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History

 The first Brothers of the Coast were a band of adventurers from France, England, Holland and some other nations; but none from Spain, their common enemy. At the beginning they were more hunters than sailors. They used to smoke fish and meat. The smoked meat was called "boucan" and soon they were known as "boucaniers," or, in English, "buccaneers." They were established in the West Indies (today the Antilles), most of them on the islands of Hispaniola (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Tortuga. Later on, they associated with pirates and, in the 17th century, were known as "flibustiers" in French or "freebooter" in English. Many of them organized a society with one man sharing with another all things in common. At sea, they had some discipline and some rules. But, in general they were very democratic. All captains were elected by the sailors who, in turn, were free to join another ship when they were tired of their captain. They had rules regarding the bounty they captured or regarding their wounded companions.

 They called themselves the "Frères de la Côte" or "Brothers of the Coast." Their golden age was the 17th century. But when regular squadrons were sent out to protect the interests of the planters, this golden age was over. By the end of the 17th century, they were exterminated and there were no more Brothers of the Coast.

 Two centuries later, in April 1951, seven Chileans, lovers of the sea, decided to form an association named "La Hermandad de la Costa." They used to meet around a table which is now what each chapter is called. They drew eight rules to define the spirit of the association and called them the "Octalog".

 In 1953 they expanded the formation of Tables outside of Chili, proclaiming that "Each country was to have complete freedom in its internal organization and would maintain fraternal relationships with other Tables around the world, the only aim being to promote friendship among those who love the sea and who enjoy the sports of sailing, motor navigation, and deep sea fishing."

 For six years the association grew internationally mostly in Europe and in South America.

 Then, in 1959, some members of the Slocum Society in New York founded the first Table of the Hermandad de la Costa in the United States.

 In 1985, according to the official newsletter of the American Tables, the Hermandad de la Costa made its way across the country. Two Tables were created in Texas.

 In 1989-91, two more Tables existed in Florida consisting of 15 Brothers residing on both coasts of Florida.

 In 1992, a Brother of the Table of Senegal formed the Lake Michigan Fleet and was elected its Captain. The Table has rules inspired by the rules of the Table of Toulon, France. In the true tradition of freedom and democracy of the brothers of the coast, the Table of Michigan was the first Table to nominate and induct a "Sister of the Coast.". Three more Tables were formed and the U.S. Captain of the Brotherhood of the Coast/La Hermandad de la Costa, thankful for the work done by the Captain of the Table of Michigan, recognized that the work was "splendidly done as a true Brother."

 In 1994, the Table of Miami in Florida was founded. In two years the Table had numerous activities and inducted new Brothers and new Sisters.
The Table of Miami was well organized, well known, respected and recognized by many Brothers and Sisters in the United States, as well as in the rest of the world, but was not recognized by the U.S. national captaincy. Many Brothers and Sisters resented not being recognized and did not agree with the national captaincy for several reasons.

 The U.S. national captaincy would not recognize the existence of "Sisters of the Coast", nor would it accept the term of "Midshipman" to define a new prospect for membership. Contrary to the basic intent of the Brotherhood of the Coast, "freedom" and "democracy" seemed to be only words to the national captaincy.
 Elections seemed to be conducted strangely and "rules" (always verbal, if any existed!) seemed not to be applied the same way for the ten or so Tables forming the U.S. Brotherhood of the Coast with the logo Hermandad de la Costa. To top it all, the U.S. national captaincy wrote that there was no "valid interest in having a Table in Miami."

 In 1997, in the true tradition of the Brothers of the Coast and with the spirit of freedom of the 1953 decisions of La Hermandad de la Costa, a referendum was organized among Brothers and Sisters of the Table of Miami to decide the future of the Table. It was unanimously felt and recognized that the national captaincy of the Brotherhood of the Coast was not acting with the true spirit of the founders of La Hermandad de la Costa. It also recognized that their leadership restricting new enrollment to "men only" was discriminatory, and to induct only two or three new Brothers per year would obviously lead to the aging and the slow death of the Tables and thus the society. The national captaincy seemed determined to transform the society into an aging club with restricted access to membership. In so doing it left behind the original aims of the society - to promote friendship among those who love the sea and who enjoy the sports of sailing.

