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Old 06-25-2016, 11:09 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by 78puget-trawler View Post
Well OK, other than having several posts warn me not to be an *******, I guess I didn't really get my question answered. Be polite and compliant. Sure, duh! But I guess no one here really knows the actual answer if indeed there is one to be had. Which is what level of cooperation is required as I asked such as physically making access to the party for inspection such as lifting up heavy tables, and deck sections over the eng room etc. No intention of trying to be a "sea lawyer". I will confess it does irk me and I know I am not alone in this, that our 4th Amendment protections under the Bill of Rights do not extend to being on a boat! I had thought I might learn something other than "be nice", LOL! Sort of.
You will not be asked to do anything other than show your paperwork, and possibly the location of a required plackard.

If they are going to full on search and inspect your boat, you will not be allowed to participate. You will be kept "busy" talking while they conduct any search and or detailed inspection.

If they ask you a specific question like "how do we open this hatch" you need to tell them how. If you do not, and they really want to look there they will find a way with or without your cooperation.
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:37 PM   #22
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Curious why you are asking 78? USCG is on our side, wonder what you are worried about?
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:47 PM   #23
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ksanders, thank you for that reply. Again, what I was looking for.
Rossigal, mostly curious. I agree that like the police, they are mostly on our side. But unlike they police they do not have the same restraints, so I was curious just how much the boarded boat owner is expected to do to facilitate whatever it is the CG is going to do. I think I have my answers. Thanks.
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:52 PM   #24
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I respect the CG and have had nothing but professional interactions with them. I have seen them do incredibly brave things!
With that been said no one should be able to board and search your boat. I don't understand why anyone would give up any of their constitutional rights just so you don't make someone who works for you mad.
Again I understand the courts have said they can have a look but some of those same court say they can deny you the right to defend your!
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:14 AM   #25
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I hear you Island and 78. Happen to know a Coastie personally, just transferred from here to there, dang it. I'm also a concealed gal, so no issues with personal liberties at all. I just have nothing to hide and the way the world is changing...they can board me anytime and I hope they are boarding many. Not the same world we used to live in. I haven't seen any tell me I can't carry to defend myself (outside of I have to respect the state laws as if I'm on land) so until then, I'm ok. Am I missing something?
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:16 AM   #26
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Not yet!
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:22 AM   #27
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To add to the above, my uncle was in the CG in the late 50's and performed rescue service on the Washington coast and was commended for that service. My dad had a breakdown on his tug years ago while crossing Dixon Entrance with a tow and mostly green crew. He never had much use for the CG, but he called them and they ran out from Ketchikan and put a line on his tug until he could figure out the problem, ( he did), and get under way again. And just like the police that folks often rag on. Like they said in the Ghost Busters. Who ya gonna call?, when there is trouble? I have no animosity towards the coasties and their mostly wonderful service, but as above I think its wrong that they can board a private vessel minding its own business and doing no harm to anyone, without a warrant. The police can't, nor should anyone else be able to. But it wasn't my intent to start a flame out over what the CG can and cant do. I know they can, and that is unlikely to change.
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:26 AM   #28
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Rossigal, as in many aspects of our lives, its not just about not having anything to hide. That is irrelevant. I have nothing to hide either but as I asked above, would you be OK if the local police came knocking on you home door, without a warrant and said hey open up, we want to inspect your house and everything in it?? I didn't think so.
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:37 AM   #29
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Pertinent Laws

The USCG's primary law enforcement authority is derived from 14 USC 89a (below) provided courtesy of the website of law.cornell.edu. I am not familiar with any laws that would require you to open hatches, or count a fish hold, BUT 18 USC 2237 (also below), and other laws, clearly distinguish what crossing the line is.

I monitor USCG very closely when they are aboard our boats - in the interest of damage mitigation from their gear and general inexperience with access on recreational boats. I refrain from further commentary except to say we have been boarded by USCG this year and in 2013.

Separately, what I find interesting is the fact that some STATES have gotten away from boating safety inspections and now require a higher threshold to be met before initiating a stop for an inspection (reasonable suspicion of a crime). Here is a link to some interesting case law:

NASBLA

I try to keep the mindset that the next boat stopped by any law enforcement agency might be the one that is prevented from hurting people/my loved ones because they are intoxicated or feloniously incompetent.

We do the majority of our boating hours in Canada and our enforcement experience there has been very professional.

