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Old 02-12-2009, 21:28   #91
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During our eleven year circumnavigation we were never boarded and searched. The Ozzies flew over in airplanes. The Kiwis passed by at high speed in their customs launch. We've had lots of waves and smiles, but no boardings. Even heading into Israel, the gunboat circled us a couple of times, but did not board. We must be a very boring boat.
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Old 03-12-2009, 13:13   #92
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What is "the code of safety regulations"? Not aware of this....
Besides having the appropriate place cards on oil and garbage disposal there is a requirement to have a copy of "Inland Navigation Rules" should the boat exceed 39.4 feet. My boat is a 37 foot Tayana, but since I had the book aboard, there was no discussion whether that rule appies to me. The LOA is around 43 feet and the LOD is just under 37.
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Old 03-12-2009, 15:56   #93
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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
We have freedom of unreasonable search and seizure yet the CG can board and search anyone on the water without probable cause. How did this happen?



The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution
You can't really compare a boat with a house. The USCG is also responsible for border protection - I assume you don't have a beef with Customs x-raying your luggage when you arrive on an international flight? By crossing borders your consent to search is implicit. Whether you cross the border or not, Lake Superior is an international gateway so you should consider your consent to search is a given.
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Old 03-12-2009, 16:08   #94
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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin.
"The price of Freedom, is eternal vigilance." - Thomas Jefferson

I think we have to remember that coast guards (not just the USCG) have multiple responsibilities - search and rescue, navigation safety, border security, fishery control, environmental protection, port-state control, etc, etc. If they are within their jurisdiction, then I think it's a good idea to put up with the minor hassle of a border, as ultimately it means the seas and ports will be safer for our benefit. OTOH, if Paul Blart Water-cop is going way over his authority, then you should document everything, find out your rights, and if justified, file a complaint with the appropriate agency.
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Old 03-12-2009, 17:18   #95
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Obviously, you have not cruised outside the US very much. I was boarded regularly in Central America by the Navys of those countries to be inspected for drugs and human smuggling during a two year trip through that area. Perfectly reasonable if you think of what is going on on land there. I was actuallly shocked that no one EVER approached me when I sailed back into US waters and Key West after two years in Central America and being inspected in virtually every port and being stopped numerous times when at sea. The check in in Key West was done with no inspection of my boat and just a review of my passport in their office several blocks from the waterfront. I have to say we have a very vulnerable and large coast line. You will not find me objecting to the USCG stopping and reviewing what is going on.
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:48   #96
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Obviously, you have not cruised outside the US very much.
Was this directed at me? If so, do you care to explain this comment?
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:04   #97
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You can't really compare a boat with a house. The USCG is also responsible for border protection - I assume you don't have a beef with Customs x-raying your luggage when you arrive on an international flight? By crossing borders your consent to search is implicit. Whether you cross the border or not, Lake Superior is an international gateway so you should consider your consent to search is a given.
Actually, don't have an issue with clearing the borders and customs inspections. Consequently, if I cross a border I would consider my consent given. However, I shouldn't be detained unless I have crossed an international border

Safety inspections which are 99% of the detainments up here. These inspections are not able to be scheduled at the mutual convenience of the owner and the USCG. But instead at the USCG's whim without consideration for the boater.

BTW, for tax purposes in the USA, boats are treated as either primary or secondary homes.
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:05   #98
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OTOH, if Paul Blart Water-cop is going way over his authority, then you should document everything, find out your rights, and if justified, file a complaint with the appropriate agency.
It is not that Paul Blart Water Cop exceeds his authority, its that he was given the authority.
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:16   #99
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Obviously, I should have been more careful about my reply. I picked up from this thread that some folks were complaining about being stopped and boarded by the USCG as excessive and was using the rhetorical "you". My experience in Central America convinced me that we have much less rigorous patrolling of coast and harbors than some other countries and was expressing a particular set of instances of coming back into the US after a two year absence---certainly contrasted with the check in and Zarpe process for all the other countries I visited. I was boarded and physically inspected just about every time I entered a country and sometimes between harbors in the same country. Also, board and inspected offshore more times in two years than in by previous 30 of delivering yachts and cruising the coasts of the US.

Sorry if I offended anyone, but factually, there is IMHO, no comparison.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:21   #100
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Actually, don't have an issue with clearing the borders and customs inspections. Consequently, if I cross a border I would consider my consent given. However, I shouldn't be detained unless I have crossed an international border.
If you sail on an international body of water (be it lake or sea) then there's no way for them to know if you've been abroad or not. But as I've also stated the Coast Guard has more on their agenda than just border patrol.

