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Tragic accident: USCG & pleasure boat

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by JWY, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    I'm sure some Jewish guy said that in 1938.

    Have you ever heard the tale of how to boil a frog? Or the one about those who would give their freedom away for the perception of security will have neither?

    I would rather take my chances with terrorists than be assured of having to deal with untrained, incompetent, armed teenagers operating without restraint or limit under the banner of defending the homeland from myself.
  2. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    The Navy does a pretty good job of watching out for themselves. Not sure they need or want any help. Try driving too close to the NBPL Submarine Base at Ballast Point and you'll see what I mean. If "We are a nation at war..." is a reference to the Mexican drug violence, illegal immigration, and or September 11th, as I said, the CG interception and boarding has been going on for decades. During boarding you can expect to see plenty of smiles. You can also expect teenagers with combat boots and M-16's crawling all over your vessel with the sensibilities of a bull in a china shop. Don't know what the "California" lifestyle is. I'm just trying to get a boat from point A to point B.
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    How to boil a frog?:confused: Those "teenagers" are the same ones dying all over the world. They've been doing it for as long as I've been alive. They are not untrained nor incompetent. Could training and supervision be better? Of course. It always could be. Talk to your rep to get more funds allocated to the CG. Good luck with that. And please don't equate our men & women in uniform to Hitler's Nazis. That's offensive. As for your willingness to 'take my chances with terrorists', I think there are a few thousand people who were in Times Square a very short while ago, when a loaded SUV was left there, who might be more reluctant to embrace that stance.
  4. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Just as offensive as the CG explanation of their small boat operations.


    Since you are speaking for those thousands ... what would they say about not being allowed to walk freely into Times Square without being detained and searched by gun wielding jackbooted teenagers who look on them all as suspects? The fact that for the time being at least we can walk unimpeded in Times Square is a clear example of the fact than not everyone shares your willingness to give up their freedom of passage for some distorted sense of security.

    Without the continued right to go about our own business without government interference, there is no freedom for those uber-patriots to defend.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Haven't been in NYC for a while I guess. People are stopped on the streets and in the subways to have their bags checked every day and I haven't heard any complaints. It's done with courtesy and professionalism "by gun wielding jackbooted teenagers" although most of us refer to them as our sons and daughters.
  6. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    Yes, our son's and daughters also join law enforcement across the country. And they are fully trained before they are deployed in public with a badge and a gun. That is the point. And when other branches of the military conduct training exercises they don't conduct them in the public theatre. It is not the young men and women that I object to. It is that they are not yet ready for deployment.
  7. Bill106

    Bill106 Senior Member

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    The notion of military installations being "targets" is for some strange reason being perpetrated and accepted by the general public. Terrorists do not have the skills or equipment to attack our military head on, they never have and never will! That's why their tactics always target civilian masses where there is no defense ready to cut them down before they can inflict damage.

    Local bases here clamped down on access, citing "security" reasons but I believe it is the exact opposite of what should have been done. Instead, they should hang banners saying "Welcome terrorists one and all! All the free roasted goat and hot tea you can drink and eat!". What better place to confront the enemy than your own home turf? Invite them over for a visit, we have lots of young recruits with all kind of new toys that could use the target practice and it would save a lot of travel expense!

    I agree NYCAP, we are a nation at war, but we are also still the most powerful nation on this planet and no one has the cohones to take us head on. Smugglers and religious zealots are no threat to our military if they were "weapons free". Mom and pop, out on their boat watching the parade or fireworks with the grandkids aren't a threat either!

    Boating used to be a fun pastime and people took to the water to relax and have fun. The Coasties and Marine Patrols have used this security "excuse" too long IMHO and the constant boardings and stops are driving people away from the water. Spending time on the boat used to be the escape from the drudge of the workweek. Just the other day I was boarded twice in less than an hour for "inspection" by different enforcement agencies. There were no problems, but it was still a pain in the @#*! Just passing by the port terminal here is now regarded as "running the gauntlet" with often 6 or 7 patrol boats clustered in a 1/4 mile stretch stopping boats as fast as they can check them. For some strange reason the boats with girls in bikinis on them are stopped first :). Is this really helping national security? I remember (fondly) years gone by when the Coast Guard was revered for their lifesaving and rescue skills but now it seems their role has changed to more law enforcement. I think that's a shame!