The references are next :

14 USC 89a

(a) The Coast Guard may make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests upon the high seas and waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of laws of the United States. For such purposes, commissioned, warrant, and petty officers may at any time go on board of any vessel subject to the jurisdiction, or to the operation of any law, of the United States, address inquiries to those on board, examine the ship’s documents and papers, and examine, inspect, and search the vessel and use all necessary force to compel compliance. When from such inquiries, examination, inspection, or search it appears that a breach of the laws of the United States rendering a person liable to arrest is being, or has been committed, by any person, such person shall be arrested or, if escaping to shore, shall be immediately pursued and arrested on shore, or other lawful and appropriate action shall be taken; or, if it shall appear that a breach of the laws of the United States has been committed so as to render such vessel, or the merchandise, or any part thereof, on board of, or brought into the United States by, such vessel, liable to forfeiture, or so as to render such vessel liable to a fine or penalty and if necessary to secure such fine or penalty, such vessel or such merchandise, or both, shall be seized.
(b) The officers of the Coast Guard insofar as they are engaged, pursuant to the authority contained in this section, in enforcing any law of the United States shall:
(1) be deemed to be acting as agents of the particular executive department or independent establishment charged with the administration of the particular law; and
(2) be subject to all the rules and regulations promulgated by such department or independent establishment with respect to the enforcement of that law.
(c) The provisions of this section are in addition to any powers conferred by law upon such officers, and not in limitation of any powers conferred by law upon such officers, or any other officers of the United States.
(Aug. 4, 1949, ch. 393, 63 Stat. 502; Aug. 3, 1950, ch. 536, § 1, 64 Stat. 406.)

18 USC 2237

(a)
(1) It shall be unlawful for the master, operator, or person in charge of a vessel of the United States, or a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to knowingly fail to obey an order by an authorized Federal law enforcement officer to heave to that vessel.
(2) It shall be unlawful for any person on board a vessel of the United States, or a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to—
(A) forcibly resist, oppose, prevent, impede, intimidate, or interfere with a boarding or other law enforcement action authorized by any Federal law or to resist a lawful arrest; or
(B) provide materially false information to a Federal law enforcement officer during a boarding of a vessel regarding the vessel’s destination, origin, ownership, registration, nationality, cargo, or crew.
(b)
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, whoever knowingly violates subsection (a) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.
(2)
(A) If the offense is one under paragraph (1) or (2)(A) of subsection (a) and has an aggravating factor set forth in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, the offender shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both.
(B) The aggravating factor referred to in subparagraph (A) is that the offense—
(i) results in death; or
(ii) involves—
(I) an attempt to kill;
(II) kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap; or
(III) an offense under section 2241.
(3) If the offense is one under paragraph (1) or (2)(A) of subsection (a) and results in serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365), the offender shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both.
(4) If the offense is one under paragraph (1) or (2)(A) of subsection (a), involves knowing transportation under inhumane conditions, and is committed in the course of a violation of section 274 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or chapter 77 or section 113 (other than under subsection (a)(4) or (a)(5) of such section) or 117 of this title, the offender shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both.
(c) This section does not limit the authority of a customs officer under section 581 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1581), or any other provision of law enforced or administered by the Secretary of the Treasury or the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the authority of any Federal law enforcement officer under any law of the United States, to order a vessel to stop or heave to.
(d) A foreign nation may consent or waive objection to the enforcement of United States law by the United States under this section by radio, telephone, or similar oral or electronic means. Consent or waiver may be proven by certification of the Secretary of State or the designee of the Secretary of State.
(e) In this section—
(1) the term “Federal law enforcement officer” has the meaning given the term in section 115(c);
(2) the term “heave to” means to cause a vessel to slow, come to a stop, or adjust its course or speed to account for the weather conditions and sea state to facilitate a law enforcement boarding;
(3) the term “vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” has the meaning given the term in section 70502 of title 46;
(4) the term “vessel of the United States” has the meaning given the term in section 70502 of title 46; and
(5) the term “transportation under inhumane conditions” means—
(A) transportation—
(i) of one or more persons in an engine compartment, storage compartment, or other confined space;
(ii) at an excessive speed; or
(iii) of a number of persons in excess of the rated capacity of the vessel; or
(B) intentional grounding of a vessel in which persons are being transported.
(Added Pub. L. 109–177, title III, § 303(a), Mar. 9, 2006, 120 Stat. 233; amended Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, § 917, Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3021.)
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:38 AM   #30
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I can remember as a young kid watching them dive in the water at the mouth of the Klamath river to save people that were to stupid to follow orders given the same people that had to risk their lives to save them! Literally pulled off their life jacket and jumped in to rescue them! Left a great impression on me.
I have nothing to hide they are welcome on my boat anytime, but I just which they had to do it within the rules of how a normal person would interpret the constitution!
They could at least take us for a ride in one of their boats!
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:40 AM   #31
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I see your point 78 and it was well said. Years ago I would have agreed with you, but in todays world to stop crazy, we have to adapt. At some point we have to decide how to protect our kids and it SUCKS that the old system doesn't work anymore, not due to us, but due to outside of us. Same reason we need to protect our rights to protect ourselves.
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:47 AM   #32
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78, sooner or later, someone will agree with you 100%. Hang in, it will come.
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:50 AM   #33
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While I tried to read all the "BLA,BLA,BLA" above here is what matters!

