recently announced that his committee will produce an alternative assessment, providing the Congress an independent review of defense needs. That is a prudent undertaking. The HASC analysis would be of even greater value if it included an evaluation of the Coast Guard’s role in supporting Pentagon missions.



The Coast Guard and the Pentagon
The Coast Guard is an armed service of the United States. Though it is part of the Department of Homeland Security, it also supports defense missions and in times of war can be placed under command of the Pentagon. The U.S. Coast Guard is the world’s tenth largest ‘navy.’ It is a significant force. Since 9/11, Coast Guard ships, planes, and shore personnel have been called on to play an ever expanding role in both securing the nation at home and supporting the U.S. military overseas. During the response to Hurricane Katrina, Coast Guard search and rescue saved over 33,000 lives. At the same time, over 1,200 Coast Guard personnel are on duty in Iraq.



America’s National Fleet
The most efficient and effective manner to evaluate what America needs to secure its interests at sea is to envision the Coast Guard and the Navy working together as a “holistic” force. While the Department of Defense holds that “homeland defense” (the job of protecting the U.S. from conventional military invasion) and “homeland security” (the task of protecting against terrorist attacks and responding to disasters) are different missions, the reality is that, for the Coast Guard and the Navy, they create overlapping roles. The Coast Guard and the Navy must work together to accomplish these tasks. Conducting a strategic defense assessment that looks at the Navy alone makes no sense.



Joint Analysis Needed

A joint analysis of Coast Guard and Navy could yield important insights, including:

Determining the requirements for the Navy’s Littoral Ship Program;
Evaluating the importance of the Coast Guard’s Deepwater modernization program to the Pentagon; and
Prescribing the best mix of assets to dealing with emerging threats and new missions, such as the proliferation security initiative.
The House Armed Services Committee can help answer these questions by including Coast Guard missions, assets, and needs in its defense review.



James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow for National Security and Homeland Security in the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at The Heritage Foundation. John Melogy contributed to this report.





© 1995 - 2005 The Heritage Foundation


380 posted on 09/23/2005 8:57:31 AM PDT by Valin (The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.)
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To: Lurker
It's just one more reason not to own a boat.

Without boats, over two thirds of the earth's surface would just be wasted...

381 posted on 09/23/2005 8:57:58 AM PDT by BlueMondaySkipper (The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it. - George Orwell)
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To: andyk
***Does that mean that they can search boats docked in Chicago any time they please?***

Yes.
The Coast Guard has patrolled Lake Michigan and Chicago harbors almost forever.

382 posted on 09/23/2005 8:58:56 AM PDT by Condor51 (Leftists are moral and intellectual parasites - Standing Wolf)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

bumpity bump bump!!!


383 posted on 09/23/2005 8:59:17 AM PDT by tutstar (OurFlorida.true.ws)
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To: NonValueAdded

Two 47' boat crews from my base spent all night Monday on this tragic case.

They were assisiting our Sister Station at Winchester Bay

I heard most of it on my marine radio.


Large wave capsized boat, survivor says- The Oregonian- Sept. 23, 2005
Sydney Mae II: - Inflated life raft was washed away from those struggling in sea

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/front_page/1127473084172600.xml&coll=7

