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Coast Guard gets tough on outboards

Jan 1, 2003

How do you prevent suspected drug smugglers from bringing contraband into the U.S.? You fly over them with a helicopter and blast their outboard motors with 50-caliber machine gun fire, and then you arrest them.

While the Coast Guard maintains that "Weapons are only used on smuggling vessels that are carrying illegal narcotics bound for the U.S.," according to District 7 Coast Guard officials, imagine the inconvenience of cruising the reefs of the Florida Keys in your inflatable tender and being attacked by a helo team showering your $4,000 outboard engine with 50-caliber rounds.

Maybe outboard-motor manufacturers should bullet-proof their engine cases, for the good guys of course. The engine pictured is on display at the Key West Coast Guard station as an example of a recent confrontation.


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