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In addition to getting our laundry looked after, and making a bus run to K-mart, Home Depot and the grocery store, I spent a fair amount of time online yesterday working on our websites and social media pages. While involved with that, I came across an article (sadly no longer online) which discusses the Coast Guard’s authority when it comes to boarding vessels. I found it interesting reading.

As I recall, we have been boarded 4 times since sailing south from Canada:

  1. By the USCG in the Hudson River
  2. By the French CG in Anse D’Arlet, Martinique
  3. By the French CG in Basseterre, Guadeloupe
  4. By the Grenadian CG in Hog Island

Each time this occured the officers involved were polite. They seemed primarily interested in checking our papers, calling in to their office to verify our passports and clearance documentation. Only once did officers make even a cursory search of the boat. It is quite interesting to me how broad their authority is when compared to the police back on land in North America.

Just be cool, Mon. Everyting Irie!


  1. Very interesting Mike…
    As Canadians, what do the Canadian Coasties do?

    We have a different type of rights and freedoms….many presumed…

    I have noticed more and more the use of the word, “privledge” rather than right..think about it..A privledge is bestowed. How do you fight for your privledges???

    We lose a lot of rights when the “for our safety” card is played….

    Lady J 111

  2. Wow, in seven years of crusing we have not been boarded once.

  3. Capt Jerry Robbins,usmm(ret) - Reply

    The Canadians do not require 50 cals they can all shoot like Buffalo Bill!

  4. Out of curiosity, how much and what type of education and training do the coast guard officers have who come aboard with their guns possibly drawn. During the years we had our boat we were never boarded but I did worry about our dog – a weimaraner- who can get a little protective if she feels we are being threatened. She will most likely accompany us again when we get our next boat. Any knowledgable advice in regard to how to deal with the coast guard if she travels with us? She has always been very friendly when people come to visit but has a bark that can knock your flip-flops and Sorrel feltpack snow boats off equally.

    • I couldn’t say. Funny story though, when the coast guard boarded us in Guadeloupe, our cat Sam jumped on their boat and went inside. We asked politely if it was OK if we went on board and retrieved her. 🙂

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