All afternoon, Jim Parker listened as warnings crackled over the radio telling the charter boat skipper not to try to make it over the Umpqua River bar, but the Sydney Mae II steered steadily toward the 15-foot swells until it was too late.
A wall of water slammed into the 38-foot boat, pitching Parker, Capt. Richard Oba and three other passengers overboard in the darkness Monday night.
The group had cut short its 15-hour tuna fishing excursion and was heading back to Winchester Bay after U.S. Coast Guard officials broadcast alerts that the river bar had closed as plunging breakers buffeted the jetty there.
Small commercial and recreational vessels were directed to head south to Charleston to calmer seas. The turbulent waters at the bar, where the river meets the ocean, make it tricky to navigate, especially at low tide when the flow out is at its fastest.
The captain initially told passengers that they would have transportation back to Winchester Bay when they reached Charleston, said Parker, a 59-year-old disabled Vietnam veteran from Springfield and an avid fisherman.
Now, as they drew closer to the river bar, Oba seemed to think the ocean had quieted down and he could make it safely across, Parker said.
"He said, 'I could probably make it,' " Parker recalled. "I said, 'The Coast Guard says it's closed.' We're getting closer, I stand up. We are 200 yards, maybe 100 yards out, and I turn around and I see this wave above me. With the deck lights, it was really illuminated. It looked like a big yellow wall. It would have taken anyone."
In an instant, the boat was on its side, full of water, Parker said. Only Oba wore a life jacket. Parker's friend, Bill Harris, 66, of Springfield, had on a floatation coat, Parker said.
Parker swam from the small cabin on the boat's flying bridge, where he had been with Oba. He didn't know what happened to the captain, but saw Ginger Strelow, the 64-year-old office manager for Oba's Pacific Pioneer Charters, float to the surface. He grabbed her.
Then another wave hit. He lost his grip, and Strelow was gone. The boat was sinking. Parker's foot got caught in the outrigger, a support that extends beyond the boat and is often used for balance. He went under.
"I thought I was going to drown right there," he said.
When Parker surfaced, he saw the charter boat's lifeboat still in its case, but its handle was caught in the outrigger.
"I'm pulling on this thing," Parker said. "I'm screaming, 'I can't get it open.' I could see the next wave coming" -- and then he thought of a friend, Patrick "Sully" Sullivan, who had called the Sydney Mae II earlier to warn it away from the bar. Parker hoped Sullivan was watching for the charter boat.
"I'm hoping Sully is up on the hill because the Coast Guard thought we were going to Charleston. There wasn't supposed to be anyone out there," he said.
Finally, with a loud boom -- which onlookers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse reported hearing -- the self-inflating raft erupted from its case. But just as quickly, a wave broke over it and carried it out of reach, Parker said.
Harris floated nearby, his floatation coat just barely keeping him above water, Parker said. Parker swam back to the boat, praying for help. Then, 3 feet away, he spotted a life jacket floating in front of him.
It was tangled, but he managed to get his arm through it and swim back to Harris.
"I grabbed ahold of him and hung on. Another wave broke," Parker said. "I lost him, and I never saw him again." Parker thinks Harris may have broken his ribs when the first wave slammed him into the boat's steering wheel.
Then Parker heard Oba call out to swim toward him, and the two swam for shore until Parker told him he couldn't swim any more. Oba told him there was a strobe light and a whistle in the life jacket.
Parker turned on the flashing light, and not long after, a Coast Guard boat appeared and plucked both men from the water.
Forty-five minutes after the boat had gone down, Oba and Parker became the only survivors of the wreck. The bodies of Harris and Strelow washed up later on the beach miles south of the bar.
The fifth person aboard, Paul Turner, 76, of Boise remains missing. Parker said the last time he saw him, Turner was asleep in the cabin below.
Oba hasn't returned telephone calls for comment, but his wife, Sydney Oba, said her husband was bound for Charleston as instructed when the boat capsized.
Directed away from bar
Oba was licensed to carry as many as six passengers on his boat. The Sydney Mae II was an uninspected passenger vessel, meaning it didn't require regular inspections but had to meet federal safety regulations that require safety equipment and life preservers on board, said Coast Guard Lt. Michael Block.
Parker is recuperating at home with bruises and scratches. He has a 21-foot fishing boat and often goes fishing himself at Winchester Bay. He also lived in Hawaii for seven years and said he's no stranger to high seas.
He had joined the captain on the bridge that evening because exhaust fumes from the boat were irritating his asthma when he was below the deck, he said.
"I heard several times on the radio that Winchester Bay was closing and the waves were building," Parker said.
About 18 miles out, as the sun was setting, Parker recalled that Oba said it looked like the ocean was settling down and he'd rather go to Winchester Bay. At seven miles out, Parker said Oba talked to the Coast Guard again, and Parker heard an official tell the skipper to go to Charleston.
One mile out, salmon fisherman Patrick Sullivan, who had gone up to the Umpqua River Lighthouse to look for the Sydney Mae II, talked to Oba on the phone. "It's on the speaker phone and Sully tells him, 'Don't cross the bar. It's very bad. Do not cross the bar,' " Parker said.
Parker kept waiting for Oba to turn the boat toward Charleston, but he said the Sydney Mae II continued at a fast idle toward the bar, where 14- to 15-foot waves were breaking nearly the full width of the entrance.
At one point, Parker said, he and Oba talked about the wreck of the Taki Tooo, the charter boat that went down off the jetty in Garibaldi in 2003 after a wave rolled it over, killing 11 people.
"He said the ones who had life jackets were the ones who survived that trip," Parker recalled.
Parker planned to ask for a life jacket when they got closer to the bar, but said he continued to believe that any minute Oba would turn the boat south. Oba hadn't explained where the life jackets and life boat were on the boat at the start of the trip, he said.
Before a vessel gets under way, federal regulations require the captain to provide a public safety briefing to make sure passengers know how to properly use life-saving equipment. Violators face license suspension and fines.
Parker said he expects to go back out to sea again, but next time he'll take all the safety precautions that he missed this time and caution everyone else to do the same.
"I want to warn everyone to have life jackets and a radio and everything they can to make them secure if something happens," he said. "Because if it does, it will happen so fast you won't have time to think or do what you should have done before it happened."