    I'll step down off my soapbox now and quietly walk away. It's a holiday weekend here but I have to paint a cockpit, wire a panel and caulk a deck so I will be dreaming wistfully of when I can jump in the skiff and head to the banks to knock down a couple of cold ones and watch the sunset. Have a nice weekend all!
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Police do in fact put "rookies" on the street with less training than the military's basic. Even in NYC which has probably the most well trained force in the country. They do have one big advantage though. Most people join the PD with the expectation of doing 20 or 30. That's not the case in the military. By the time a Coastie is experienced he's heading for a civilian job where he can make real money and go home at night to raise his family. As for "no one has the cohones to take us head on.", how fast we've forgotten the USS Cole and Pearl Harbor and the Pentegon on 9/11. Do our Coasties need more training? Absolutely! Do they need more supervision? Absolutely! These days though we're stretched a bit thin. Often it's just a fact of life that "everything is fine" until the s--- hits the fan. Again, this in no way excuses what happened here, but to condemn all those serving our country is not the way to make it better.
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    No one has condemned "all those serving our country." Playing that card is succumbing to the worst form of jingoism and flag waving. I, and others, are condemning the organizational failures and culture that led to the death of an innocent child. What compounds this atrocity is that the CG has had years of warning flags that the small boat system is broken. They have killed their own and now they have killed a child.

    I was witness to an event in Fort Lauderdale recently that demonstrated very clearly how these people respond and how they rationalize that response no matter how inappropriate it might be. They are wearing blinders and they fully consider themselves and their actions beyond criticism or outside interpretation.

    My next prediction is that the severe penalties associated with the proposed charges will be seen as too extreme and after enough public exposure the CG will show mercy and let them off with a slap of the wrist and nothing will ever be said about the malfeasance and dereliction of those responsible for setting them loose on San Diego.
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I understand that you would like to see these coasties and their superiors charged with 1st degree murder and given cells adjacent to old Charlie Manson's, but the fact remains that this was an accident brought about by negligence. They weren't drunk. These are professionals who do their job to the best of their abilities within the guidelines and training they're given. Sometimes bad things happen and a price is paid. These guys aren't going to be "let (them) off with a slap of the wrist". Their careers are gone; they will undoubtedly be sued; they have to live with the knowledge that they killed a child and they may do jail time. That's hardly a slap on the wrist.
  11. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    From what I understand of Marmots posts this is exactly where he feels the problem lies with the modern operation.

    From how it reads to me he thinks that the CG has created a culture internally that has the young farm boys and girls believing that everyone they encounter has got their hajib nearby and everyone should be treated the same with little or no regard to the collateral effects.

    The people in the front lines of active duty with the USCG are the ones who take the flak when accidents happen, not those who encourage and promote reckless behaviour from behind the scenes.

    I am just moving into my bunker now :D
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    No need for a bunker from this end of town. Your position is a given whether you're talking about the CG, a corporate entity or right up to Tricky Dick for those who are old enough to remember Watergate. Accountability stops at the lowest rung possible. I don't think anyone in the CG promotes what they perceive to be reckless behavior though. It's like police chases. Everybody wants the bad guys caught, and chases are fine until a civilian gets hurt. To a point it is tolerated because the bad guys need to be caught. Eventually, as has been seen lately, some people express that the policy needs to be rethought, and it's done. Sometimes the results please most and sometimes no so. We hire and train people to make those decisions, and when they don't do enough we fire them (unless they run a big corporation:rolleyes: ) Personally, if I were involved in an accident like what happened in NY Harbor last night I'd want the CG running balls to the wall to my aid. Hopefully for everyone else in the area it won't be the first time they've done it. When their is a potential threat to the public or law enforcement I want them serious and ready for anything. This is not the world I grew up in. Mayberry RFD, much to my sorrow, is gone.
    Training also has to keep up with demands and I agree it is lacking. It always is unless everything is going smooth. Talk of jackboots and the Jews in 1938 Germany is not how it gets fixed though. Write (a lot) of letters and e-mails to your legislators and the Secretary of the Navy and everyone else that is in a position to make changes. With Marmot's knowledge of the CFR's and everything else nautical (and that's not sarcasm) I can't believe he doesn't know who to talk with. He just has to learn how to talk with them. These "kids", "teenagers', were not out for a joy ride. Running around on a small boat in every kind of weather, wearing 30 lbs of gear and facing the possibility of making life or death decisions every minute is not done for fun. These people do the best they can. Sometimes that's not good enough, and for that they are held responsible. Maybe not in the way everyone will be happy with, but done according to procedures that were put in place a long time ago and continually updated.
    When this first happened there were those who said it would be swept under the rug. Well it hasn't been. Now, the moment it's released that charges have been filed people say that they'll be "let them off with a slap of the wrist". Well, that hasn't happened yet. So how about we let the people who were hired to do a job do it and see what happens. Then, if it's not to our satisfaction, we can take the appropriate action. Til then I personally don't want the CG intimidated by lawyers and backseat drivers out of saving my life.
    As a side note to those who get pulled over for multiple boardings. Lists of who was boarded by which agency are not faxed to all law enforcement boats on the water. If you are called to stand down for a second boarding do it, nicely explain that you were just boarded and show the report. You'll be back underway very quickly. Most likely you won't even be boarded the 2nd time if you follow that procedure.
  13. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Your faith in my knowledge of who to talk to is well founded but your understanding of how the CG works is sorely lacking. I have written, officially on company letterhead regarding the Fort Lauderdale incident, and unofficially as a concerned citizen and recreational boater to those responsible for CG small boat operations locally and at headquarters in DC. this is in addition to telephone conversations with the commanders involved.

