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Old 11-08-2019, 10:12 AM   #41
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I have been boarded twice. Once by USCG and the second time by the Fed Police near the Mex border so they were looking for drugs. Both times it was announced. As others have noted, I was courteous and respectful, and They were as well. I didn’t realize they could come aboard unannounced, but is what it is. I don’t have a gun.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:14 AM   #42
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If I am awakened by strangers creeping around inside my boat, am I to assume they are LEO’s and surrender to them? Or should I arm myself and prepare to protect my wife and myself? Even on a boat I think I still have a right to protect life and limb from unannounced intruders.
Yeah - Google Nicholas and Tuttle to see how that plan works out. The hyper aggressive dynamic entry types regard all "civilians"
as dangerous suspects all of the time. A careerist cop on a perceived holy mission is not to be taken lightly.

I'd like to see LEOs held to the same standards of conduct accountability as a 19 year old lance corporal in a combat zone. That would do a lot to slow this BS down.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:20 AM   #43
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Saying "no" would have probably enabled the reasonable suspicion clause of their contract.
Common misconception, but the Supreme Court has ruled on this specifically. If a law-enforcement officer asks you to voluntarily do anything -- answer questions, submit to a search, whatever -- and you tell him "no," that absolutely does NOT constitute either "probable cause" nor "reasonable, articulable suspicion" of anything. They cannot justify an unwarranted search by claiming that you refused to consent to a voluntary search and they found that suspicious.



Beyond that, the OP never said that he was underway when this happened. Perhaps he was anchored, his wife was on deck and clearly saw the LEOs, and so they just stepped onto his swim platform and up onto the boat. If that's the case, I don't see a problem. If they were, in fact, underway when the boarding occurred, then they were putting themselves at unnecessary risk by not having him slow or stop.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:23 AM   #44
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I believe they ARE held to the same standard...just a different situation and supervision.


My military briefings were similar to my LE briefings....the main difference that I have seen between the two after 40 years is it may be more dangerous for the LE officer than the Lance Corporal in some situations but I agree hat both are not facing a uniformed and declared enemy most of the time and ROE are really not fair.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:25 AM   #45
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This 4-part article makes a very interesting read. It provides the history behind the USCG powers as well as a discussion of the 4th amendment and legal challenges. I highly recommend it:


https://www.sailfeed.com/2012/10/coa...rights-part-1/


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Old 11-08-2019, 10:26 AM   #46
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Common misconception, but the Supreme Court has ruled on this specifically. If a law-enforcement officer asks you to voluntarily do anything -- answer questions, submit to a search, whatever -- and you tell him "no," that absolutely does NOT constitute either "probable cause" nor "reasonable, articulable suspicion" of anything. They cannot justify an unwarranted search by claiming that you refused to consent to a voluntary search and they found that suspicious.



Beyond that, the OP never said that he was underway when this happened. Perhaps he was anchored, his wife was on deck and clearly saw the LEOs, and so they just stepped onto his swim platform and up onto the boat. If that's the case, I don't see a problem. If they were, in fact, underway when the boarding occurred, then they were putting themselves at unnecessary risk by not having him slow or stop.

No need for probable cause whether you say yes or no to a routing boarding.


And a fast boarding isn't any more dangerous than s faster boarding if done correctly in my opinion....the boats sometimes suck together better and are less affected by the natural waves.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:30 AM   #47
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And a fast boarding isn't any more dangerous than s faster boarding if done correctly in my opinion....the boats sometimes suck together better and are less affected by the natural waves.
Yes, however, a boarding where the person at the helm knows another boat is going to approach would be safer regardless of speed, as they're less likely to make a course change, etc. Fortunately, unless on a very loud boat, a higher speed boarding is less likely to happen un-noticed, as the boat delivering the boarding party is likely going to be making more noise (wake interaction, engine noise, general water noise, etc.) than they would if approaching slowly.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:34 AM   #48
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This 4-part article makes a very interesting read. It provides the history behind the USCG powers as well as a discussion of the 4th amendment and legal challenges. I highly recommend it:


https://www.sailfeed.com/2012/10/coa...rights-part-1/


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I am not sure a lot of that article is accurate.


It's not what I experienced in 20+ years of stopping vessels at sea.


While a warrant-less search is permissible by law....most stops are "safety" checks and cannot search small areas, compartments, personal gear etc....without probable cause.


Even IF the boarding team can....99.9% of the time I was involved, we didn't because the USCG protects that overreaching authority with vengence to not lose it over a silly little case.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:38 AM   #49
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Yes, however, a boarding where the person at the helm knows another boat is going to approach would be safer regardless of speed, as they're less likely to make a course change, etc. Fortunately, unless on a very loud boat, a higher speed boarding is less likely to happen un-noticed, as the boat delivering the boarding party is likely going to be making more noise (wake interaction, engine noise, general water noise, etc.) than they would if approaching slowly.

Sure a recognized/agreed upon boarding is always easier (speed not necessarily the important factor)....


Not sure how many boardings/high speed coming alongsides you have been involved with...but I disagree either is a big deal for a well trained coxswain and boarding team. It's more the combo of vessels that speed or agreement.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:48 AM   #50
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I am not sure a lot of that article is accurate.


