Let's assume that you want to buy a previously-owned boat for cruising, say, from the western US around the Pacific. You'll want to get it USCG documented (probably) for clearing foreign customs
, but besides your papers, how do you make sure that the rest of the boat is in order? Specifically, what if the previous owners, or their kids
, or a weekend renter, or another owner years ago stashed some contraband - a little baggie of weed or something relatively innocuous - somewhere? You or a surveyor
might never find something like that, but a drug dog would before it even got on the boat, and the international language of customs
officials does not include the term "benefit of the doubt". Are there private services that offer to screen
boats? Could you ask the USCG to bring a drug dog through as you take ownership
, and would you be reasonably safe from prosecution if they found some old dried-out stuff tucked behind a bulkhead cushion or something?
A few months ago on this forum (not this legal
one specifically, but one of the cruise
notes forums) I read a story which included a nasty malingering crew member
who, upon being fired and returned to port, left a going-away present for her erstwhile hosts
Luckily, they found it and splashed it before making any other ports
. That got me thinking... clearly, they'd have been hosed if it had been found before they found it, and would have been lucky to _just_ lose their boat. How could one be sure that a boat that was recently acquired from someone who is essentially a stranger is clean?