I believe "exposed wiring" could be a fuse without a cover or a positive battery
terminal without a cover. A good thing to check.
With no disrespect meant to the Coasties who are unfailingly great, I respect the Constitution more. The 4th amendment makes no "probable cause" exception for safety inspections. That's why the police can't pull you over to check that your brake pads are in good shape.
If you want to argue that the Coast Guard should be able to board you for safety inspections at anytime, you should be consistent and allow six heavily armed police to come to your house in the evening for a surprise safety inspection
of your smoke detectors.
As with almost everything, this was originally about money. In 1790 the primary source of income
(e.g. tax) for the Federal Government
duties from ships landing from international waters. Someone had to board these ships or there would be smuggling. So Congress passed the "Revenue Service
Act of 1790" which gave the Revenue Cutter
Service the right to board any vessel at anytime. This wasn't about safety or drugs. It was about "revenue" (hence the name).
The Revenue Cutter
Service eventually became part of the Coast Guard. As is true of government agencies, they hate to give up a power once won and have applied the original law to purposes that Congress never intended such as safety inspections. I'm pretty sure lifejackets didn't even exist in 1790. It's also hard to argue that an 18ft bowrider on the ICW
in Myrtle Beach is evading customs
It's time for a change -- probably in the form of a court case reaching the Supreme Court.