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Sorry I guess it been a long day!
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:53 AM   #34
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Rossigal, no offense but you are just plain wrong. You are saying its OK to give up our rights for the greater good I guess and so the govt can take care of us. Adapt means surrender. But then you go on to say we have to defend our rights to defend ourselves, I assume you mean the 2nd Amendment. With this I totally agree, but you are willing to give up some of your rights, just not yet all of them? You know that old saying, little by little, the slippery slope etc. We have given up far too much already.
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:55 AM   #35
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BruceK..you been talking to my wife?? LOL!
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Old 06-26-2016, 01:03 AM   #36
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BruceK..you been talking to my wife?? LOL!
Your wife and I were right, someone did!
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Old 06-26-2016, 01:41 AM   #37
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I knew this would draw all kinds of comments. I'm not surprised. And my honest answer is YES, we have a right to defend ourselves from the government, 2nd. No issues, we all agree. Not willing to give up, no way, no how. BUT...since the government is letting everyone in...and boats is an easy way to get in...I home they are checking every boat....they don't know which of us are HELL YA and which of us are HELL NO. We are on the border. I can only stop so much. Board me. Who is making money letting them in vs. land security? It's just a diff world. I know it's not a perfect system by I don't want my kid wearing a burka! I only have so many shots
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Old 06-26-2016, 02:12 AM   #38
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First-for Island15-the USCG power to board and inspect has been in the US Code since the early days of the country and has been upheld by the SCt. And that right does include the right to fully search your boat if they so choose. And that is not going to change in our lifetimes.

Second, for 78-yes the USCG can come on and do a full blown search if they choose. But they do not do so. The USCG has published guidelines on boardings that they follow. They will come on board, they will be armed. They will be polite. If at night, they may approach without running lights, but as they near, they will always shine a light on the CG insignia or the bow stripe on their boat. Obviously they will look at docs and safety gear for compliance. That is their chief concern. They normally will conduct a visual exam, and "plain sight" exam of your boat. They do not open cabinets, hatches and the like. They go further than that only, and only, if they see something in plain sight that gives them a "reasonable suspicion" that a further search is needed. For example, seeing a "roach" in an ashtray. If they find the need, they tell you, escort you to a spot on the boat, and sit you down with an armed minder. If they need anything from you, they will come and ask.
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:39 AM   #39
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Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

I'm a firm believer in Constitutional Rights, and I know the USCG authority extends beyond border States, but exactly how is the CG supposed to police our borders if they don't have the authority to board vessels? Can they search cars at the CA-MX border?

Again, I understand that the CG boarding in Lake Mead is not that same as boarding a vessel in a border State, and so that's a different situation, but vessels are mobile, and the Courts have ruled several times that even for live-aboards where the boat is the castle, the right to search is upheld.

It appears as if the Courts are not considering boating a Right, but a privilege like driving a car, and are subjecting vessels to search to: "inspect, and search the vessel and use all necessary force to compel compliance."

Constitutional Law was written when recreational boating was pretty much unheard of. Boats were a conveyance, and the Coast Guard's only early mission was border patrol. This seems to have morphed into safety inspections, and just like when life jackets and flare kits became mandatory, it infringes on our Rights, but saves lives and millions of dollars in search costs.

Difficult Constitutional question, but I believe the argument moot regarding border States and perhaps with some merit inland. Should you be free to boat unsafely and perhaps endanger others? If it didn't impact my safety I would say yes, clean up the gene pool a little, being stupid is still legal and you can't fix it.

$0.02
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:02 AM   #40
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First of all, because they are allowed to do all the above does't mean they can do all of them (search) on every boarding. Just because one part of the US Code uses the word search in it, my experience is that some other part of the administrative or judicial system severely limits or eliminates the warrantless search part.

They are NOT allowed to look in closets or drawers or cabinets, or briefcases, or backpacks (so you ARE) secure in you personal belongings at least underthe USCG own policy.

They ARE allowed to look into places that they have safety or environmental jurisdiction over.....usually only man sized spaces can be entered, and places li,e the bilge they look for excessive water, fuel or oil.

Every boarding that I monitored from the mother ship, once there was probable cause to conduct a "search".....the boarding was halted and an authorization to escalate was radioed into a district attorney and if stateless or foriegn, through the state department.

That meant some boarding in the old days of crappy HF radio patching, some boarding lasted days. Who here thinks and USCG team covered in all that gear wants to hang around for days without the comforts of home just to wreck someone's 4the ammendment rights?

Comprehend the difference between a safety inspection and a search.

A safety inspection is what the division of motor vehicles does to your car....check brakes, wipers, emissions, etc..etc

A seach of your car is where the DEA uses a bunch of mechanics to remove doors, panels, fuel tanks, whatever. This usually takes a warrant.

Which one does the USCG do till it gets legal authorization?

The real difference is that people try to compare their homes and boats....doesn't quite work that way...and I am a full time liveaboard and understand my lifestyle wasn't really mentioned in the Constitution. Frustrating as it can be to handle the "proof" necessary to establish residency for all kinds of government documents such as licenses....
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