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Coast Guard "pressure" around the Niagara Bar

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Has anybody else been feeling this?

I was still in the lower river the weekend before last (trout were still really cooperative) and got pulled by them 3 times in 2 days. This past weekend it was only once for one day out, but their other boat (I think it was the new boat they told me about the week before) seemed to be following us in and out with every drift across the bar. They kept looming around so close we finally fired up the kicker and trolled away.

I'm all for safety, but it really has gotten annoying when I average a 133% chance/day of being stopped while just fishing.

Granted- the yellow form I got after the first successful inspection stops the complete search each time, but it just feels strange.

Btw- I'm not in a horrible looking boat, have way more than the required equip, don't think (or hope at least) that I look at all "suspicious"... Just really frustrated lately.

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I was stopped this weekend as well. I guess it did not help that I was the only boat in the river out of two trailers in the lot. They were very nice and I got my golden ticket as well.


The one thing that I did not know about, but had, is a containment method for hazardous spills. It can be something as simple as a bucket and some rags, but you are now required to have something if the motor should spill gas or oil or alike chemicals. 


Be safe and good fishing to all.

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I'll try to dig it up where I found it on the USCG page. I figured it would be easy to find but I had to hunt around a little (at least a few months ago when I checked). They didn't ask for a few things I had but always heard you needed and said NYS has their own requirements so be sure to check their page too in case the Sheriff's ever stop you.

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I still don't know why the Coast Guard (a military branch) is not guarding the coast but instead

is checking PFD's and fire extinguishers, leave that to the local law.

You should see the Genesee River or Irondequoit Bay!  Monroe County Sherrifs, Coast Guard, State Park Police, and Boarder Patrol.  You can't go out without getting stopped! 

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I haven't been on the water in 2 years but, ;(  on the Black River and in the bay they were getting right out of control, I've been boarded by the USCG, Jefferson County Sheriff DEP. Or who ever and what ever, it was so bad sometimes the same guys 2-3 times a day. Finally I had enough and said can't you see or remember well, they said don't get smart, :headbang:  I said this is the 3rd time you 3 clowns boarded this boat and gave me a clean bill to sail!!! then they gave me a emblem to put on each side of the boat, and from that time on I never got pulled again. I also told them one more time and I'm going to your superior and file a harassment charge, I only get up once in a while and half my day is going over the same stuff, this sucks and I have had enough of you guys, all the while they got me tide up, I saw people flying buy in a no-wake zone and all kinds of monkeys doing dumb stuff, and don't forget your lines are out they drove over our lines and got them wrapped around their props. I had to cut everything off and start over, I laughed when he tried to cut the wire rods, he was getting pissed, and I just stood their I wouldn't help the jerk!! :mooning:  I plan on getting up in a few weeks, so we will see what happens, because I have a new to me boat, 22ft Sea Ray cuddy I've been working on her for a year and a half, she is sweet(to me) :clap:  I did a shake down run on a local lake and just doing some finals, then the trip to the Black River Camp Grounds, where we have a camper, I usually trailer out to Henderson to the public launch, or I'll put in at Trudys bait shop in Dexter to fish the river or the north shore towards Chaumont Bay. So new face on the water maybe I'll get the once over again?? :punch:  

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That all sounds like overboard enforcement but down here in the Finger Lakes I wish they'd pick it up a notch.  I've been stopped twice in about eight years and one of those times all they asked was "what's in the cooler?" I told them nothing but sawbellies (frozen at the time) and they didn't even ask to see it or for the receipt.  Didn't check anything else, no safety gear, nothing.  I see guys doing dumb / illegal stuff all the time and absolutely no enforcement.  Wouldn't want to be harassed but have a presence please!

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That all sounds like overboard enforcement but down here in the Finger Lakes I wish they'd pick it up a notch.  I've been stopped twice in about eight years and one of those times all they asked was "what's in the cooler?" I told them nothing but sawbellies (frozen at the time) and they didn't even ask to see it or for the receipt.  Didn't check anything else, no safety gear, nothing.  I see guys doing dumb / illegal stuff all the time and absolutely no enforcement.  Wouldn't want to be harassed but have a presence please!


