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Old 15-09-2005, 04:28   #61
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The general ‘freedom vs security’ dialogue, is an important and interesting philosophical debate - but not specifically appropriate to the CruisersForum.
I’d be much happier (with this thread), if anyone could offer some useful practical advise (to cruisers) on the subject:
Something like: advice on how best to deal with unexpected law enforcement visits, how to avoid them, or the like ...
Opinions are like anuses, we all have one - but, in this case, I don’t see the beneficence of sharing.
Thanks for your restraint, and

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Old 15-09-2005, 08:40   #62
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I like Delmarreys reply because it touches on the unknown elements of the baddies, and the user friendliness of the law enforcement. It used to be you did not mind an encounter with the authorities because they generally treated you as if you were innocent, and if you stayed that way you would not get in to trouble. The CCG up here said " Do you mind if we board for an inspection " I said please be my guest. However it was not at 2230 and the attidute was hospitable.
The Kiwis have a good word for how much of the law enforcement guys now act. " Stroppy " Young Reg was acting a bit full of himself and throwing his weight around.
Up here in the Pacific North West the fuzz and others, in fact the whole society, does not quite seem to be and act as if they were on red alert all the time.
We probably ship more baddies to the US they they send us, or though we get a few trying to escape from the US.
Some enterprising BC types just dug a tunnell under the boarder for drug trafficking purposes. Just getting the goods to market.
I have crossed the border so many times with boats I could right a book about it. To be sure I have met the nicest law enforcement agent in Lake Chelan Washington, and the biggest prick in North Vancouver BC.
And that's about all I have to say about this.

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Old 15-09-2005, 13:09   #63
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Now that Gord has advised us on the best way to deal with this subject, lets turn this topic a different direction. So my question, how would the best way of dealing with this situation be??
Reply to the authority...
1: sure, come on in, be my guest, can I make you a cuppa while you look??? or
2: I would rather you didn't, so recite your legal code to ensure me you have the right to do so. And make the atmosphere feel like they are intruding.
My thought (from my country point of view), if you answered No.1, you would get a very short and cordial visit. If you answered No.2, they would go through your vessel with a fine tooth comb.
What's the views here. What is a good way to deal with this.
For me, this is a ligit question, as I come from a Country were our Police do not carry firearms-- on their person that is. So for me (a nieve country bumbkin) to enter a country were the inspection force arrive onboard fully armed, and in some parts of the world, that is FULLY ARMED, scares the heck out of me and is my greatest fear to traveling the world.

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Old 15-09-2005, 14:25   #64

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What is the best behavior for the boardee?

My 2 cents following Gord's thread adjustment.

If you have confirmed it is indeed law enforcement, I think it is far better for everyone involved just to be friendly, treat them well, and they will be on their way. (Unless you are the drug lab boat!) ha ha

See... standing up to them makes them very angry and you'll become a target in any way they can make you one.

I don't have much confidence in authorities or the government, so I don't trust these types. However, I'm smart enough to know when to shut up. It's best to just be polite and get it over with, then complain about it after they leave.

When traveling outside your native country, it's all the more important to be courteous and allow them to do whatever they want.

And... appearances count. I may look very clean cut and like a computer geek, but do you know how many times that has helped me in situations like this? They don't give me a 2nd look. Having some "good clothes" somewhere on board you can change into for these kinds of things goes a long way.
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Old 15-09-2005, 14:57   #65
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Erosion of rights.

Gord doesn't get it in the northern woods. If we as a boating community don't act to stop the unnecessary and unwarranted invasion of our home, whether it be on the sea or on land, we are not deserving of the freedom we are losing. Several months ago, there was a hue and cry concerning a sign seen in Connecticut that was an anchor within a red circle with a red slash through it. It says Noanker. Many were concerned with their anchoring rights even though it was unforunded.
Daily, throughout Florida, boats are boarded and told to up anchor because of some obscure local ordinance that is clearly in violation of the right of free passage and anchorage. If these intrusions into our personal freedoms, as boaters, collectively are not met with action (peaceful and legitimate action), we are not entitled to them.
I, again, suggest that each member on this board, contact his Congressman and Senators. Such intrusions must not go un-answered.


p.s. Gord, I do not intend to cause any disruption, but there is no way to offer "advice on how best to deal with unexpected law enforcement visits, how to avoid them, or the like ..." when the inspecting authority is acting in an unethical fashion.

