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Old 11-08-2019, 12:50 PM   #61
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I've only been boarded once. However, I was doing 24 kts at the time, so nobody was going to just 'board' me. Overtaking me at around 30-35 knots on an intercept course, along with us being the only boat in site, made it clear they at least wanted to talk.

I stopped and they pulled alongside and first asked when the last time I was boarded for a safety inspection. They then asked if they could board.

They were very polite and courteous. Smiles and handshakes all around. They asked fairly basic stuff (pfd's, throwable, etc). Since we keep them within hands reach, all I did was mostly just point ("PDF's are right beside you"; "Throwable is right beside him").

At this point it was very laid back, we were basically 'chat chitting' about their service pistols, and how Sig Saur is in our home state and my wife owns and loves her Sig. (statement for the purpose of context, not to intended to turn this into a gun thread). I then asked what would happen if I had declined their request, to which they all broke out into laughter. The reply "Oh we would have boarded anyway, but it wouldn't be nearly this friendly a visit".

I am very surprised they actually boarded without at least advising that they were going to do so. This isn't a center console. This is my home, regardless of whether it's my primary residence or not.
Same here in Ketchikan AK. USCG was Friendly and professional. No weapons, because of Canada.

However, I have denied boarding to a local Sheriff boat. The purpose was a safety check. I told him to look at the port window for a safety check sticker. He didn't like it, but he pulled away. It would have been totally different with the USCG. I would state "Welcome aboard and I have loaded weapons on board."
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:51 PM   #62
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I was boarded today in st. Augustine Florida by customs and sheriff’s deputies.
We have a little thread drift, I think. No argument from me about the USCG's statutory authority, although I think it's overly broad. Generally, in my experience, the Coasties do their job courteously and professionally. A lot of career cops could benefit by professional development training from the average USCG E5.

It's the local LEOs and the various and sundry federal alphabet agencies that have decided to become water cops that seem to be the problem in this part of the world.

Although my experience is stale at this point, when I had tours as a military advisor to both the Coast Guard and the DEA, the difference was like night and day. USCG - quite professional, big investment in training, significant accountability. DEA - rhinestone cowboys, know it alls, inculcated with a huge "whatever it takes" and "let God sort them out" attitude from the top down.

My concerns are in how the latter model has migrated to the local LEOs and the various associated wannabe agencies and its manifestattion on the water.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:16 PM   #63
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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.
Well obviously I meant that in a startle response. Of course no sane person seeing armed CG crawling over the aft rail is going to run for his .38! That's just dumb. But suppose its dark, maybe sleeping, noise from aft? Owner goes out on deck, sees dark clad nijnas coming aboard, starts shooting, gets killed by return fire. It could happen. Point is to me, at least, is that the CG or any LE should NEVER board without the owner knowing it, unless there is probable cause and warrant in hand, just like cops on the beach.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:25 PM   #64
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Britannia thanks for posting the four part history behind the USCG power.
If and when I’m board I’ll give them “Thanks for your service” like any other armed service personnel. I remember the USCG was with us on station in the Tonkin Gulf combat zone.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:32 PM   #65
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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.
Verbal opposition will never help you and will often make things far more difficult for you. It just really serves no purpose to make some futile attempt. It can't benefit you.

Now as to boarding without letting the captain know. How did they get there? Were they submerged? They couldn't be seen? Perhaps they thought they were clearly visible or they even tried to let the captain know.

Now, I do watch Live PD and hear over and over the conversation from officer, "Why didn't you stop. I lit you up two blocks ago" to driver "I didn't see you." 95% of the time I don't believe the driver but also I do think officers assume they're seen when sometimes their lights may not be noticed. Perhaps sirens would be then. Perhaps before boarding they should just hit the siren a moment or wait for some recognition they're there rather than assuming the boat captain and watch was seeing everything around. I imagine in this case the officers would be surprised that they were considered unannounced.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:49 PM   #66
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If they had asked for permission to board you, it would have been purely out of courtesy. If you, the captain, had said NO, they would have stop being nice, escorted you back to a dock, detaining you until they got search warrant.
I don't think they (customs) need a warrant in US waters (or high seas).
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:02 PM   #67
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In my experience, once back at the dock, other LE agencies with jurisdiction are usually brought in and if there is going to be something more than a safety or security sweep, a warrant will be requested.