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It makes boating / fishing  unpleasant when you're always looking over your shoulder for the Coast Guard.

Does the Coast Guard work inland lakes?


I'v been fishing the finger lakes when the DEC was checking everyone.

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What Type of Items Are Checked?

  • Life Jackets
  • Registration and numbering
  • Navigation lights
  • Ventilation
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Distress signals (flares, horn, etc.)
  • Battery cover and connections

All of these items are currently required by state and federal laws and, if missing or non-operating, can result in a citation if your vessel is inspected by the Coast Guard.

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As a licensed charter captian I get the U.S.Coast Guard Charter Vessel Inspection with Decal and NY State Public Vessel Inspection with Decal every year.Since I started doing that I have never been stopped in 5 years in U.S. Waters.But in Canadian Waters you get stopped every time out on the Upper Niagara River by the O.P.P. boat that has the Police, Game Warden & Imigration Officer's all on one boat and it doesn't matter how many times you got stopped before, they always seem to wait until you got all your lines in the water, so they can say reel them in!

Sent from my SCH-I200 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Here is a complete inspection.The virtual vessel examiner will really help you out

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Online Virtual Vessel Safety Check

spyglass.jpgYou can use this page to check your own boat. We suggest you print the form that we use to also use as a guide while performing this self-inspection. You can get the form here and it requires that you have the free Adobe Acrobat reader installed on your computer. If you do not have the reader, you can download a copy from here: Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Use our Virtual Vessel Examiner to check your vessel by simply answering a series of questions. Click here to use that tool. Once you have passed, follow the instructions in the next paragraph to have one of our volunteers check your vessel and award you with the safety sticker to display on your boat!

After you have completed the self-examination, you can request that one of our examiners perform an actual Vessel Safety Check by using the " I Want a VSC" menu link in the menu to your left and enter your ZIP Code to contact an examiner near you.

Note that in addition to the minimum federal requirements stated here, the owner/operator may be required to comply with other regulations and/or laws specific to the state in which their recreational vessel is registered or operated. To ensure compliance with state boating laws, boaters should contact the appropriate boating agency in their area for additional information.

To view the Federal Requirements Brochure online, please click here.

To download a copy of the U/S. Coast Guard’s Federal Requirements Brochure for Recreational Boaters please click here.

Item 1 - Display of Numbers:

The boat's registration number must be permanently attached to each side of the forward half of the boat They must be plain, vertical, block characters, not less than three (3) inches high, and in a color contrasting with the background. A space or hyphen must separate the letters from the numbers. Place State tax sticker according to State policy.

(e.g. FL 1234 AB or FL-1234-AB)


Item 2 - Registration / Documentation:

Registration or Documentation papers must be on board and available. Documentation numbers must be permanently marked on a visible part of the interior structure. The documented boat's name and hailing port must be displayed on the exterior hull in letters not less than 4 inches in height. To be documented a boat must be 5 net tons or greater.


Item 3 - Personal Flotation Devices (PFD):

Acceptable PFDs (also known as Life Jackets) must be U.S. Coast Guard approved, in good serviceable condition, and of suitable size for the each person on the boat. Children must have properly fitted PFDs designed for children. Wearable PFDs shall be "readily accessible." Throwable devices shall be "immediately available." PFDs shall NOT be stored in unopened plastic packaging. For Personal Watercraft riders, the PFD must be worn and indicate an impact rating. Boats 16 Feet or longer, must also have one Type IV.




Item 4 - Visual Distress Signals (VDS):

Recreational boats 16 feet and over used on coastal waters or the Great Lakes are required to carry a minimum of either 1) three day and three night pyrotechnic devices, 2) one day non-pyrotechnic device (flag) and one night non-pyrotechnic device (auto SOS light) or 3) a combination of 1) and 2). Recreational boats less than 16 feet on coastal waters or the Great Lakes need only carry night visual distress signals when operating from sunset to sunrise.