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Safety inspections which are 99% of the detainments up here. These inspections are not able to be scheduled at the mutual convenience of the owner and the USCG. But instead at the USCG's whim without consideration for the boater.
Do you get a tag or certificate for these inpections? If so, then maybe it's in your interest to call them out beforehand to do the safety inspection, then you should be able to display your tag when they hail you.

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BTW, for tax purposes in the USA, boats are treated as either primary or secondary homes
That's not really the point. AFAIK, RVs can be treated as second homes in the US - that doesn't mean you can't or won't be searched at the border.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:25   #101
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It is not that Paul Blart Water Cop exceeds his authority, its that he was given the authority.
I can't speak to each jurisdiction and each agency - they vary widely. As I said learn the extent of their powers - if they overstep them you can act. If you are unhappy with the extent of their powers, then raise the issue with your elected officials.
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:27   #102
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Sorry if I offended anyone.
No offence taken Ray - I was just confused; you sorted that all out - thanks.
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:25   #103
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If you sail on an international body of water (be it lake or sea) then there's no way for them to know if you've been abroad or not. But as I've also stated the Coast Guard has more on their agenda than just border patrol.
We are required by law to clear customs when entering the United States. If there is probable cause to believe someone is slipping into the country without clearing customs then authorities have Constitutional justification obtain a warrant and to detain and search.

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That's not really the point. AFAIK, RVs can be treated as second homes in the US - that doesn't mean you can't or won't be searched at the border.
The point is and as I have already stated above, I and in fact most Americans, do not have an issue with clearing customs. It is the unwarranted detainment and search not related to international border crossings that is the issue here. The 4th Amendment wording also talks about persons and effects as well as homes.

When I am detained by the USCG they are detaining my person, effects, and possible my home (under the US tax code) without probable cause or a warrant.

It's difficult for me to traverse from high school civics where everything is seemingly clear and uncomplicated with our Constitution to its application in the real world. The erosion and exceptions to our rights that are articulated in the US Constitution have caused much friction between our government and various factions in our country that take literal translation.

Getting pulled over by the USCG on their whim and schedule without probable cause, without a warrant as though I am some sort of criminal invokes a reflexive visceral reaction leaving me in a POed mood the rest of the day. I keep thinking, how can these guys just do what they want without cause to a citizen going about his business.

The several times I have been stopped I have offered to meet them at the dock for a full inspection when it is mutually convenient. Both times the suggestion was met without humor.
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:40   #104
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i agree

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Getting pulled over by the USCG on their whim and schedule without probable cause, without a warrant as though I am some sort of criminal invokes a reflexive visceral reaction leaving me in a POed mood the rest of the day.
What is especially vexing about these so-called "courtesy inspections" is that half the time I've been boarded it's been as a training exercise for new coasties.

That and the fact that not a one of them has ever come aboard in proper boat shoes.
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:08   #105
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I can't speak to each jurisdiction and each agency - they vary widely. As I said learn the extent of their powers - if they overstep them you can act. If you are unhappy with the extent of their powers, then raise the issue with your elected officials.
Lodesman, You are correct and your advice is sound. It is just unfortunate that our elected officials get elected by promising to give its electorate free money, free this and that and free “safety and security” when in reality nothing is free.
To keep illegal drugs out of our country we surrendered a bit of our Fourth Amendment Rights to the DEA, to keep terrorists out we surrendered a bit of freedom to Homeland Security, to keep out illegal aliens we surrender a bit to ICE, to keep our water clean a bit to the EPA, etc. etc. Now to protect me from drunken boaters we surrender a bit more. And as we create more laws for our own good we also create more agencies to enforce those laws. And as more laws and agencies are created, the more reasons there are to be boarded. While it would take a bit of research, I wonder what the per capita number of boardings is today by all agencies versus 10-20 years ago, and if we are truly safer for them. I would also be curious how much revenue is realized from these endeavors.
While I don’t have the salt water and off shore experience of many of the posters here, the Great Lakes are a fertile cruising ground for many, and this was about boardings. On a typical weekend around the Lake Erie islands, bays and ports it is not unusual to see a fleet of local agencies at popular spots that never turn off their blue flashing lights. The “safety inspections” at these locations probably number in the 100s. I have never, however, witnessed the USCG being a part of these inspections.
When I was a power boater I was boarded for safety inspections 3 times in a 5 year period, twice on a go-fast, once on a cruiser. As soon as the boarding party realized I was not consuming the inspection was over, no check of registration, papers, safety gear, anything. Since I saw the light and switched to sail I have been ignored by them, and I do not recall other sailors getting safety inspections (maybe they do have good taste!)
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