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Old 20-06-2011, 08:15   #1
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Question "Sanitizing" a previously-owned boat?

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?

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Old 20-06-2011, 08:30   #2
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Re: "Sanitizing" a previously-owned boat?

Good question. There is a local shrimper that lost his boat due to a crewman leving some seeds in a private crew locker. He was able to eventually, (after thousand of lawyer bucks), absolve himself, but he never got his boat back, (it was sold at Gov auction a few weeks after confiscation).

When I bought my boat, I removed everything from the interior, and wiped down with sanitizer solution, including bilge, and bulkhead compartments. It was a long hard job, but now I know where everything is, and in what condition, and that there are no surprises, like a third world pest, hidden in there.

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Old 20-06-2011, 09:01   #3
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Re: "Sanitizing" a previously-owned boat?

It might at least be worth the peace of mind....

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Old 01-07-2011, 05:25   #4
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Re: "Sanitizing" a previously-owned boat?

Why not contact your local PD and talk to the drug dog guys and explain. might be a good training exercise for fido. And for the record I read the story about the previous crew and still didn't think of the sanitizing issue and thanks for the idea.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:35   #5
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Re: "Sanitizing" a previously-owned boat?

Just for the record, I've never seen a drug dog being used around boats anywhere. I suspect that most dogs would not be naturally good around boats and the water, requiring special training. It is probably too much time, effort, and money to get many dogs like this, so I suspect that even in the US there are only a handful, and they are probably used for much bigger fry, like container ships and passenger ships. Makes sense to concentrate your limited resources where they will do the most good. Many other countries around the world just don't have the resources. It's usually best to clear in and out of some small port that is used by cruising boats and unless you look suspicious yourself it is usually very perfunctory. A lot of the time it all happens well away from your boat, often inland in town somewhere, and nobody even glances at it.
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:52   #6
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Re: "Sanitizing" a previously-owned boat?

Don't know why a dogs nose would quit working while on a boat. It didn't bother the dogs down in the Keys and it doesn't bother my wife's chihuahua, at least I guess it's his nose that will detect a boat over the horizon
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:07   #7
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Re: "Sanitizing" a previously-owned boat?

when in sin diego, uscg boarded me for no reason as i was moored-- apparently someone called in a complaint on 5 neighbors because of his terminal boredom , and they DID bring a sniffy dog on board-- really disrupted my cat--- so there HAVE been incidents of dog aboard in usa waters--
did save me the price of hiring a sniffy dog to go thru my boat--was gonna be 250 dollars..LOL
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:46   #8
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Re: "Sanitizing" a previously-owned boat?

Hmmm I never ever thought of that naive by nature I guess
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:50   #9
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Re: "Sanitizing" a previously-owned boat?

Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Just for the record, I've never seen a drug dog being used around boats anywhere.
Got boarded by a drug dog when we cleared into Australia. The mutt hadd tiny little leather shoes on so he didn't scratch the boat!

Very cute puppy.

The guys with the dog said that most often when the dog gets a sniff on a 'nice' boat its on the bathroom door. When visitors come aboard and have a drink etc, they may have been smoking before arriving, and when going to the heads they may leave a trace on the door.

Something else to watch out for: Don't have drugo's on board.


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