It is recommended, but not required, that boats operating on inland waters should have some means of making a suitable day and night distress signal. The number and type of signals is best judged by considering conditions under which the boat will be operating. Alternatives to pyrotechnic devices (flares) include:

Night Day Strobe light Signal mirror Flashlight Red or orange flags Lantern Hand signals flares.jpgItem 5 - Fire Extinguishers:

Fire extinguishers are required if one of the following conditions exists: (1) Inboard engine(s); (2) Closed compartments that store portable fuel tanks; (3) Double bottom hulls not completely sealed or not completely filled with flotation materials (4) Closed living space (5) Closed stowage compartments that contain flammable materials or (6) Permanently installed fuel tanks NOTE: Fire extinguishers must be readily accessible and verified as serviceable.

Minimum number of extinguishers required:

Boat Length No Fixed System W/Fixed System Less than 26' one B-1 none 26' to less than 40' two B-1 or one B-2 one B-1 40' to 65'

three B-1 or
one B-1 & one B-2
two B-1 or
one B-2

fireex.jpgItem 6 - Ventilation:

Boats with gasoline engines in closed compartments, built after 1 August 1980 must have a powered ventilation system. Those built prior to that date must have natural or powered ventilation.

Boats with closed fuel tank compartments built after 1 August 1978 must meet requirements by displaying a "certificate of compliance." Boats built before that date must have either natural or powered ventilation in the fuel tank compartment.  blower.jpgItem 7 - Backfire Flame Control:

All gasoline powered inboard/outboard or inboard motor boats must be equipped with an approved backfire flame control device.  backfire.jpgItem 8 - Sound Producing Devices / Bell:

To comply with Navigation Rules and for distress signaling purposes all boats must carry a sound producing device (whistle, horn, siren, etc.) capable of a 4-second blast audible for ½ mile. *Boats larger than 39.4 ft. are also required to have a bell (see Navigation Rules.)

*Under a recent change, a vessel 12 meters (39.4 ft) to less than 20 meters (65 ft) is no longer required to carry a bell on board.

The Coast Guard said: "The bottom-line, a bell is no longer required on a vessel less than 20 meters in length. That of course means a bell is not required for those same vessels for successful completion of a VSC."  sound.jpgItem 9 - Navigation Lights:

All boats must be able to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and in conditions of reduced visibility. Boats 16 feet or more in length must have properly installed, working navigation lights and an all-around anchor light capable of being lit independently from the red/green/white "running" lights.  bow_light.jpgItem 10 - Pollution Placard:

Boats 26 feet and over with a machinery compartment must display an oily waste "pollution" placard.  oil_plac.jpgItem 11 - MARPOL Trash Placard:

Boats 26 feet and over in length must display a "MARPOL" trash placard. Boats 40 feet and over must also display a written trash disposal plan.  trash_plac.jpgItem 12 - Marine Sanitation Devices:

Any installed toilet must be a Coast Guard approved device. Overboard discharge outlets must be capable of being sealed.  msd.jpgItem 13 - Navigation Rules:

Boats 39.4 feet and over must have on board a current copy of the Navigation Rules.  navrules.jpgItem 14 - State and/ or Local Requirements:

These requirements must be met before the "Vessel Safety Check" decal can be awarded. A boat must meet the requirements of the state in which it is being examined. Contact your local marine law enforcement agency. Item 15 - Overall Vessel condition:

As it applies to this Vessel. Including, but not limited to:

a. Deck free of hazards and clean bilge:

The boat must be free from fire hazards, in good overall condition, with bilges reasonably clean and visible hull structure generally sound. The use of automobile parts on boat engines is not acceptable. The engine horsepower must not exceed that shown on the capacity plate.

b. Safe Electrical and Fuel Systems:

The electrical system - Must be protected by fuses or manual reset circuit breakers. Switches and fuse panels must be protected from rain or water spray. Wiring must be in good condition, properly installed and with no exposed areas or deteriorated insulation. Batteries must be secured and terminals covered to prevent accidental arcing.. If installed, self-circling or kill switch mechanism must be in proper working order. All PWCs require an operating self circling or kill switch mechanism.

Fuel Systems - Portable fuel tanks (normally 7 gallon capacity or less) must be constructed of non-breakable material and free of corrosion and leaks. All vents must be capable of being closed. The tank must be secured and have a vapor-tight, leak-proof cap. Each permanent fuel tank must be properly ventilated.

c. Safe Galley and Heating Systems:

System and fuel tanks must be properly secured with no flammable materials nearby.

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Edited by rolmops
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Glad to see I'm not the only one out there getting hammered by them. Again- not that I'm against them doing what they need to... It's just annoying having them looming over your shoulder half the day when you've already been checked several times. I've just been noticing I spend more time lately frustrated over them around me and less time enjoying the day and the fish.

As a side note... Be sure your throwable flotation device (either life ring or cushion type thing) has the USCG tag fully intact. The nearly wrote me up the other year because the tag was ripped down the middle but still said USCG and the type.

Also- what about the other weird stuff I remember needing (when I was a kid on my parents' boat) like an oar, a "bailing device", and stuff like that? Maybe they finally gave up on that.

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Last year, I had the Coast Guard Auxillery come and inspect my boat, while it was trailered, in my driveway, and yes, he did take note of the oar, as well as my "bailing device", (which on my boat is just a 5-gal bucket). We got us a "Good boy" sticker, and weren't bothered after that. I plan to have them come over again soon for another inspection. It only took the guy a half-hour or so, and didn't interupt a day of fishing. I'd suggest you call your closest CG Auxillery Squadron, and have your boat inspected at home. It gives you the opportunity to fix what needs fixing, and present your boat nice & clean, as well as organized.....

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I took my own advice, and called for an inspection. The Coast Guard Auxillery inspector will be here, in my driveway, around 5pm today. If you are in the Erie / Niagara County area, give the guy a call : (716) 704-0546. Ask for Paul.

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The Canadian O.P.P. Boat is not just looking for boat safety equipment,they are looking to see if anyone has issues like prior DWI or other arrest records,if there is alcohol onboard or untaxed cigarettes,firearms and fishing licenses,All-In-One Stop!

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We stay out of Canadian waters anyways....

That is a fact Trophy, I don't care if I ever step foot on that worthless country again :mooning:  After what they pulled on us 10 years ago at the boarder, that was it for me, We did nothing wrong and they detained us for over 6 hrs at the boarder, stripped our trucks, and boats, left everything on the side walks couldn't charge us with anything, buy they stole my video camera and tried to get us on worm bedding mat. thank GOD, I had some with me to add later in the trip, so I had proof with the bag, or they were going to confiscate or flat of worms, we lost our deposit with the rooms we rented for the night, they were closed till we got there :shake: Who ever heard of a motel closing at 1am, supposed to be there around 8pm, no cell service, can't call and explain what's up, so those bastards took our money and ran, slept in the vehicle and on to our destination :clap:  Had a good week of fishing, and only allowed one days catch to bring back so that's what we did, left a 1"x1" patch of skin on fillets for Id. when we got back to the boarder they asked if we had fish to declare and we said yes, WELL that's when all hell broke loose, Quebec laws and Ontario laws are different as how many allowed in possession. Quebec was 8 and Ontario was 6, we told them and showed the our license which was a Quebec one, no one knew what the right amount was so they started writing us fines, that's when I lost it and demanded a Quebec warden to clear this up, so the contacted someone and found out we were right. I told the Commander I've  been coming to this country for 25years with 10 guys at a grand a piece, this is my last trip to your country EVER :ninja: Since that time on we stay in the states, Ohio for walleyes and New York the rest of the year. :lol:

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I would do the aux inspection but still don't know if that would keep them from hovering around me. I guess I just noticed it more this spring as I was reluctant to leave the lower river because the trout seemed to stick around later and be really cooperative. But with them just about gone, I'm ready to fire up the bigger boat and head offshore. With that, I usually only get pulled when running in and out of the launch at Fort Niagara.

Also, don't be fooled that the US Boarder Patrol isn't watching you even when you can't see them. They do track pretty much all the traffic on the lake and look for strange scenarios. They said it doesn't matter if you're 8 miles offshore or 8 feet offshore, if you meet up for a few minutes with a boat from Canada or something like that, you'll probably find yourself answering questions. I was guessing they just monitor radar from the way they were talking. Transport of people/drugs/weapons must be the reason.

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