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When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

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Wayne162
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When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

Postby Wayne162 » July 10th, 2019, 12:40 am

I recently traveled the ICW from Charleston, SC to North Myrtle Beach. My trip was after the fourth of July and appeared to be an uneventful trip except for the fact that my generator decided for the 1st time not to start, leaving me without air conditioning for my voyage northward. The run took me 12 hours of leisurely cruising and placed me unplanned about 1.5 hours past sunset before I arrived at my destination. The trip was fine until 10 PM when I passed the SCDNR about 1/4 mile from my destination when I did not see a poorly placed and unlit no wake sign. Once I noticed it with my bow spotlight, I immediately went to idle speed from 3 knots before passing a SCDNR boat and verbally apologized to the officers noting the unlit stretch of ICW I was trans-versing was difficult to see. To late.... after I continued for a while the SCDNR boat was aft and ordering me to stop my boat for boarding. It was relayed that I felt unsafe to stop at that point due to the poor lighting condition, a narrow channel and low tide with limited maneuverability of a 40' Carver. Never the less I was ordered to stop for boarding so I did. As soon as the officer boarded, my vessel had drifted and I became entangled in fallen trees below the waterline to Starboard and had a large tree about 10 feet off my bow that the tide and entanglement were placing me near. The officer immediately ordered me to reverse the boat and had the second officer manning the SCDNR boat move away. When I attempted, my props struck something hard so I was unable to move. I then asked the officer if they could throw a line to my aft end to pull me free with no further damage but that was refused as they said they could not. The officers then offered to call for a tow while the one asked for identification to issue a written warning, the other appeared to disagree and wanted to issue a citation for excessive wake.

The problem here was that the SCDNR placed my vessel and family in an unsafe condition as they determined the time and location of the stop. I am a career retired law enforcement officer, and whether you are on the road or on the water the initiating officer assumes all responsibility for your safety when a stop is initiated. This includes your re-entry to the flow of traffic as well. As an example, if an officer stops your car and at the conclusion of his/her business turns emergency lights off and leaves you on the side of the road, and you are involved in an accident re-entering traffic. The officer is negligent as they did not take proper action to protect you after placing you in harms way. Same on the water. In my case, I advised the SCDNR boarding officer of this when I identified myself as a retired L/E Officer. While he did not disagree with me, he stated that he was just going to forget the warning and/or citation this time and once my boat floated to a position where I was able to clear my running gear. They were off the boat and heading south. I believe by not documenting the stop, this was done so that no paper trail of the contact was documented in their records.

Public safety officials play a crucial role on a waterway responding to distress calls and other emergencies. However poorly trained officials, or ones that feel they are beyond reproach only increase the dangers to the boating community with bad decision making lacking a common sense approach to those they are sworn to protect.
:usa:

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Re: When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

Postby RGrew176 » July 10th, 2019, 2:25 am

Since you were in a spot you perceived to be unsafe and after what happened was proven to be an unsafe spot to stop you would have been well within your rights to refuse to stop and be boarded.

I come by this conclusion based on the following. Back in 2007 our boat club was on a cruising trip. That particular day we were crossing Lake Erie. It was a windy day with breaking 4' to 6' rolling waves. A friend of mine a former Sheriffs Deputy tuned attorney was called by the Coast Guard to stop to be boarded.

Being what the conditions were at the time 4' to 6' rollers he refused to stop then to be boarded because of the unsafe conditions at the time. He did however state that he was more than willing to be boarded once he reached safe harbor. The CG chose not to follow him to safe harbor and do the boarding there so they let him continue on his way.

Unfortunately you were stopped by the DNR. They do not seem to follow the same common sense rules that the CG would follow. Here in Michigan we call them Water Nazis. They, the DNR are the worst to deal with.
Rick Grew

1981 Carver 3007 Aft Cabin

2004 Past Commodore
West River Yacht & Cruising Club
www.wrycc.com
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Topic author United States of America
Wayne162
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Re: When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

Postby Wayne162 » July 10th, 2019, 11:14 am

Good to know RGrew176. I agree with you comments. I plan to have a diver inspect my running gear as a precaution. A routine inspection and cleaning was just done last week so any damage will be quickly noted. If a problem is identified my insurer will be contacting SCDNR.
:usa:
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Re: When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

Postby waybomb » July 10th, 2019, 5:51 pm

A few years ago, leaving South Haven, a Coastie boat was directly behind us. A local cop was inbound. At that time, we were out of state, were documented, and only needed state stickers on the lower corner of each transom.

This local cop did not see Michigan numbers nor a sticker on the bow.

He gunned his outboards, swung around, and starts telling me on his loadhailer to pull over! In the channel with 6 foot high breakwalls on either side, and of coarse very disturbed water in the channel being a busy weekend.

Not happening, no way. I turned on my hailer, and I have a forward and a rearward speaker. I told him there is no way I will do so, it's unsafe, and if he wants to speak with me, use the radio or meet me a quarter mile north of the jetty, in clean water. (I did not see notice the coastie behind me until then). This jerk local cop comes zooming up within inches of my boat and says something like I'm not registered, again, on his hailer instead of vhf.

