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Old 03-05-2013, 12:41   #16
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

once someone moves onto a boat, which is not protected under the 4th amendment, nor is right to privacy any longer ours--there are more than one inalienable right we waive due to our choice of mobile residences which are not covered under constitution , but under maritime law, as i was advised.

state constitutions have nada to do with federal law. feds rule over state until a cessation of that state from the union is declared
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Old 03-05-2013, 14:59   #17
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

I think this is a topic that should be front & center & of interest to all boaters, in the last few years random boardings without cause has become an epidemic and extreme PITA to all boaters. Being a long term recreational boater of 40+ years I have seen a lot of negative changes but this practice of being randomly boarded by anyone wearing a hat is dangerous, unnecessary and has to stop. Firstly I would like to say I admire and have the greatest respect for the US Coast Guard, there may be the odd officer who is full of himself but on the whole I have always found them to be very professional, helpful and a friend of the recreational boaters "who take boating seriously". In the old days they never wrote tickets, I don't even know if they could, those that were found 10 miles off shore in a tin fishing boat with no life preservers and the like, got a severe brow beating and their ass kicked all the way back to the port. On this basis, I do not begrudge them the ability to randomly board my vessel to check if I have the proper equipment in good working order, it's no big change, they have had this ability as long as I've been boating. I might add, that in all the thousands of miles and years on the water I've only been stopped twice by the Coast Guard. Once random and once when they went looking for me after failing to check in on a float plan, in both cases they did not board but instructed me from their boat on the error of my ways. I have never looked at them as some sort of police, I see them simply as the Coast Guard, fellow boaters, there to help if I ever need it.

What I do take exception to is the local police, State police, game wardens, customs officials and god knows who else pulling me over for no bloody reason whatsoever other than to massage their egos or in the hope they can ruin my day by catching me with a banana daiquiri in my hand. They are out on the water under the guise of education and safety but all I ever see them do is sit in their very expensive boats, write tickets and pretend to be checking equipment for which they know absolutely nothing about. Why do we need 5 or 6 layers of government bureaucrats all fully equipped with the latest toys and all supposedly doing the same job? In my opinion all the "billions" of tax payers dollars that are spent on these groups and their expensive boats and other gear should be given over to the Coast Guard and make them the sole organization overseeing the nation's waterways. Afterall they are already highly skilled & trained, they already have the proper boats infrastructure and equipment and with the billions saved by kicking the Coast Guard wannabe's off the water they could be given the funding needed to do the "whole" job.

Then there is the other connected issue of every village, city, county and state making bylaws, regulations, certifications, licensing and other bureaucratic red tape by the bucket full, many contradicting each other. It's at the point where one needs to have a lawyer on board to go from point A to B, but I doubt they can even make sense of it all.

I doubt my opinion will be popular but the underlying point is that all of us boaters should get engaged in this topic as it effects all of us for good or bad. Lets pass the joy and freedom we feel while boating on to our grandchildren, the article referenced in this thread not only proves we can stop the nonsense but actually reverse it. Personally for my part I'm going to write the worst offender, Florida and ask them to consider this bill passed by Michigan and Ohio.
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Old 03-05-2013, 15:17   #18
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

Krawdad, Good luck. Unfortunately the boating community as a whole has the reputation for being a bunch of complainers but when the chips are down, wait for someone else to take up the cause. Then we wonder why we always get crapped all over. BoatUS took up some of the banners but the boating community as a whole don't do a lot to help their own plight. Sorry if this offends some, but the facts are the facts. Chuck
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Old 03-05-2013, 15:57   #19
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

There's more than the sanctity of the constitution's protection of individual rights here.

The matter of evidence obtained in an illegal search is at issue and the states are realizing that today's violation for an undercharged extinguisher can be dismissed for constitutional reasons.

So too, can the arrest of a drug dealer who "
happens" to be caught with drugs while stopped for no good reason.

The judge is doing the police a favor by indicating that certain actions are unconstitutional and would most certainly cause to have otherwise good convictions thrown out.

I'm willing to bet the judge would personally prefer . . . especially the way things are right now . . . that the stops and searches would continue.
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Old 03-05-2013, 16:02   #20
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

I don't think most of us have questioned whether the Coast Gaurd has the aurthority to stop and board boats. But we question whether that extends to other Homeland Sercuity people now.


The question has always been whether all the state and local "forces" could also do so. Maybe now that some states have ruled it doesn't maybe it will spread.
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Old 03-05-2013, 16:48   #21
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

waterwayguy-
It doesn't matter if state courts rule on this. State courts do not have authority over federal matters. Their rulings will apply only to non-navigable waters, as defined by federal law, where the USCG has no jurisdiction anyway.
The boardings have been ruled legal by the federal courts, and while some of us think the courts are grossly in error, that's the current law and it isn't going to be changed by any states unless they bring a federal suit and a USSC ruling. Ain't gonna happen.
Now, since a boat is pretty much the same as a horse carriage, and the fourth amendment was written to prohibit the king's soldiers from searching private carriages (sometimes carrying damned colonial rebels and their papers) even while on the King's Highway...it should be real damn obvious that searching boats or cars without want or warrant is grossly unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the courts have found weasel words to declare that legal, and by definition, what they say goes.
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Old 03-05-2013, 18:50   #22
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

If it's really about "safety", they should simply announce before boarding that it is a safety inspection and at that point they give up thier police powers and anything they see is inadmissable in court and all items they find should be warnings with the option for the boater to correct them in a reasonable time period.

