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Old 05-12-2018, 09:37 AM   #21
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It is only a matter of time before someone dresses up their RIB and wear dark color clothes to look like USCG, board and steal the boat, perhaps killing all those on board.
Perhaps it is time to grab the VHF, report your vessel name, # of souls, and position, quickly.
IF they aren't LEO or USCG, maybe they will veer off??
It is common practice, at night in your car, to drive to a will lite area, if there is any doubt.
Of course LEO really dont like folks broadcasting a speed check over the radio. Maybe the USCG and LEO wont like hearing their location reported over the VHF. Tell them, you did it because you 'were in fear of your life.'
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:41 AM   #22
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I agree on more to the story. Find it interesting that the guy isn't fighting the legitimacy of the charge but wants to fight the right to search. That's typically the approach when one is guilty of the charge itself. I have no sympathy at all with the guy.
When fighting this, or any other infraction or criminal offense, you most often argue every or any legitimate point you have, factual or legal. You certainly can't infer anything from that. More to the point, the first reaction that tons of people have when confronted by the law is to think "Well that can't be legal." To them, being legal translates to constitutional. So that's what they want to challenge. It could also be something as simple as they guy called a lawyer and was told that arguing the constitutional issue was his only shot at "making a point". Who knows. I just wouldn't infer guilt.

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Old 05-12-2018, 09:49 AM   #23
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so, as an aside...and a bit of humor...

many years ago when I was a public defender, I was appointed to represent this knucklehead who had tangled with a local sheriff's office on a boating/boarding issue. Seems he was pulled over for an inspection. He was pretty tanked so you knew it was not going to go well. He was in a little 14' runabout and each time the sheriff asked for certain pieces of equipment, his response was "don't need it...not long enough." this went on for several questions until the sheriff asked "OK bud, just how long is it?" The guy stood up and dropped his shorts to his ankles, pointed to his equipment and said "About that long."
That led to a trip to the clink and to me being appointed. Can't fix stupid.

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Old 05-12-2018, 10:19 AM   #24
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I found the statement about annual revenues for the Fish and Game from such stops would stop and this was also a big concern to the LEO department. Seems like it all comes down to money in the end.
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:35 AM   #25
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I Seems like it all comes down to money in the end.

It always does.

I’m curious - although this may indeed just be a legal strategy (albeit one with a terrible ROI) does he have a point? Is this unreasonable search?
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:40 AM   #26
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A word of caution IMO, dont smart off the the LEO nor the USCG. Given enough time, 'they' will find a reason to detain you and your boat.
Comply as best you can, be polite.
If you get a ticket, if you wish, you will have your day in court to argue your case.
Of course, you can also go to court to thank the LEO and or the USCG for their professionalism and for pointing out your errors, assuring the court these have been corrected.
Both the LEO and the USCG have a long memory.
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:44 AM   #27
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Airstream,

I think the Court decision will answer that question.

For myself, I agree the USCG has a federal statute authority to board my boat. The federal law would have to be challenged or the law changed.

I do not agree that a state LEO has right to enter my home (read livaboard) unless invited or due to a search warrant.

I am not an attorney, I just play one on TF...........
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:54 AM   #28
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Airstream,

I think the Court decision will answer that question.

For myself, I agree the USCG has a federal statute authority to board my boat. The federal law would have to be challenged or the law changed.

I do not agree that a state LEO has right to enter my home (read livaboard) unless invited or due to a search warrant.

I am not an attorney, I just play one on TF...........
One late afternoon at this marina, I noticed a local LEO walking the docks. I invited him onboard, showed him around my boat, we talked and walked for over 30 minutes. He was impressed especially with the two IR cameras. Seems their boats do not have IR cameras.
Said he would come back, never did. I guess I talked his ears off.
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Old 05-13-2018, 12:15 AM   #29
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I kinda do the same thing as OldDan. I call the local LEO water cops and invite them to come to my boat at the dock to do their inspection. They've told me that most of the time they inspect boats in the 20'-36' range and seldom get to do one in my size range.


They use it as a training setup for the new guys so they can see what the differences are in lighting, documentation number posting, equipment, etc.


I get my sticker, they drink a bottle of water while they're on board if they want and the whole thing goes smoothly. The best part is they recognize the boat and I get a free pass when out on the water.
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:12 AM   #30
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This guy isn't trying to get out of the ticket for the PFD violation. He's spending much more than 75 bucks on this fight. His issue isn't the ticket....its whether a warrantless search is constitutional. I'm sure this guy would have still fought this even if he didn't get a citation for anything. The search violates his principles and he's taking a stand. I have to admire him for that.
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Old 05-13-2018, 07:33 AM   #31
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I found the statement about annual revenues for the Fish and Game from such stops would stop and this was also a big concern to the LEO department. Seems like it all comes down to money in the end.
A lot of jurisdictions have converted their law enforcement officers to revenue collection agents.


And, that's unfortunate.
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Old 05-13-2018, 07:43 AM   #32
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A lot of jurisdictions have converted their law enforcement officers to revenue collection agents.