Heck, I have spent days on Cutters chasing boats waiting for warrants or State Dept approval if there was any suspicious activity.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:30 PM   #68
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Why not just give basic commands to the boat to be boarded, if it's a routine stop?
If they give any commands it will be "Keep same course and speed"
They board boats all day every day. They know what they're doing.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:45 PM   #69
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The original poster has not added any more info. With that said, it appears that perhaps there is a miscommunication between he and his wife. I read his original post again and his wife somehow knew they would be boarded. Speculation until he returns and clarifies, of course.

As to boarding, I/we have been boarded a few times, mainly by the USCG, twice by WDFW (WA State fish cops) and we run across DHS all the time, although they have never stopped us. In each and every contact LE was courteous, professional and was gone in a matter of minutes. They didn't hail us on 16. They approached us from the stern up to port with blue lights on. The did this for tactics/safety as our helm in on the starboard side. LE will always do things to their tactical advantage, when possible. I saw them, slowed and they stated they were coming aboard. There is more than enough precedent on the books that this is allowed within standard procedures. They are allowed to board, conduct safety/document checks et al. Any detailed "search" such as a detailed search of closed spaces is another matter; they may/may not need a warrant, depending on the situation and those involved (Fed vs local LE). I cannot comment on searching say, a container ship, as I have no knowledge of how that works and the required authority to do so.

As to being "uncooperative", I would highly advise against that. Like I said, 99.9% of contacts are done and over in a matter of minutes. They will most certainly ask if there are any weapons on board and if there are, where they are located. You will speak with one LE officer. He/she is the "contact". There will usually be two "cover" officers; the ones that stand there and watch everything going on. Their job is to react properly to any perceived or real threat. Someone handles their boat (coxswain) and there may be one more person that handles the communication/records checks via laptop etc., especially when dealing with Feds (USCG/DHS). They do this all the time and they are well versed, well trained and professional.

The only time anyone would see some specialized tactical entry (SWAT etc) would be some high risk target,with tons of ops planning, research etc. You and your wife on a weekend outing in your trawler are not going to be "raided" by a spec ops team. Just saying. Any talk of "I have a shot gun...and if they raid us..." is ridiculous and again, would not end well.

Personally, I have no issue with them doing what they do. Their job is to maintain the security of our nation. Literally. And they do it 24/365 for little pay and in sometimes, shitty conditions.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:57 PM   #70
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You guys need to watch more reality cop shows. First enjoy watching all the smart non-lawyer lawyers handle their way in an arrest, 100% of the time it doesn't go well for said not to bright individual.

Now regarding the ask to see private spaces, again if you watch the cop shows, they to ask and if you say yes, then they look. But if you say no and they have reasonable grounds to believe you might be in possession of something of interest, they will impound your car (or boat) and get a search warrant from a judge, then search.

There is usually an easy way or a hard way, and usually it's your call as to how you want to play it. And all of those in authority have been trained up the yin yang as to how to handle.

Let me give you one example. I was in charge of civilian security and portal personnel (scanners, X ray types, etc) at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the curling venue. We trained our personnel on all kinds of responses from the public. One was the "Do you know how important I am?" and various statements like that in an attempt to intimidate my staff. And soon as someone said that or something like that, life became more difficult for them at that point. And even if they checked out, it was my job to change their clearance status, this was particularly true for any staff that work at the Olympics. The status was change from, normal security checks to a full security check every time they entered the venue.

I worked the closing Ceremonies of the Olympics, which meant I was a manager available when exceptional problems arose. One guy in a three piece suit, working for Vancouver Olympics, in other words one of their own, came through with a brand new knife. This guy had worked on site for roughly a year and a half, in the early stages of venue development. This meant he had passed literally a thousand times signs that listed prohibited items, and I'm sure you are not surprised that knives were one of the items on the list. He did the old, do you know who I am routine, last time I saw him he was between two cops being hauled away. He never made the closing ceremonies.