    The forms of response have been, none, we will get back to you (not so far after some months) or "that is how we establish command presence." what was most chilling to me was the response that the training was excellent. They can't understand the difference between theatrical boat handling and operational judgment. If the CG produced drivers for a marine rodeo I might agree with them. But our waterways are not rodeo grounds and those of us who use them are not threats to national security until proven otherwise.

    In the FTL incident I complained about, if we were a threat and had intended to do harm to the assets they thought they were defending, the CG boat would have been so ineffective as to be nothing more than an embarrassment anyway. They were rodeo clowns without a bull.

    The system is broken, the culture is one that can be fairly described as contempt for anyone outside the club. There is no effective system of communication between CG assets, their own command, and local law enforcement. There is no accountability for those actually making operational decisions on the water.

    Training of boat crews obviously does not include judgment and decision making related to the form or degree of response to a particular incident. The lack of communication between the boat crews and local authority or command means ill-informed and poorly trained crews react without regard to the circumstances. This situation exists even when weeks or months of advance notice is available for planning and establishing response plans.

    Try as you may to obfuscate the failures of the CG small boat service with flag waving and anti-terrorism, it just doesn't float. If the examples we have seen so far are representative of how they will react and respond to a real emergency, we are better off leaving that task to local police and better trained and more established military commands.
  14. Bill106

    Bill106 Senior Member

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    Absolutely! These folks are just out doing their job as they have been trained to do and I have seen numerous times when they were met with "uncooperative" attitudes and they will respond in kind, and I can't blame them one bit! Sweltering in the hot sun all day fully outfitted with vest and dark clothing can make even the nicest of persons a touch grouchy. I have NEVER had a single problem during any boarding because I have always treated them with respect and have all the ducks lined up in neat rows. With over five renewals on my ticket, I've had plenty of opportunities to refine the drill. In that particular case, the second boarding team asked if the first went smoothly (it did) and did I give the other officers any trouble. I had to chuckle and ask if I looked like a complete idiot? They looked puzzled and asked why? and I replied "only a complete idiot would argue with a man wearing a 9MM on his hip!" They got a kick out of it and said to have a nice day!
  15. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    The two "marine accidents" referenced are Charleston and San Diego.

    "Washington, DC - The National Transportation Safety Board today issued two recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard regarding the use of cell phones and similar wireless devices aboard vessels.

    Currently, the NTSB is investigating two marine accidents where crewmembers on Coast Guard patrol boats involved in collisions had been using cellular telephones while underway to engage in text-messaging activities or conversations that were unrelated to vessel operations or the mission at hand. The Coast Guard recently issued its preliminary national policy concerning cell phone usage on their vessels while underway."
  16. RER

    RER Senior Member

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  17. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    From the NTSB safety recommendation:

    "Both accidents are still under investigation, and no determination of causal or contributing factors has yet been reached. The NTSB has learned, however, that some crewmembers on each Coast Guard accident vessel had been using cellular telephones to engage in text-messaging activities or conversations that were unrelated to vessel operations or to the mission at hand."

    The italics are mine. I read this as there were multiple phones in use on both boats at the time of the collisions in San Diego and Charleston. So much for the well trained and supervised argument.

    Like the man in the Alllstate ad says, "Mayhem is everywhere ..." and not just in pink SUVs. It seems to travel in red patrol boats as well.
  18. travler

    travler Senior Member

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    i agree with marmot on this there is no unaccountability for the actions being taken any more the training is poor at best , as i came back into WA, this year we were boarded 3 different times buy 3 different agencies none of which talked with the other on two of the boardings the people in charge were very rude crude and belligerent , two months after filing an written formal complaint still no response

    travler
  19. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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  20. jhall767

    jhall767 Senior Member

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    Interesting read. The driver claims that there are visibility problems with the USCG boat. Can't see when operating between 3,000-4,000 rpm. Seems to me that would be "Failure to post a proper lookout" to the rest of us. If you can't see properly you must post additional lookouts or not operate the vessel. No exceptions.

    On top of that the driver failed his "rules of the road" exam four times.

    The driver's attorney also blamed the chaotic conditions in the harbor. I don't really think that helps his case. He was going fast despite the fact that he couldn't see and there were boats and lights everywhere.