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Old 16-10-2015, 22:35   #16
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

I've gone around this subject on other threads (maybe on other forums) and based on my reading of the law and regs, the Canadian Coast Guard and RCMP do NOT have the right arbitrarily board and search a vessel without some sort of just cause. That said, I'm aware of Canadian law enforcement doing just that.

I note that FamilyVan is here. Perhaps you can answer this definitively: Do Canadian CG, or other law enforcement require reasonable suspicion before demanding to board a private boat, just like land-based law enforcement?
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Old 16-10-2015, 22:46   #17
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
He was just being polite, and you were quite the opposite. The CG had every right to board, while you had an "attitude." Makes one wonder if you were involved in illegal activity.
Why, when the truth really is "I would rather you not", and you say so in response to their direct question about invading your home (boat), should this be considered as an "attitude". Was he supposed to lie and say that they were welcomed?

Let me clarify my tone by saying I have always found my USCG boarding party polite and professional. I understand they are doing the job assigned to them. In fact I have also been boarded by Mexican Navy and they have also been polite and professional. But in Mexico I am a foreigner and expect that they have the right to inspect a foreign vessel in their waters.

But when in the USA as a USA citizen I find the whole "search without cause" by USCG officials very troubling. If this was not important, the Fourth Amendment would not have ever been included in the Constitution.
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Old 16-10-2015, 23:01   #18
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

Hi Mike, the CCG certainly has no right to board your vessel without an invitation unless you are in the process of committing a Federal Crime, specifically related to pollution of the marine environment or contradiction of the Fisheries Act. They certainly would not attempt it without significant evidence. Under law, CCG personnel are Public Officers, not Peace Officers, as such have no powers of arrest beyond that of civilians unless operating under the authority of a Fisheries officer or other peace officer.

The RCMP is of course restrained by the charter of rights and freedoms, which protects all Canadian citizens from the right to arbitrary search and seizure.

The normal rules apply, if evidence suggests a crime is in progress or elicit items are in plain view they can search.

If you are searched by the USCG in Canadian waters, unless they have a "ship rider" on board, they are more likely to go to jail than you.

Don't mess with Canadian Sovereignty.

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Old 16-10-2015, 23:04   #19
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Seriously, this whole subject gets discussed regularly in endless threads without number, and has long since been beaten to death.

Do we really need to do this AGAIN?
If you didn't comment, you wouldn't know about it. If you don't like it, just unsubscribe to this thread. Otherwise, your looking really like a troll.
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Old 16-10-2015, 23:05   #20
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

I don't mind the boarding bit, we have similar laws over here which also is for anywhere with Australian Citizens. But what's with the drugs 'swabs'.. That I find just way over the top.. way too intrusive. And the amount of time it took for all of this.. man, that's just wrong.
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Old 16-10-2015, 23:40   #21
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

The law enforcement side of the Coast Guard is a thankless job, just like the cops. But we have to have laws and someone has to be tasked to see the laws are followed. And that means routine boardings.
As a former commercial fisherman, I have been boarded many times. Every time the Coast Guard people were professional. Because I believe it's smarter and easier to comply with maritime laws than face the consequences, I've never been ticketed.
As a fisherman I saw rescues and heard stories of others that told of outstanding seamanship and personal bravery of Coast Guard people. Unprepared people go to sea in unreliable vessels and the Coast Guard goes out in any weather and brings them back. I have friends, alive today because of the job the Coast Guard does as a matter of routine. Every time I meet a Coastie, I shake their and thank them for the job they do. Putting up with a boarding now and then seems a small price to pay.
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Old 17-10-2015, 03:06   #22
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Seriously, this whole subject gets discussed regularly in endless threads without number, and has long since been beaten to death.

Do we really need to do this AGAIN?

Maybe it's unknown to folk without time to browse through "endless threads without number".

Maybe some folk are new to CF.

Maybe - in a world where piracy is still a concern - actual experiences with boarding by officials is of interest.

Maybe you could simply ignore the thread.

Maybe you should just go sailing - or otherwise bug off.