And, that's unfortunate.
Well said. It is kind of like biting the hand that feeds you (the tax payer). It is actually a double whammy when consider the impact this kind of thing has on auto insurance rates. The insurance companies love it.

Still remember the operation they used to run in Waldo FL which I understand has since been cleaned up.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:38 AM   #33
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A few things. We're talking state, not federal, laws here. I think it'll be a long time before you see the feds reverse their right to board and inspect.

And what was that crap about the LEO's not accepting a type 2 PFD? It's hard to believe they're that poorly trained. If true, that would be the easier case to fight. What was the motivation to go after the legality of the boarding? There may be more to the story.
Depends on whether it was an inflatable type II that must be worn to count, or a non inflatable, which doesn't.

If I understand the case, whether he had the right pfds on board, or had his fishing license taped to his forehead is irrelevant. The issue is whether the LEOs need probable cause to do a general safety check. My guess is that the state will argue they did in this case, the higher court will have a "he said, she said" dispute and will find for the state without ruling on whether such probable cause is needed or not, just to maintain the status quo.

The courts have already found that you can be stopped by the police for something that isn't against the law but the police thought it was, then convicted on the basis that they found something that was illegal after during the bogus stop. The Wisconsin Supreme court upheld a drug bust that stemmed from a vehicle being stopped because it had an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror that the cop thought had to be illegal, but wasn't.

I'm not too hopeful this case will result in any meaningful change.
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Old 05-13-2018, 11:45 AM   #34
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Massachusetts MGL Chap 90B Section 12;
"The provisions of this chapter and all rules and regulations made under the authority thereof shall be enforced ...For the purpose of such enforcement such officers may board any motorboat and may conduct an inspection thereof, including an examination of the certificate of number, and may require the operator of such motorboat to give his true and correct name and address..."

Getting a court to overturn public safety regulations seems like an uphill battle.
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Old 05-13-2018, 12:45 PM   #35
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I think it boils down to this: Since this country's founding, the USCG has had authority to board any vessel at any time. This was for customs and import duty enforcement. As in "revenue cutters". The courts have upheld this through numerous challenges as protection against smuggling is one of the CG's primary duties, and ships can come from anywhere carrying anything.

What is less clear is whether state and local law enforcement agencies have the same latitude. In automobiles, searches can only be made by consent, probable cause, or by warrant.

It will be interesting to watch this as it progresses through the courts. I doubt anything will change regarding the broad authority given to the USCG. But it is a bit of a stretch that the same exception to the protections of the 4th given to the USCG for border and customs enforcement applies to a fishing skiff in a lake. For the purposes of checking life jackets?? Really??

We shall see...
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Old 05-13-2018, 01:21 PM   #36
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Depends on whether it was an inflatable type II that must be worn to count, or a non inflatable, which doesn't.

...
Yep, and the PFD also has to be accessible, which it seems to have been, but it cannot be in packaging. Many boaters will keep PFDs in their packaging to keep the PFD clean and dry, which makes sense except that it is then deemed inaccessible.

The article has left out a few details that are important.

Later,
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:18 PM   #37
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Why the 'castle rule' is not extended to an obviously live aboard trawler is beyond me.
I will leave that challenge to those with more money and time plus perhaps political influence than I have.

IF the USCG wishes to board my boat, I welcome it provided, I have room to safely maneuver the boat. If I run aground, I will not be happy.
The same goes for the LEO. I am afraid the LEO maybe less sensitive to needs for safe maneuver room than the USCG.

Alas, times have changed witness, the drug running small and larger boats.

I find it refreshing to see the professionalism of the USCG. Think of how it could be if the USCG officers behaved as some of land bound LEO.
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:21 PM   #38
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I agree that the USCG's authority to board at will will probably not go away anytime soon, and I don't see that as a problem. I think their professionalism is so far above local LEO's that while it may be inconvenient, it would never become harrassment for personal reasons. Plus, the trend is for personal freedoms to be infringed upon for terrorism/drugs/immigration prevention, all of which a federal agency is charged with preventing.

Local LEO's should need a warrant, and I really hope this case goes as far as it needs to , to ensure that becomes the legal standard. I think a boat should be considered a private and personal space, just like a car is, and a live aboard should be afforded the same protections granted to a dirt dwelling home owner. In fact, I would assume if you had a cabin on a lake somewhere, that wasn't your primary residence, it would still be afforded the protection of the 4th Ammd. so any boat with berths should be given the same.
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:25 PM   #39
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Alas, times have changed witness, the drug running small and larger boats.

Anyone who tries to "run" drugs in an 8 knot trawler isn't smart enough to earn the trust of a supplier of very expensive merchandise. I know its considered profiling, but I'd like to think the authorities are boarding 10 cigarette boats for every trawler....and are doing it more in South Florida/California than the more norther states.
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:36 PM   #40
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Anyone who tries to "run" drugs in an 8 knot trawler ....
OR a 'fast trawler'.
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