No matter how smart you think you are in exchanges with people in authority who are in charge of safety and security, they've trained for you.
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:00 PM   #71
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The U.S. Coast Guard Boarding Policy:

Title 14 section 89 of the United States Code authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard to board vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, anytime, any place upon the high seas and upon any waterway over which the United States has jurisdiction, to make inquires, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests. The U.S. Coast Guard does not require a warrant to conduct search, seizures, arrests over any United States Waterway or high seas. The U.S. Coast Guard also have full legal law enforcement power on any land under the control of the United States, as needed to complete any mission.


https://codes.findlaw.com/us/title-1...c-sect-89.html
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:04 PM   #72
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If they give any commands it will be "Keep same course and speed"
They board boats all day every day. They know what they're doing.
While they might know what they are doing, same may not be true of the captain of the boat being boarded!



Seems a simply command would keep the recreational boat captain from doing something unexpected, by accident.

Jim
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:05 PM   #73
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The provision I posted above covers the USCG. Local laws would pertain to local LE, like Sheriff's Office etc.
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:21 PM   #74
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While they might know what they are doing, same may not be true of the captain of the boat being boarded!



Seems a simply command would keep the recreational boat captain from doing something unexpected, by accident.

Jim
If I had a dollar for every time a recreational captain didn't do what they were told .....I could have retired much sooner.


I have had them leave the helm and go below with no autopilot or watch or helmsman to get a camera to take pictures of the helo during hoisting where facing into the wind was critical....VERY critical.


My other favorite was hoisting off cruise ships at night where the passengers were instructed "no camera flash pictures".... of course at the critical part of the hoist you had hundreds of flashes right in your eyes from only a few meters away. Luckily no helo ever drifted into the ships during hoisting... at least that I know of.


Following instruction is just not a popular habit to many.
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:29 PM   #75
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There is usually an easy way or a hard way, and usually it's your call as to how you want to play it. And all of those in authority have been trained up the yin yang as to how to handle.

One was the "Do you know how important I am?" and various statements like that in an attempt to intimidate my staff. And soon as someone said that or something like that, life became more difficult for them at that point. And even if they checked out, it was my job to change their clearance status, this was particularly true for any staff that work at the Olympics. The status was change from, normal security checks to a full security check every time they entered the venue.
So you showed them how important you are for their lack of obiescance to some guy with a green Tshirt that says "Security".
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:31 PM   #76
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Do not leave the helm unless directed to move.
TELL them where the gun/s are located. Dont offer to help or show them.
Have your ship's papers available and TELL them where they are.
Answer all questions directly w/o hesitation.
Thank them and might want to add, be safe.
SMILE I know of one guy who offered to make them some sandwiches, they accepted.
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:53 PM   #77
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So you showed them how important you are for their lack of obiescance to some guy with a green Tshirt that says "Security".
That’s one possible interpretation of what happened. What other interpretations are possible?
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:56 PM   #78
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If they give any commands it will be "Keep same course and speed"
They board boats all day every day. They know what they're doing.
The reality is that CG personnel are like the general public and boating public. The come in all styles, skills, and temperament. While I think that the USCG boarding policy oversteps the Constitution, a more immediate issue is that sometimes, though courteous and pleasant, the boarding is ham fisted and damaging to the boat. Boarding in a seaway with an insufficiently experienced coxswain marking or damaging the topsides, tromping around the boat in heavy boots which would never be allowed aboard otherwise, etc.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:01 PM   #79
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On the Constitutional question, has the boarding of recreational boats ever been tested at the US Supreme Court? Lots of cases involving suppression of evidence in criminal cases, or boarding commercial boats for revenue collection. Some tests at the district court level have failed even on those. Haven't found a reference to specifically boarding a recreational boat for a "safety check" or other fishing expedition.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:39 PM   #80
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At first glance it seems just plain wrong. And dangerous. For the boat boarded and for the boarding crew who might surprise someone carrying a gun. The presence of the dog suggests a search for which the dog is trained to sniff out and indicate. Obviously a fruitless task in the case of our TF member. Perhaps a search for something before it could be discarded.
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