Boarded by the Coast Guard!

Shellerina was stopped and boarded by the USCG this morning in the outer Jacksonville FL harbor. “Welcome Aboard” was my first greeting.

We’ve been through this 3 times before over the years. Mostly it is a chance to show we’ve got everything in order.

Here is today’s checklist:

Drivers License

Boat Registration


Flares w/o an expired date !

Fire Extinguishers

Horn works!

Bilge inspection

Asked about Boaters Safety certs etc. But did not ask to see. In past visits, USCG Rules Book was asked about too.

These young Guardsmen were friendly, courteous, professional.

As our hailing port is Long Island NY, the senior of the two was curious about Block Island (RI).

We carried on about our trips out there, and Block’s Wind Farm, etc. I gave him our boater’s card, he said he and his dad will look forward to checking out these pics and blog posts.

He also has a brother studying to be a wind farm tech or engineer or something.


Free Advice #1: Don’t chastise them for having an overloaded RIB! <wink>. Afterall, they have the guns. <wink>

(More tips below.)

These routine stops are called “4100-s” named after the form they fill out and give us a copy of.

FYI, it is important for one crew member of your boat to “stand watch” during this 20-25 minute “visit”.

e.g. In the swift currents of JAX harbor, we came real close to hitting a large nun buoy.

I quickly realized, these guys are not responsible for MY vessel while they are on-board.

Keep your engine running. (I let them know when I was in neutral so they knew it was safe to approach and board.)

So, after the near miss with the large nun buoy, Shelly took control of the helm at that point… Using idle speed maneuvering and the bow thruster to keep us in good shape, while I continued as “social director” with our guests.

My [serious] observation:

They will totally respect your need to put safe navigation above their requests for documents and information.

“Stay in control of your vessel at all times.”

Advice #2:

Work it out with the Admiral ahead of time, “Who is doing what?!”

Who is standing watch and keeping your vessel off the rocks and/or not hitting “stuff” and

Who is going to entertain these “guests”, blowing horns and digging out flares and registration docs and the like! LOL

Advice #3:

Know where this “stuff” is on your boat! (Thus my list for you, above!)

There is nothing illegal about: “Honey, where are the fire extinguishers?!” But… well… We should all aspire to something higher than that! <grin>

Advice #4:

Lastly, try to enjoy the experience with these young “Coasties” as best you possibly can.

(It has never been “unpleasant” for us, in several boardings over the years. )

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