 In 1998, following the result of the referendum, after several discussions among the Brothers and Sisters, decision was taken to secede from the U.S. Brotherhood of the Coast and to form an independent society called "Brothers of the Coast" to which the existing Tables would be affiliated.

 In 1999, the society called "Brothers of the Coast" was officially founded. It recognizes the true aims of the founders of the Hermandad de la Costa and its Octalog covenants. All Brothers and Sisters of the current Tables have agreed to accept the Octalog. They have been inducted by recognized Brothers, themselves inducted in conformity with the rules of the Hermandad de la Costa. Brothers of the Coast operate under a set of rules inspired by the rules of the French Table of Toulon. These rules are accepted by all presently affiliated Tables and will be the rules for all future Tables that will join the Brothers of the Coast in the true tradition of the Octalog.

 In 1999, Brothers, Sisters and Officers of Miami, Tampa Bay, North Carolina, Michigan, Treasure Coast and from Norway, Canada, France, and the Bahamas met in January in Miami for their first annual "Grand Boucan", a Grand Party, on Pier 1, at Dinner Key Marina.

 In March 2000, the second annual "Grand Boucan" was organized by and took place at the Tampa Bay Table with Brothers and Sisters from all the Tables of the U.S. Fleet and from Norway, Sweden, France, the Netherlands and the Bahamas. The future Table of Panama was present thru a message from its emissary, Brother Bernard "Le Toulonnais".

 In May 2001, the third annual "Grand Boucan" was organized by the Table of George Town, Great Exuma, The Bahamas. Six sailboats sailed from the U.S.A. to join six others already anchored in George Town. The meeting of the Council took place at Volley Ball Beach and was followed by the induction of new Brothers and Sisters and a true Boucan dinner on the beach.

 The fourth annual "Grand Boucan 2002" was organized by the Table of Miami and took place in November 2002 in Miami, Florida. More than one hundred people attended the "Argentinean Boucan" organized by the Table. Forty three Brothers and Sisters attended the working meeting of the Council.

 In 2004, the Fifth Grand Boucan, organized by the Table of the Tampa Bay, Florida, took place on October 9 in St.Petersburg, Florida, on the beach of Treasure Island.

 In December 2006, the Sixth Grand Boucan, organized by the Table of Cruisers, took place in Miami, Florida.

 On December 13, 2008 the Grand Boucan took place in Miami.

 The Eighth Grand Boucan organized by the Treasure Coast table took place in Stuart, Florida, in October 2010.

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Admiral Bolitho

On May 28, 2015, our beloved Admiral Bolitho passed away in Port Charlotte, Florida, 3 days after he had celebrated his 94th birthday.

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The Octalog

  1- Obey the lawful order of the Captain.

 
  2- Never speak with disrespect of another Brother or Sister or take arms against him or her.

 
  2- Receive another Brother or Sister who visits you. Offer him or her food from your table, the best hammock in your vessel, assistance, and your friendship.

 
  4- Share with your Brother and Sister both your good fortune and your mistakes.

 
  5- Do not envy another Brother's or Sister's ship or crew.

 
  6- Do not be conceited or violent. If you are, your Brothers and Sisters will keep away from you and you will be quarantined with your plague.

 
  7- When sailing, bring honor to your country and to the Brothers of the Coast.

 
  8- The Love of the Sea must be in your daily thoughts, make sacrifices for Her and observe Her laws.

 
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The Vow

"O Mother Ocean,
I shall praise your marvels and strength;
I shall aid all my brethren and all mariners in peril;
I shall put myself at the service of all seamen and their ships;
I shall proclaim to all the winds that life upon your waters brings prosperity and joy to all Men;
I shall enjoy the hours you give me and, O Mother Ocean,
I shall defend your beauty and the freedom that you represent!"

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The Toast

ARRIBA! ABAJO! AL CENTRO! PARA ADENTRO!

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Sources:
J. Esquemelin.
First Watch-Official newsletter of the American Tables Hermandad de la Costa.
Correspondence with U.S. national captaincy of the Brotherhood of the Coast.
Minutes of meetings.
Larousse 1998
"Le BOUCAN" - Official newsletter of the Brothers of the Coast-Fleet of the USA.
© 1998-2016 Brothers of the Coast-Fleet of the USA
Edited November 2008.

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