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Old 09-10-2005, 21:14   #1
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Post Boater's Rights, do we have any?

Given the recent discussions about Coast Guard actions and Homeland Security I thought it might be appropriate to start this thread to discuss our rights as boaters. All you legal eagles out there, when we're in US coastal waters and the Coasties come a calling for no apparent reason, what rights do we have? When we board our boats doe we give up our rights to privacy? What can you tell us?

What about off shore? Is it ever ok to tell Big Brother to go fly a kite? What can we do, what can't we do?

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TJ
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Old 10-10-2005, 00:25   #2
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sorry tried to reply to this post and somehow it came up as a new thred - see above.....
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Old 10-10-2005, 13:58   #3
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The USCG enjoys federal police powers ashore and off shore US Military powers. Just about as much power as any individual can get. They don't require a warrant to search and they usually carry miltary weapons with firepower on board their vessels like most small US Navy vessles. They don't carry nukes.

About the most you could actually do is file a complaint after they are gone. That may seem like a little but the USCG enjoys a pretty decent reputation. They generally are more polite than a police officer would be and they do follow up about complaints were you to file one. The don't usually get involved with random searches so they usually have a mission at the time they stop you. They often are looking for someone or some vessle they will ask questions and conduct searches. If they thought you were involved in something or knew somwething they could detain you or part of your crew.

If you give them a hard time they will return sufficient force as required. using a wepon would be a bad idea. They don't need a warrant to search your vessle and they won't accept a refusal when they request you to do something. Your rights are limited if your cooperation is minimal.

FWIW, if in the area they will rush to save you should you require it. It does cut both ways.
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Old 10-10-2005, 19:49   #4
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Actually, I think we're doing pretty well these days.

I foresee that some day we're all going to have to apply for a boaterís license. At least anything that's not trailerable and maybe even then.

Just like a driverís license, with classes, they will make sure you can operate the vessel properly. And you will have to take courses to get that class of license.

So for now, enjoy the freedom you have. And, so far, there haven't really been but a few minor instances per capita.
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