It's not what I experienced in 20+ years of stopping vessels at sea.


While a warrant-less search is permissible by law....most stops are "safety" checks and cannot search small areas, compartments, personal gear etc....without probable cause.


Even IF the boarding team can....99.9% of the time I was involved, we didn't because the USCG protects that overreaching authority with vengence to not lose it over a silly little case.
I'm not sure if you had time to read all 4 parts. In part 4 there is acknowledgement of the commandant's rule to not search private spaces.



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Old 11-08-2019, 10:51 AM   #51
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While a warrant-less search is permissible by law....most stops are "safety" checks and cannot search small areas, compartments, personal gear etc....without probable cause.

Even IF the boarding team can....99.9% of the time I was involved, we didn't because the USCG protects that overreaching authority with vengence to not lose it over a silly little case.
That is inline with my experience. They never touched anything. They asked me; "Can you show me <this>/<that>......blow your horn, etc". Nothing they asked for was actually in a locker, however they never asked to have me open anything either.

They were more interested in asking us about the lifestyle (I think there were a bunch of recruits right out of the academy, one guy did all the work and 2 guys smiled and made small talk.)
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:05 AM   #52
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Any body who didn't grow up learning to deal with authority by saying "Yes sir, no sir" and maybe thinking quietly "3 bags full sir" led a sheltered life.

Get real. Get it over with.

The only proper way to respond is compliance. Right, wrong, doesn't matter. Deal with the situation as it happens. Prove your not a threat. Cooperate and %99.9 of the time things will end well. Isn't that all you really want ????
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:12 AM   #53
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USCG boarded my boat 11 miles out with no word spoken. Once two climbed from bow to cockpit, the first words were "any weapons on board"? I have no reason to think this is uncommon. Now, this was after the 90' patrol boat blocked my route, and launched their diesel dink out the stern. And, no VHF comm either.
In the end, not much value in the words "we are coming aboard".
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:13 AM   #54
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Any body who didn't grow up learning to deal with authority by saying "Yes sir, no sir" and maybe thinking quietly "3 bags full sir" led a sheltered life.

Get real. Get it over with.

The only proper way to respond is compliance. Right, wrong, doesn't matter. Deal with the situation as it happens. Prove your not a threat. Cooperate and %99.9 of the time things will end well. Isn't that all you really want ????
Bingo!
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:52 AM   #55
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I think a Captain of his OWN vessel has every RIGHT to verbally object to being boarded by ANY LE done in a way that is sneaky or the CAPTAIN unaware of it. There is really little excuse for this to happen. I am not saying I would physically resist or start a fight with armed gendarmes, but they would sure get a tongue lashing for which one has EVERY right to deliver to overzealous LE behavior.
This idea that we must submit to every whim of LE while minding our own legal business is just crap! I think a court would agree.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:15 PM   #56
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I think a Captain of his OWN vessel has every RIGHT to verbally object to being boarded by ANY LE done in a way that is sneaky or the CAPTAIN unaware of it. There is really little excuse for this to happen. I am not saying I would physically resist or start a fight with armed gendarmes, but they would sure get a tongue lashing for which one has EVERY right to deliver to overzealous LE behavior.
This idea that we must submit to every whim of LE while minding our own legal business is just crap! I think a court would agree.
Nope...every court I know of has held up the USCG's right to board BECAUSE they have honored it for centuries now with general restraint....those that haven't have been overturned I would think.



Sure the captain can say whatever he chooses, but start to get into the "resisting" arena and the fines can be hefty.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:29 PM   #57
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That was really my point, verbal only, not resisting. We have had these discussions before and I agree, the courts have held, erroneously in my opinion that the CG at least has absolute authority to board anytime they want. Not arguing that point.
I just think its foolish for them to EVER board without letting the boats Captain know its about to happen.
It could turn an otherwise routine inspection into a firefight. Many boat owners are armed as they go out on their boats. I am.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:31 PM   #58
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Firefight? Assuming they don't drop you and your friends with so many shots unless you happen to be ex special forces....


If it's unexpected boarding...I am guessing the boat is unaware and the boarders have the advantage.


Most boaters that I know that have guns would probably shi* themselves staring down the barrel of another gun....let alone at the first muzzel flash.


I probably would.


Especially knowing the backup that would rain hell down on your boat.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:33 PM   #59
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I have never been boarded in 20 years of boating. And I do get out regularly. I guess I'm lucky.

In general I think it's important to appear cooperative from the start in encounters with LE. If you get off on the wrong foot it may not go well. If I were boarded and had concerns about it, I would wait until they are about to leave and ask "may I give you some feedback about your boarding and inspection today?" If they said yes then I'd politely cover the things they did well and my areas of concern.


I'd rather keep my unbroken record however.


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Old 11-08-2019, 12:35 PM   #60
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It seems pretty dangerous. If the OP had changed course or speed as the boarding was taking place it could have resulted in a serious injury. The boardings I have seen they get the capt. attention with lights and siren...tell him or hear to maintain a slow steady course.....and then they board.
I was thinking the same thing.

Doesn't seem to be a very safe thing to do. Maybe even more risky with a less experienced captain on the recreational boat.

Why not just give basic commands to the boat to be boarded, if it's a routine stop?

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