James
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Old 17-10-2015, 06:05   #23
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

It's amazing to me that my fellow American rave about how "free" we are and are fearful of a trannical government, but tell me I must be a criminal since I want my personal freedoms respected. Especially telling that the "socialist" commonwealth countries actually have quite a bit more personal freedom.

I know, I know "love it or leave it". I'm keeping a close eye on my options.
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Old 17-10-2015, 06:23   #24
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

Let me begin this post with I support the USCG and ICE mission to protect us. I understand that the fact I am traversing waterways known to be used by smugglers, means I will be challenged. In a post 9/11 world, it is what it is....

The issue is that these crews are not trained properly. In a fight, I want these guys on my side. If I pop the switch on my EPRIB, I know they will find me. Allow them to board me again??--- not if I can avoid it.

Without discussing the damage claim I just resolved, the issue is the way the USCG trains their cutter boat helmsmen. The cutter boat manual directs the helmsman to place the boat forward of the beam. While this places their boat in a good location, the water flow drives their boat into a weaker part of any sailboat I have seen. Look at your own boat- there is a partial bulkhead at the widest part of the boat and then a full bulkhead at the chain-plates. There is no significant structural support at the recommended point of contact.

If challenged again for a "courtesy boarding" I will try to assuage the USCG or ICE concerns verbally. If that does not work, I will direct them to board at the chain plates. Hopefully, they will comply. I am sure both groups will get "testy" if I start video taping.

Now if we could get the person who does the training of the cutter boat crews to change the manual, that would be great.

PS if you ARE a USCG officer, please PM me I would be like to see this resolved.
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Old 17-10-2015, 06:31   #25
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

The last time I was boarded they came on with boots covered in seashells and bird poo.
My teak down below did not fair so well. I had to take up the first 6' of floor they walked on and re-varnish with the deep scratches they left behind.... all of this damage for a safety inspection. I was friendly, but it didn't get me anywhere. I passed the inspection....
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Old 17-10-2015, 07:41   #26
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

I have a great deal of respect for the USCG, and have always complied with their boarding. I believe the only reason you can decline them boarding is if the captain of the vessel deems it unsafe to do so, otherwise you don't have an option if you are a US flagged vessel. Like it or not they have the authority to do so, if that troubles you then take it up with your congress or senate and get the law changed, otherwise comply with their instructions and don't give them a bunch of grief, it serves no purpose and the people you are interacting with have no idea if you are a good guy or a bad guy so they are on guard. I have been boarded several times and at all times they have been professional and respectful, even when we had a point of disagreement over some of their perceived requirements, in that instance, I was able to show them in their own books where they were applying the wrong regulation to my vessel and they took it with good grace and we parted cordially. From the video, I took away that they were doing a difficult job with good humor and professionalism. I wouldn't have had any complaints.
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Old 17-10-2015, 07:53   #27
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

Can anyone name another law in the US that is applied the same way today as it was 225 years ago? There were virtually no privately owned recreational vessels 225 years ago. The law was written for regulation of commercial vessels. IMO this law should be modernized to account for 225 years of change.
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Old 17-10-2015, 07:59   #28
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

I agree, however if the law was changed to exclude private yachts, do you think that the bad guys might make use of that loophole?
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Old 17-10-2015, 08:11   #29
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

I was boarded by a few years ago and I turned the tables on them politely. Everyone had their lifejackets in hand and I had all required gear out before they asked. I then started pounding them with safety questions. What survival gear should I have and on and on. They could not get our of there fast enough. They went to my friends boat next and they spent an hour with them. The coast guard even mentioned the experience on my boat to them not knowing we were traveling together. We still joke about it today.
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Old 17-10-2015, 09:09   #30
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Re: U.S. Coast Guard boarding experience (not typical i dont think)

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I agree, however if the law was changed to exclude private yachts, do you think that the bad guys might make use of that loophole?
Honoring the constitutional right against unreasonable search is hardly a "loophole". Somehow law enforcement makes do living within the constitution when dealing with bad guys in houses, cars, trucks etc. Requirements of probable cause and search warrants apply everywhere else, why not for me on my boat?
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