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Old 03-05-2015, 05:04 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Authority Of The USCG Aux

The Log Newspaper | California Boating & Fishing News - Ask-the-Attorney-2015-02-27
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:11 PM   #2
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I will have to see if something has changed since 911, but the USCGAUX as far as I know have little authority....as far as being under the US government blanket protection of liability while in performance of their duties I would agree with.....just too often they overstep their bounds so depending what it is they have done negligently....is worthy of review.

Some quick research revealed that except for a few that receive some special training...which is still very limited in scope....they possess NO authority. Things like fishing vessel examinations yes...but even then only to a degree of what the vessels are really subject to..mostly administrative instead of legal.

I think it is still the same as always...for REAL LE authority...the still need a USCG member on their vessel....but yes they can patrol and shoo boaters out of restricted areas....but have no authority to stop and arrest.
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:22 PM   #3
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In Canada, the Coast Guard Auxiliary (Pacific) is now known as RCM-SAR (Royal Canadian Marine - Search and Rescue). They are a self governing, wholly volunteer organization, operating over 60 vessels dedicated to the SAR function. In addition, there are the Marine Safety volunteers, who do safety checks (Courtesy examinations) with a mandate similar to that discussed in Alaskan Sea-Duction's post above, but in Canadian waters.
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:28 PM   #4
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As a former member of the USCG Aux I can tell you that they have NO law enforcement authority ON PURPOSE and it is even rare for an auxiliarist to participate in law enforcement activities with regular Coast Guard.

When an auxiliarist is performing duties authorized by the USCG commandant, they are covered for damage, injury and liability by the government.

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Old 03-05-2015, 08:06 PM   #5
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No real authority unless a regular CG onboard which is very rare. OTOH if they are assisting the CG patrol an event such as maintaining a safety parimeter around a fireworks barge and you tell them to pound sand, then they call the regulars over in their RHIBS who will probably want to talk to you.
The response by the lawyer in the OP link is right on the money.
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:21 PM   #6
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I don't dispute the lawyers facts...but when I first read it it seemed to suggest the USCGAUX was a bit more than it is.

Unfortunately for every great auxiliarist there are 10 blowhards7 and for every great flotilla there's a few too many old boys clubs.
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Old 03-06-2015, 02:59 AM   #7
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With the full-time militarization of the USCG when it was became a part of the Department of Homeland Security, I wouldn't be surprised if the Auxiliary has become less relevant to the Guard. Is this so?
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Old 03-06-2015, 05:10 AM   #8
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I don't dispute the lawyers facts...but when I first read it it seemed to suggest the USCGAUX was a bit more than it is.

Unfortunately for every great auxiliarist there are 10 blowhards7 and for every great flotilla there's a few too many old boys clubs.
Sad, but true.

But the USCG Aux did enable me to get a lot of on boat/water experience in a short period of time.

Basically your numbers are right on, but is one is motivated, they will find the Flotilla and /or boat/crew that can give them what they want.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:02 AM   #9
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With the full-time militarization of the USCG when it was became a part of the Department of Homeland Security, I wouldn't be surprised if the Auxiliary has become less relevant to the Guard. Is this so?
Not sure the USCG is any more or less military than ever, just with the perceived threats after 911, armed patrols became more heavily armed.

The USCGAUX is probably used more as time goes along to do more administrative support and non law enforcement or security issues. I see them and hear them with the same regularity where I am as when I was active duty prior to 911.
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:36 AM   #10
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:49 AM   #11
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So I'll step in here.

Like others I have a family history with the US Coast Guard. My son served 5 years and my daughter in law is currently an active duty E6.

I asked both of them about the role of the AUX, not just the rules but the feelings of the regular to the aux.

As members of the department of Homeland Security all active duty members of the USCG are considered to be federal Law Enforcement Officers. For example my daughter in law can concealed carry in all 50 states. She is again a Law Enforcement Officer.

The Auxillary and its members are not Law Enforcement Officers. They are not weapons or boarding party trained. They cannot board your boat. They cannot stop you on the high seas.

