Coast Guard arrests sailor after open sea pursuit

A man is under arrest after the Coast Guard says he sailed away after refusing to allow his boat to be boarded before getting involved in an altercation with a Coast Guard boarding party.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas McKenzie told SFBay the trouble started around 3:30 p.m Sunday when the crew of a Coast Guard patrol board approached a man on a 45-foot sailboat as it was moored off Sausalito.

The Coast Guard asked to board the boat so the crew could conduct a routine inspection. But instead of allowing the Coast Guard crew to board, McKenzie says the captain of the sailboat cut his mooring line and sailed away.

The patrol boat followed the sailboat as the man — the only person on board — sailed the boat away from Sausalito, under the Golden Gate Bridge and out of San Francisco Bay.

The Coast Guard called in one of its cutters, and eventually a combined boarding party from the cutter and from the patrol boarded the sailboat about 2-1/2 miles off Ocean Beach.

When the boarding party got on the sailboat, the man was described as “non-cooperative” and was involved in what McKenzie described as a “minor altercation” with the crew.

The man — who has not been named — was taken into custody around 9 p.m.  His boat was towed back to port.

It’s not known why the man refused to allow the Coast Guard to inspect the boat, which has the authority to board vessels for inspections.

McKenzie says usually the inspections are uneventful with Coast Guard crews checking on safety issues and other routine matters.