April 14, 2012.
I just realized I neglected to write about a very exciting event in our cruising lives. We were underway in the ICW just south of Daytona Beach when we were ambushed by the Fecal Federales.
The water cops in New Smyrna Beach are infamous for their heavy handed boarding of private yachts. Some how traveling boaters have no civil rights. If you were driving your car down the road a cop can't stop you and go through your car unless he has probable cause. The cops can't come to your front door and demand entry because they think your septic system isn't up to code. Its crazy but it is what it is, deal with it. A lot of people lose their minds over it and the internet is rife with horror stories of dealing with the waterway Poopie Police.
In the past we've had the Commode Cops board the boat in front of us and the boat behind us but they've never done us. Before today. We were both in the cockpit and I saw 5 heavily armed cops crammed into a smallish center console. They were headed the opposite direction and I waved as they went by. When I received a sheepish return wave I knew our day had come. They spun around and roared up along our starboard side. Damn honey, hide the Haitians and flush the plutonium we're being boarded.
The guy in charge told us they were coming aboard to check our MSD's. I made them stand off while Christy put a leash on Tucker. T-dog isn't very big but everybody has ankles. If Tucker was a 120 pound Rottweiler named Lucifer I might not have said anything. Just let them discover him themselves and maybe they would add something new to the list of questions they ask before they hop onboard. With that done 2 of them hopped across and the head Doodoo Detective started to explain what an MSD was. I start every day on a Marine Sanitation Device so we cut him off at the beginning. Lets just get this over with.
Theres 2, one forward, one aft, help yourselves. After a minute the "head" guy popped his head up and asked me to show him where the appropriate plumbing was. I showed him the valves that send the poop to the holding tank rather than overboard. He noted that they were set to the correct position and locked in place with zip ties. That was it, a moment later they were gone. But not before the younger guy bashed the shit out of his head when he tried to stand upright while still underneath the hard dodger. Snicker, chortle.
All in all they couldn't have been more polite but then again so were we. We came to idle for them to board and then he asked us to resume speed so as not to delay us. When their mission was done they just jumped back into their boat at speed and were gone. The fine for a violation is 250 bucks so it really pays to have your shit straight.
Were our civil rights violated? I dunno, probably. Do I give a shit, no, I keep it in a tank onboard....