384 posted on 09/23/2005 9:03:26 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (SEMPER PARATUS -- ALWAYS READY)
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To: Travis McGee
The USCG considers your boat, even a docked live-aboard in a marina, to be a "conveyance" and not a home.

Thanks for the info! Seems like there's something more involved as well, since one's car is a conveyance, but can't be searched at will by the police.
385 posted on 09/23/2005 9:03:57 AM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

"Seems the jackboots are out in all their goose-stepping glory..."

Northwest Coast Guard Members Headed To Gulf

http://www.koin.com/news.asp?RECORD_KEY%5Bnews%5D=ID&ID%5Bnews%5D=4645
ASTORIA, Ore. -- U.S. Coast Guard members from Washington and Oregon are preparing to deploy to the Gulf Coast in anticipation of Hurricane Rita support operations.
Thirty-one members from Coast Guard Air Stations in Astoria and North Bend will be deploying Friday afternoon to Sacramento, Calif. They will remain there and be ready to deploy to the areas hit by the hurricane.
Air Station Astoria is sending four helicopter pilots, four flight mechanics and two rescue swimmers. Air Station North Bend will be sending five helicopter pilots, eight flight mechanics and two rescue swimmers.
The response comes after 58 Coast Guard members from Oregon and Washington have already been deployed for Hurricane Katrina relief. Nearly 30 members remain in the affected region for Katrina relief.


386 posted on 09/23/2005 9:05:01 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (SEMPER PARATUS -- ALWAYS READY)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

BTTT!!!!!!!


387 posted on 09/23/2005 9:05:03 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; Jim Robinson
Thanks Tonkin!
God Bless you for Your Service!
I was frustrated to read some people on this thread, so intent on bashing, Coast Guard Officers, in such a disgraceful nasty way. Without knowledge, all just conjecture.

My Husband, former Petty Coast Guard Officer, I'm very Proud his service. What the Coast Guard does for America, makes them, true Heroes! God Bless them all.

Image hosted by TinyPic.comImage hosted by TinyPic.com

388 posted on 09/23/2005 9:05:25 AM PDT by GodBlessUSA (US Troops, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You! Prayers said for our Heroes!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

"Seems the jackboots are out in all their goose-stepping glory..."

Maritime Disaster Drill Planned- Kitsap Sun- Sept. 23, 2005
http://www.kitsapsun.com/bsun/local/article/0,2403,BSUN_19088_4103119,00.html

Bainbridge Island
Simulated terrorist attacks and emergency response exercises on Puget Sound this weekend may cause Bainbridge residents to sit up and take notice.
The marine disaster drill, funded by a $2 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security, involves the Port of Seattle, Washington State Ferries, the Coast Guard and several local fire departments and marine agencies.
The exercise is scheduled to take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, but on Saturday, pyrotechnical activity near Eagle Harbor in preparation for the drill may catch Bainbridge residents' attention.