The USCG in general loves the auxillary. They for very little cost provide visibility in places the active duty patrols cannot reach.

That does not mean there are not individual situations where conflict exists. When my son was active duty, serving on a USCG motor lifeboat he personally observed a situation.

The local USCG AUX leader had and I do not know or remember all the details somehow really pissed off the Senior Chief that was in charge of his station in Oregon. My son remembers his chief in a loud voice telling the AUX leader that if he didn't get his boat out of his way and quit interfeering with his SAR case, he would arrest the aux leader and seize his boat.

I'm sure this kind of situation is uncommon but it echos other situations I have heard of from active duty members, that sometimes a local auxillary flotilla or some people in it, will loose touch that they are not active duty members of the USCG.
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:24 PM   #12
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Funny how things may have changed...when I was on active duty, unless on a boarding team...you weren't allowed to even possess a weapon on base. It had to be taken directly to the armory for storage till you were leaving the base.

Even flying we were not allowed a weapon for survival purposes except in certain areas and circumstances.

For being in the military and earning top awards in all weapons available at the time...I was always amazed at the USCG anti weapon mentality towards it's members.

Heck, my DEA friends in Miami told me to keep a loaded one under the seat of my truck back in the 80s.

The love of the USCGAUX is definitely hot and cold probably depending where you are and your experiences with them.
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:39 PM   #13
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even their "safety inspection" wont stop a boarding by the real CG
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:15 PM   #14
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The closer you get to the borders, the greater the chance they will ignore the inspection sticker and board you anyway.

While fishing for Halibut within 1/4 mile of the US/Canada border (Middle Bank, San Juan Island) , we were boarded once and challenged two other times, the same day, by federal high speed ribs, Coast Guard boarded, but didn't conduct an equipment inspection, US Border patrol and Homeland Security (which interestingly enough was neither Customs or Border patrol.) The last two didn't board but asked me every question under the sun except the size of my whitey tightees.

Cleary none of them were interested in boat equipment or boating safety.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:28 PM   #15
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even their "safety inspection" wont stop a boarding by the real CG
The purpose of the VSC is not to prevent boarding it is to increase safety by education and compliance to CG standards set to save life's and decrease the chance of injury while on the water. By the way if you have recent Kiddy fire extinguishers with plastic heads check on the internet there is a major recall involving millions of units.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:40 PM   #16
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As to the Aux becoming less relevant far off base. With all the budget cut backs the CG is looking for all the help it can get from a volunteer organization where there are no salaries to pay. Many of the members of the Flotilla I belong to are ex military and take the Auxiliary mission seriously. Much of the Auxiliary work is not visible out on the water and boating safety is the major focus. Law enforcement is absolutely forbidden to the point that an active LE individual can not represent the auxiliary do to conflict of interest issues.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:27 PM   #17
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No doubt, these guardsmen handling 30-caliber machine guns, shotguns, automatic 223 caliber rifles, and large caliber semi-auto pistols, are not part of the auxiliary.


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Old 03-06-2015, 09:39 PM   #18
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So I'll step in here.

As members of the department of Homeland Security all active duty members of the USCG are considered to be federal Law Enforcement Officers. For example my daughter in law can concealed carry in all 50 states. She is again a Law Enforcement Officer..
Coast Guard may be recognized or declared as LEO but they are far from being LEOs. They lack the training and frankly their powers end on land because that's where the posse comitatus act prevents them from acting as LEOs since they became part of the DOD instead of the DOT. The exception to the act is only for the waters.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:53 PM   #19
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Coast Guard may be recognized or declared as LEO but they are far from being LEOs. They lack the training and frankly their powers end on land because that's where the posse comitatus act prevents them from acting as LEOs since they became part of the DOD instead of the DOT. The exception to the act is only for the waters.
Sorry, the USCG is Homeland Security, a cabinet level department, equal to Department of Defense, not part of of it.
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:13 PM   #20
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True LEOs do not consider the USCG as brothers. They just don't meet the criteria.
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