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Old 15-09-2005, 19:03   #66
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Now for the daily update
Sean, point well made.
After a long phone conversation with the local Coast Guard commander, I have cleared some things up, and developed a plan of action.
First, I was provided a sincere apology for the actions of the personell that boarded us.
The exercise was intended to inspect vessels for illegal discharge of bilge and holding tanks. The instruction was to board vessels from the hours of 20:00 hrs to 22:00 hours, only to board vessels with people obviously on board, and not to wake people up. The Coasties were supposed to explain their purpose, check head thru hulls, and look in bilges for oil or other contaminates that may be discharged into the marinas. No relation to Homeland security. Clearly the crew that boarded us took it upon themselves to reinterpret their mission. The Commander expressed an inability to determine what vessels were liveaboards, and stated that they would have not boarded home port liveaboard vessels if they could have determined who they were. As for the time they boarded, they wer running a bit behind schedule. (Oops?)
The conversation was very productive. I have advised the Commander that information regarding liveaboard vessels is available at the harbor. Duly noted, and now part of his SOP to check this first. The Commander agrees that this is a gray area in the regulation (implied), and has agreed to work with me, and the boating community at large to make changes. We will be compiling a letter to Congressman Sam Farr requesting introduction of legislation defining certain vessels as domiciles, and specificly excluding them from dockside boardings. Once this letter is written, I will post it on my website for anyone who is interested. Based on his actions on the central coast, I believe we will have the Congressman's support.
As I said, my opinion of the Coast Guard has always been very high, and my outrage was based as much as anything on how out of character this event was. With the support of the Coast Guard, I believe we can make a change that will benefit the boating community as a whole.
GORD, I agree with your suggestion, and I think, in spite of the fact most of us would like to do differently, the general consensus is, be polite, and fight back later. So, here we are. This approach worked for me. Unlike driving down the road, and trying not to get stopped by a local cop, there is very little that can be done to stay below the Coast Guard's radar. (pun intended) Keeping our vessels seaworthy, our papers in order, and the rum in the galley is about all we can do. As you may be able to tell, I do not support the lone fisherman's actions brandishing a weapon to fend off law enforcement. I do believe in civil disobedience, but not to include violence. At least not that kind of violence. (Part of me still hopes he wins his case)
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Old 15-09-2005, 20:10   #67
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Kai Nui,

I'm impressed with your patience and follow-through. You are almost certainly responsible for some procedural changes in the local Coasties' books that will benefit everyone in your marina.

Working with law enforcement. Gee, what a concept.

Considering the big picture, one might even accuse the CG of being responsive to the citizenry it is charged with protecting.

I'll bet it also gives you some personal satisfaction to be honestly heard, apologized to, and given an explanation of just exactly what they were up to. And I suspect that it may have relieved some of that initial anger and sense of violation. Perspective has a way of doing that.
s/y Elizabeth— Catalina 34 MkII
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Old 15-09-2005, 20:24   #68
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Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I get great satisfaction from getting heard, and from making changes for the better.
I really hope this all plays out for positive change.
As for working with law enforcement, it is unfortunate that the "us vs them" mentality has become so prevelent in this society. On both sides.
Perspective still shows me that they were wrong, but their willingness to acknowledge that is certainly a step towards making things right.
Old 15-09-2005, 20:28   #69
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Kai Nui, Thank you very much for keeping us updated on the situation. I applaud you for your persistence and your mature, reasoned and systematic inquiry into the incident. And I thank you for taking the fight a step farther in the interest of sailors and liveaboards. I dearly hope that you and your Congressman are succesful in writing and passing legislation that would act to limit unreasonable search and seizure. I am still sad that you had to undergo such an injustice. It seems, if we can believe the words of the local Commander, that it was not the Patriot's Act that was the cause of the boarding. It was only the Coast Guard looking for yachtsmen who are making illegal discharges of wastes. (As if that explanation somehow makes it OK to board your boat at dock in the middle of the night; and I hope I did not miss something in your remarks). Somehow I feel that is less of a justification for their actions than the Patriots Act which was purportedly passed for our national and personal security. I surely hope your local situation is resolved to your satisfaction. But Nationally, for American and foreign sailors as well, there is much to be concerned about with an aggressive and unbridled application of the Patriots Act as it is currently written. Incidents such as what happened to you could easily multiply if we are not all vigilant and steadfast in expecting government to balance aggressive law enforcement with an application of and respect for other laws regarding our individual rights. Cheers to ya.
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Old 15-09-2005, 21:08   #70
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Thanks Joe. The fight goes on I agree that the illegal discharge is not a valid reason to board, but at least it is a reason. That is more than I started with. Much as I also wish I had not had to go through this, better me than someone with less patience. I can just picture the infamous fisherman out here having a gun battle with the 4 Coast Guard gun boats, and all of their crew. WOW, that's a scary thought.
Old 16-09-2005, 03:35   #71
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Please don’t understand my earlier “cautionary” comments to have been intended to inhibit this thoughtful, rational, and efficacious discussion. I merely hoped to constrain the possibility of an emotional political debate (flaming rant). Obviously, no need here.
As always, our membership has & is demonstrating a sophisticated, cerebral and practical approach to this important subject.

