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Old 21-02-2015, 10:10   #1
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Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

We got boarded by the Coast Guard on the way to the Bahamas. They were very polite and professional as usual, but they had a new excuse for looking in places they aren't normally allowed to look for a simple document/safety inspection. They wanted to check our bilges for "exposed wiring". That's a new one to me.
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Old 21-02-2015, 10:27   #2
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

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We got boarded by the Coast Guard on the way to the Bahamas. They were very polite and professional as usual, but they had a new excuse for looking in places they aren't normally allowed to look for a simple document/safety inspection. They wanted to check our bilges for "exposed wiring". That's a new one to me.
So what the heck is their definition of exposed wiring?

I have to agree that all my experiences with the USCG they have been polite and professional but it still annoys the hell out of me that they can board my boat and search my home without a warrant or probably cause.
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Old 21-02-2015, 10:49   #3
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

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but they had a new excuse for looking in places they aren't normally allowed to look for a simple document/safety inspection.
My understanding is they can look anywhere they want with no need of excuse.
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Old 21-02-2015, 11:04   #4
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

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My understanding is they can look anywhere they want with no need of excuse.
If I understand it correctly their own internal procedures limit what they can do on a simple document/safety inspection. If they have reason to believe something is amiss they have the right to do a full blown search of your boat including cutting into sealed voids etc. It is my understanding from a retired coast that the boarding party needs to have good reason to do a full search, though they do have the right to do one.
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Old 21-02-2015, 11:05   #5
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

Yeah, they wanted to look in my engine compartment... for guns...
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Old 21-02-2015, 17:51   #6
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

People with badges and guns can do pretty much whatever they want to. They declined to look in the part of my bilge where the engine is but they wanted to look where the holding tank is. Not to check anything about the tank, they just looked and put the hatch back in place.
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Old 21-02-2015, 19:14   #7
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

This sounds like a new and creative legal fiction ("under color of law") that they were making a SAFETY inspection, which no one argues they can't do, as opposed to an unwarranted SEARCH, which folks can and will argue about.


We had a spare switch on the breaker panel and rather than leave it empty when all the new labels got made it, it became "SCUTTLE CHARGES".


I'd throw the switch, openly, and then say "I really would advise against that" as I went up on deck.
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Old 22-02-2015, 10:47   #8
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

If you have nothing to hide what is the big deal? They may alert you to something you missed.


Hell, my son said the CG or Customs cracked his suba tank valve to insure it only contained air. Is there something wrong with that?
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Old 22-02-2015, 10:50   #9
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

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If you have nothing to hide what is the big deal? They may alert you to something you missed.
Other than missing or defective life jackets or flares, I doubt it. These guys are not boat mechanics or electricians. They have a check list and that's about it.
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Old 22-02-2015, 11:17   #10
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

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If you have nothing to hide what is the big deal? They may alert you to something you missed.


Hell, my son said the CG or Customs cracked his suba tank valve to insure it only contained air. Is there something wrong with that?
The big deal is I object to having a bunch of armed men invade my home for no reason. I don't care how nice they are, how polite or how friendly. I'm not living aboard right now but there were times in the past when my boat was my one and only home.

If you aren't doing anything illegal at your home on land then would you mind if the local police department could walk in any time they felt like it and search your entire house, bedrooms, attic, basement even open all your drawers and closets? After all they might find some safety issue in your house that you missed, maybe a leaky propane hose on your hot water heater.
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Old 22-02-2015, 11:32   #11
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

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Other than missing or defective life jackets or flares, I doubt it. These guys are not boat mechanics or electricians. They have a check list and that's about it.
Ron,

They are mainly looking for illegal activity. I have no problem with that, I doubt you do.

Coasties in a rib, carrying Glocks , 500 hp. + and a tripod forward for mounting something stored in the locker are not after you and I.

I wish honest people would cut all law enforcement a break. I'll bet even the ones just boarding are just looking to save the idiot, that is not equipped, from himself.
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Old 22-02-2015, 11:44   #12
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

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Ron,

They are mainly looking for illegal activity. I have no problem with that, I doubt you do.

Coasties in a rib, carrying Glocks , 500 hp. + and a tripod forward for mounting something stored in the locker are not after you and I.

I wish honest people would cut all law enforcement a break. I'll bet even the ones just boarding are just looking to save the idiot, that is not equipped, from himself.
I have nothing against law enforcement. My best friend from high school just retired from the sheriff's dept. My neighbor across the street in the local PD and I'm glad to have him there.

I repeat my question. The police on land are also looking for illegal activity. Would you then like to have the enter and search your home at any time with no warrant and no probable cause just in case there's some illegal activity going on? Of course they wouldn't be after you, only checking just in case.
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Old 22-02-2015, 11:55   #13
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

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I have nothing against law enforcement. My best friend from high school just retired from the sheriff's dept. My neighbor across the street in the local PD and I'm glad to have him there.

I repeat my question. The police on land are also looking for illegal activity. Would you then like to have the enter and search your home at any time with no warrant and no probable cause just in case there's some illegal activity going on? Of course they wouldn't be after you, only checking just in case.
I can well see your point. My house is not likely to sink or cause a danger to someone else. I just can't see law enforcement taking a bad rap. Don't like the law change it, don't blame the guy enforcing it. He/she or only trying to make a living. Couldn't give me that job.
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Old 22-02-2015, 12:00   #14
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

I wonder what would qualify for exposed wiring in the bilge? Are we talking about a bare wire? Or simply wires going through the bilge? Anyway that is a new one on me. the last excuse I heard was they wanted to look into my bilge to make sure I wasn't sinking. Like I wouldn't know.
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Old 22-02-2015, 12:10   #15
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Re: Exposed Wiring In the Bilge?

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
People with badges and guns can do pretty much whatever they want to. They declined to look in the part of my bilge where the engine is but they wanted to look where the holding tank is. Not to check anything about the tank, they just looked and put the hatch back in place.
Damn Ron you must look suspect? Just yanking your chain. I wouldn't want to look in a holding tank.
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