389 posted on 09/23/2005 9:06:54 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (SEMPER PARATUS -- ALWAYS READY)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Thank you so very much for your insights!!!


390 posted on 09/23/2005 9:07:12 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: GodBlessUSA
All I'm saying is, there is no proof that this article isn't an exaggeration of two vindictive boat owners who we don't know, weren't out of line themselves. Before I would jump to a conclusion and make negative comments of the Coast Guard, I would want some proof that it's fact.Well put.
391 posted on 09/23/2005 9:07:14 AM PDT by StarCMC (Old Sarge is my hero...doing it right in Iraq! Vaya con Dios, Sarge.)
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To: thefactor

Our Customs Service is also exempt from our Constitutional safeguards concerning the 4th Amendment – but there was a restriction on how far from the boarders or coasts were free to operate. It wouldn’t take much for this to be expanded, and one customs agent with a squad of other LEO personnel would still be covered if the Customs agent was in charge.


392 posted on 09/23/2005 9:17:12 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

393 posted on 09/23/2005 9:28:14 AM PDT by Gucho
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Just a day in the life, brother!!

Coasties are a Godsend!

394 posted on 09/23/2005 9:34:23 AM PDT by MarineBrat (When it rains, New Orleans makes its own gravy.)
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To: andyk

Different sense of conveyance. Your car inside of the USA is not a likely smuggler. Crossing the border from Mexico in your car, it will be searched. Your boat near the coasts is considered a potential smuggler 24/7.


395 posted on 09/23/2005 9:35:12 AM PDT by Travis McGee (--- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com ---)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
The CG would have a field day with me. I keep an M-1A with laser sight and scope onboard with me along with a M-1911 .45. I use them for fishing.......
396 posted on 09/23/2005 9:39:24 AM PDT by vetvetdoug (Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, Brices Crossroads, Harrisburg, Britton Lane, Holly Springs, Hatchie Bridge,)
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To: MarineBrat; Yakima
Those two pics are the bottom line, brother! Coasties are the ones who will save your ass!

"You have to go out, you don't have to come back!"

397 posted on 09/23/2005 9:39:30 AM PDT by Travis McGee (--- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com ---)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

"Seems the jackboots are out in all their goose-stepping glory..."

Tonk, what are they talking about??? The Coast Guard saved many many lives.

My boy, Mike, (Coast Guard Petty Officer) says his unit averaged 25 "saves" or more per day, 12 hours a day, for 6 days during the Katrina rescue. And he was only one of many rescue units.

Derogatory comments about our military are beyond obscene.
I feel this country is tearing itself apart right before our eyes in my lifetime. Thanks, liberals.


398 posted on 09/23/2005 9:42:09 AM PDT by bunches (Don't mess with Texas)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
WELL SAID!

i'd be "interested" to know the sources of the complaints. AND where the story originated.

IF it was the Washington COMpost (popularly know here as the DAILY WORKER), the NY SLIMES or any other similar "mainstream paper", i'd be DUBIOUS, as i've caught them in too MANY LIES!

free dixie,sw

399 posted on 09/23/2005 9:44:17 AM PDT by stand watie (being a damnyankee is no better than being a racist. it is a LEARNED prejudice against dixie.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Coast Guard officials say they are authorized by maritime law to board and search vessels on U.S. waters, including waters that lead to U.S. waters, to enforce federal laws.

EVERY water outside the USA that's not landlocked leads to US waters.
Does this mean the Coast Guard can exercise their authority off the nationally recognized waters of France?

Besides that, conducting "safety inspections" at 10:30 PM after everyone is in bed asleep?
This sounds like abuse of authority whether it's strictly legal or not.

400 posted on 09/23/2005 9:48:42 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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