It may have appeared that I don’t “get it here in the northern woods” ~ but I DO share the (generally expressed) deep and abiding concern for the erosion of citizen rights (in the name of security or whatever),
I DO appreciate the leadership & initiative that ‘KAI NUI’ is offering.

Keep us apprized of your progress, and of anything we may do to assist your noble efforts.

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Old 16-09-2005, 19:03   #72
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Thanks GORD. This thing is really taking a positive turn for boaters. I will provide details sometime next week, when all of the pieces are in place, but our rights have been acknowledged.
Old 17-09-2005, 11:16   #73
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so we have gone from terrorists to turds. sounds like they are backing off fast. as i posted earlier, you may never know who was really doing what or why, but clearly they are being reeled in and your efforts are certainly helping. you won a battle.

around here, boarding to check for discharge, holding tank, Y-valve is, by the way, normal and within their duties, usually with environmental police, but not at 10:30 at night on a dark vessel. it is a good excuse that does put them "back in bounds". you don't rise through the ranks by being dumb. it is smart to let them save face, as long as the changes are real and permanent.

i would guess the other agencies were there in case an armed turd tried to make a break for it. gotta love it.

look forward to hearing how it goes from here.

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Old 17-09-2005, 11:38   #74
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Yep, gotta watch those violent turds
Ah, the joys of politics. I do not mind letting them win a battle or two in order for us to win the war.
I have not been this invloved in politics since the 80's. I hoped I would never have to again, but, when it is put on my doostep....
It is a good feeling of accomplishment though.
Old 27-09-2005, 21:05   #75
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Just an update, we are still putting together a solution locally. In the Monterey Herald Sept 18th front page was a follow-up article that included quotes from local residents such as "To me it reeks of Nazi Germany and the death squads in Argentina", and quotes from the US Coast Guard such as "We take lessons and learn from these types of operations. If the public is genuinely distasteful of it, we might not do it." and "I'm not saying we won't, but I'm not saying we will"
They still may not recognize our rights, but at least they seem to fear public opinion.
We hope to have a meeting in the next couple of weeks with all local boat owners that are interested, and the local Coast Guard Commander. We will, at that time, try to establish some boundaries, such as defining certain vessels as "domiciles" while at dock. This puts us under the protection of the 4th ammendment, a law that the power of the Coast Guard seems to supercede.
What is truly surprising is the opposition on both sides. In rallying support for this meeting, I have encountered people that fully support the Coast Guard's actions, not surprising, but I have also encountered people who are so suspicious of any government entity, that they refuse to support this oppertunity. They are convinced that this is a plot by the coast guard that will ultimately take more freedoms away.
I stand firmly in the middle. I want to open up communications, and by my understanding, the Coast Guard's willingness to support something like this is a genuine acknowledgement on the part of law enforcement that we have a right to privacy. Not just a "perceived right to privacy".

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