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Coast Guard's Policy on Abuse in Charter Boats

December 18, 1988

I can understand the mind-set of the U.S. Coast Guard toward boat-chartering abuse. But I feel they went overboard on the issue.

As a former "Coastie" and member of Coast Guard boarding parties, I still take a lot of pride in the service. But as of late the mission of the Coast Guard is going from search-and-rescue emphasis and humanitarian aid to a more-law-enforcement mode. Maybe this is necessary in view of present-day society.

For my money I think it's time to divide the service; send one half to the federal drug enforcement agency and the other half to the original primary mission of a search-and-rescue aid to navigation and marine inspection.

If I am broken down in the San Pedro channel, I want a Coast Guard cutter to help, not some half-rate towboat with an untrained operator, albeit a licensed one. The priorities of the Coast Guard have run into a heavy fog.

JOHN MEADE

Dana Point

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