Of course if it's just fishing for violations with no probably cause, it clearly goes against the purpose of the 4th amendment (regardless of what the court says).
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Old 03-05-2013, 19:21   #23
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

In the pre-9/11 days the fact was that only the USCG and Customs and border patrol could board your boat without a warrant or probable cause. After 9/11 Congress passed the "Patriot Act". One of the lttle known provisions of that act was that the the USCG could delegate it's police powers to local LEOs, which they have done. Local LEOs with this power are supposed to be "deputized" USCG officers. I'm not sure exactly what that entails, but it would seem to me that they would be required to carry some sort of USCG credentials. I was approached 5 miles off the coast of Georgia about 5 years ago by a GA marine patrol officer who want to board my boat. I told him I was outside of GA waters and would not be entering GA waters so he was out of his jurisdiction. He went away without boarding my boat. If he was a deputized USCG officer I would assume he would have pressed the issue, which he did not.
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Old 03-05-2013, 19:26   #24
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
once someone moves onto a boat, which is not protected under the 4th amendment, nor is right to privacy any longer ours--there are more than one inalienable right we waive due to our choice of mobile residences which are not covered under constitution , but under maritime law, as i was advised.

state constitutions have nada to do with federal law. feds rule over state until a cessation of that state from the union is declared
Did they repeal the tenth?
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Old 03-05-2013, 19:37   #25
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

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Did they repeal the tenth?
Not repealed, just ignored all too often.
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Old 03-05-2013, 19:50   #26
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

Let's keep in mind that the USCG has had this authority in one way or another since 1790 and the Republic has survived. Can it be abused? Misused? Sure, as with anything that involves people there can be overzealous boarding teams, poorly trained boarding officers, etc. But by and large the CG has managed to maintain some semblance of balance. If it hadn't, the courts would have reined them in by now.

An excellent (if technical) discussion of the CG' authority can be found in: http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/vi...9&context=wmlr (alittle dated but still relevant).

I would also point out that the CG still teaches Alexander Hamilton's orders to the officers of the Revenue Cutter Service: "They will always keep in mind that their countrymen are freemen, and, as such, are impatient of everything that bears the least mark of a domineering spirit. They will, therefore, refrain, with the most guarded circumspection, from whatever has the semblance of haughtiness, rudeness, or insult. If obstacles occur, they will remember that they are under the particular protection of the laws and that they can meet with nothing disagreeable in the execution of their duty which these will not severely reprehend. This reflection, and a regard to the good of the service, will prevent, at all times a spirit of irritation or resentment. They will endeavor to overcome difficulties, if any are experienced, by a cool and temperate perseverance in their duty--by address and moderation, rather than by vehemence or violence. The former style of conduct will recommend them to the particular approbation of the President of the United States, while the reverse of it--even a single instance of outrage or intemperate or improper treatment of any person with whom they have anything to do, in the course of their duty, will meet with his pointed displeasure, and will be attended with correspondent consequences."
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Old 03-05-2013, 20:14   #27
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Let's keep in mind that the USCG has had this authority in one way or another since 1790 and the Republic has survived. Can it be abused? Misused? Sure, as with anything that involves people there can be overzealous boarding teams, poorly trained boarding officers, etc. But by and large the CG has managed to maintain some semblance of balance. If it hadn't, the courts would have reined them in by now.

An excellent (if technical) discussion of the CG' authority can be found in: http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/vi...9&context=wmlr (alittle dated but still relevant).

I would also point out that the CG still teaches Alexander Hamilton's orders to the officers of the Revenue Cutter Service: "They will always keep in mind that their countrymen are freemen, and, as such, are impatient of everything that bears the least mark of a domineering spirit. They will, therefore, refrain, with the most guarded circumspection, from whatever has the semblance of haughtiness, rudeness, or insult. If obstacles occur, they will remember that they are under the particular protection of the laws and that they can meet with nothing disagreeable in the execution of their duty which these will not severely reprehend. This reflection, and a regard to the good of the service, will prevent, at all times a spirit of irritation or resentment. They will endeavor to overcome difficulties, if any are experienced, by a cool and temperate perseverance in their duty--by address and moderation, rather than by vehemence or violence. The former style of conduct will recommend them to the particular approbation of the President of the United States, while the reverse of it--even a single instance of outrage or intemperate or improper treatment of any person with whom they have anything to do, in the course of their duty, will meet with his pointed displeasure, and will be attended with correspondent consequences."

Outstanding second post!!!!

Well done sir.
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:10   #28
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

The easiest way to "fight da man" is to.........not give 'em the money to be a PITA.

Sounds like would need a tax strike to tackle federal forces - but locally it is just a case of budget cutting by paying lower local taxes. No money for sunny days afloat for local law enforcement = no problems.

Well, works over here.
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:57   #29
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All they need is probable cause,,,,they pretty much do what they want. Saying no or you need a warrant gives them probable cause thru suspicion.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:34   #30
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Re: Is random boarding of vessels unconstitutional?

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...But by and large the CG has managed to maintain some semblance of balance. If it hadn't, the courts would have reined them in by now.
The USCG is maintaining their balance mainly because of their tradition and experience in this area. The CG wannabees, however...

In this post-9/11 world, don't look to the courts to maintain balance. Gitmo, torture, renditions, airport security theatre, boat searches... the US has tilted away from freedom and towards security, and the courts seem to be complicit.

Now, if the US boating lobby had the clout of the NRA...
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