Law Enforcement

Unlike a vehicle traffic stop, at sea one cannot pull over and sit there anxiously awaiting the wrath of the officer on duty. At sea one maintains slow speed and heading until the Coast Guard vessel comes tight alongside with guns and fenders deployed in equal measure.

Objects in the rear view camera are closer than they appear.

A good Coastie helmsman does not wish to destroy your hull or paintwork, and hopefully will not even touch your vessel. In our case two young officers in nice big boots leapt across the foaming gap onto Jupiter while their Law Enforcement Special Purpose Craft shadowed us off our port quarter for the duration of the vessel inspection.

Coast Guard Officers in the pilothouse

This morning we awoke in a tranquil anchorage at Spencer’s Spit, Lopez Island. As we departed, a USCG Defender with blue lights flashing approached at speed. We were boarded, inspected and released with nothing worse than “Very Cooperative” noted on the Report of Boarding, a flimsy sheet that might inoculate Jupiter against a repeat inspection for at least a year.

U.S. Coastguard Defender pulls away from Jupiter

“One of the biggest misconceptions boaters have about Coast Guard boarding teams is that we need probable cause to conduct an inspection…”

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class John Sifford


  1. Sally Seymour says:

    Wow! It didn’t take you long to splash and get underway. Do write of your short term plans. Was this a shakedown cruise? Are you staying in nearby waters to wait for warmer temps before heading north? Or are you heading out for Prudoe Bay? No wait. The Northwest Passage! Aha. That’s it. See you in Maine.

    • We are doing a series of shake-downs over the next couple of months before heading north. This one in the San Juan Islands, the next to Princess Louisa Inlet, and the third will include the Grand Banks Rendezvous in Roche Harbor. Many things to work, but not all things, yet…

  2. Augusta says:

    We had the same, in the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico en Dominican Republic, in BAD weather!
    Enjoy your next new adventures

  3. Stefanie Brouwer says:

    Are you really doing the Northwest Passage?!? Onno and I read up on it and the challenges, distances, scarcity of places to fuel up and get supplies. We’ll follow your progress (wherever you go) with anticipation (and awe!)

    Best of luck you two!!!
    Stefanie and Onno

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *