Since the weather was fine but going to get worse at the end of the week I decided to leave Elizabeth City a day early. So did everyone else. By the time I got up almost every other southbound boat had already departed. Elizabeth City is the home of the largest Coast Guard Air Base so it did not come as a great surprise to see USCG Helicopters and small boats driving around in the Elizabeth River. I was also not surprised when I heard a Coast Guard small boat hailing several of the sailboats that had been at the dock on the previous night. In fact, there was a certain level of relief when they boarded the sailboat that had left right before me. I figured that they would be tied up with her and I would just ease on down the river.
I am sure you have anticipated the punch line. They were more than happy to zoom on down to where I was and invite themselves aboard. The visit was short, friendly and professional. It was also obvious that the Elizabeth River is a great training aid for the Coasties. I would bet they are out every day.
I passed with “no violation.” I also got a document commemorating the visit. This is apparently useful as they do ask when you were last boarded underway and if you have the paperwork aboard. I presume that if it was recent they will leave you alone and head on to the next vessel.
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