I wonder if the Coasties pull this kind of shit on Martha's Vineyard?
All the time - but I have never seen them be anything but the utmost professionals they are.
Operating a boat has no real equivalent for most people. Every time you head out, especially in the ocean, there is a real chance you might not make it back. We boaters know there is one thing that stands between us and death and that's the USCG. Most boaters have nothing but the utmost respect for them. They risk their lives almost every day to rescue us no matter what the conditions. If you are overdue, there is only one organization that will move heaven and earth to find you and that's the USCG.
We boaters know the rules. We know we can be boarded at any time and for any reasons. Not only do we accept it, but most of us think they don't do it often enough. The only thing often keeping us safe from drunken fools operating a boat (where nearly every mishap is lethal) is the USCG.
Go to Google and search the news for boating accident stories. What you'll find is they are nearly always lethal. They very often involve drugs or alcohol and at times shear stupidity.
I'd be shocked if the USCG was a disrespectful as described in the article. If they were searching at night they may have had good reason not described in the article such as a terror tip or really rowdy drunken behavior which puts innocent peoples lives at risk.
The short answer is no. I'm on the water alot there and have yet to see a rifle or machine gun on any of the Menemsha Station guys. Sidearms yes.
I just got back from Seattle and I did see a hardbottom zodiac with a machine gun mounted on the bow in Everett harbor.....maybe it's a west coast thing.