The coastie enables his siren (so now I think, well shit), he gets on his loadhailer, scolds the local yokel and tells the jerk to look at my transom. Idiot again gunned it to go back inbound.

The coasties were laughing and waved me off as we left the channel.
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Re: When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

Postby Nharrison5 » July 10th, 2019, 8:13 pm

Wayne162 wrote:Source of the post Good to know RGrew176. I agree with you comments. I plan to have a diver inspect my running gear as a precaution. A routine inspection and cleaning was just done last week so any damage will be quickly noted. If a problem is identified my insurer will be contacting SCDNR.
:usa:


Did you happen to take a picture or two of the situation, or get their boat number? Without those and a ticket you may not have much luck with it. Really a shame that they handled things that way. Very irresponsible of them.

I would write a letter detailing exactly what happened to the head of the SCDNR, the elected officials in that area including the US senator and congressional members, the local SCDNR office captain, the local newspapers in that area (perhaps MB and Charleston), and the insurance company. While several of them do not have “jurisdiction”, the fall out from it will cause those two officers some pain, which may help the next person that comes along and displeases them. I would state that you are considering a lawsuit for putting you in a unsafe and dangerous position. Once that is mentioned, it will force the issue into the legal group for SCDNR. That will also help expose it.

Ask for a follow up communication on what the remediation of those officers will be. You may or may not get a response.

If there is a smaller newspaper in the area, they are likely to print it, bring on some notoriety for them also.
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Topic author United States of America
Wayne162
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Re: When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

Postby Wayne162 » July 10th, 2019, 9:18 pm

If I have damage, I will pursue it. I know the location and time of stop. I figure the evening squad can't be more than 4 to 6 officers for that region. A schedule check by a supervisor could easily provide the zone coverage for the area I was in and the officers assigned. I also was with family who witnessed the incident. As for camera's, I have Blink cameras on the boat and they are great, I have not reviewed them yet. I plan to install additional cameras that record events to an on board DVR on every boat I own now and in the future after this incident.
:usa:
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Re: When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

Postby RGrew176 » July 11th, 2019, 2:48 am

In keeping with the DNR theme I have a story to share. It was about 15 years or so ago this happened to me. Our boat Club was on a Labor Day weekend cruise to another Club on the Maumee River in Ohio. We had cruised to Bay View Yacht Club for the long weekend.

It was Saturday afternoon, early evening. Myself and a few other members decided to cruise up the Maumee River to downtown Toledo Ohio. We decided to take my boat for the trip. We were headed to the Spaghetti Warehouse for dinner. There are some nice docks downtown that are a two or three block walk from the restaurant.

I have cruised up and down the Maumee River many times over the years. There is a no wake zone that covers the downtown area. There is a no wake sign on a buoy at both ends of the no wake zone + signs posted on both shores. We were cruising up river and as we got closer to downtown I started looking for the no wake buoy and sign. I am looking for the buoy and sign and it's no where to be seen. I look towards the north shore and see the sign for the no wake zone so I immediately slow down to no wake speed.

As I look to my starboard I see a man in a uniform waving me towards shore. I wish I had never looked in his direction but I needed to so I could find the sign on shore. Now at this time I am no more than 100 yards into the no wake zone. Anyway, I motor over to where he is and secure my boat. He is an Ohio DNR officer. He has a couple other boats tied off there too. When he finally gets finished with the other two boaters he turns his attention to me.

He asks me if I saw the sign. I said I did not see the sign buoy in the middle of the river. He says, Oh that buoy was washed away in a storm some time ago. I said I saw the sign on shore and immediately slowed down. He said you did not slow down before entering the zone.

He then proceeds to run me through a full field sobriety test. Of course I passed since I had not been drinking. To make a long story short he writes me a ticket for a no wake violation. It ended up being a $100 fine. I have not been back to Toledo by boat since that day. Don't know if I will ever go back.

Water Nazi is a good term for those DNR officers who harass boaters on our waterways. I have the utmost respect for the Coast Guard and most of the Sheriff's departments that patrol our waterways but not the DNR.
Rick Grew

1981 Carver 3007 Aft Cabin

2004 Past Commodore
West River Yacht & Cruising Club
www.wrycc.com
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Topic author United States of America
Wayne162
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Re: When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

Postby Wayne162 » July 11th, 2019, 8:30 am

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Re: When Boating Authorities Don't Protect Us.

Postby km1125 » July 11th, 2019, 12:36 pm

RGrew176 wrote:Source of the post
<snip>
He asks me if I saw the sign. I said I did not see the sign buoy in the middle of the river. He says, Oh that buoy was washed away in a storm some time ago. I said I saw the sign on shore and immediately slowed down. He said you did not slow down before entering the zone.

He then proceeds to run me through a full field sobriety test. Of course I passed since I had not been drinking. To make a long story short he writes me a ticket for a no wake violation. It ended up being a $100 fine. I have not been back to Toledo by boat since that day. Don't know if I will ever go back.
<snip>


I know that happened a long time ago, but if anyone runs into that situation, make sure you note where you were stopped and then go and actually check the regulations. There are some buoys around us that are placed over 500' from where the actual law calls for the no-wake zone to start and there are other laws that specifically require some areas to be marked with buoys to be effective.

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