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Old 27-01-2014, 09:55   #16
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
Most companies put a proviso in their contract that you have to submit to a UA at any time they request. No probably cause needed. The US govt. has gotten the insurance companies to do their dirty work. Some companies even require blood and or hair submissions to be tested. It's a brave new world!
The question wasn't to fulfil a contractural agreement. Out of the blue would you say no problem let me pee in that bottle for you or would you feel somewhat offended and say unless you have grounds forget it.
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Old 27-01-2014, 10:00   #17
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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Now back to the land and search warrant. Yes, you can say no just as you can on a car. But if they have cause to be there, then they'll get the warrant and do it. If you have nothing to hide still better to cooperate. Hopefully, when they leave they'll be apologizing for inconveniencing you. Now if you do have something to hide it's definitely a different story.
I really don't want to drag this into a land based "guns, anchor, constitution" argument type thread.

That being said you can let people search over turn your house, disorient your life, and disturb your family all you want. For me unless you have a warrant I will not entertain people that just want to dig for stuff on a hunch.

If they have something to go on they can get a warrant but if it is just a hunch they won't get one. In the mean time I don't have anything to hide but I will NOT be a surf, minion, or subject for some leo to harass as they see pleased.

Now back to the aquatic side. Now that I know how the game is played I have no problem with them searching my boat because I now understand that if I choose to have a boat on the ocean those are the guide lines I have to follow. I may not like it but it is my choice to be on the water or not be on the water. (at this point I would normally make a very inappropriate joke about leaving disturbing items else where and not taking them on board but I will refrain due to this being a public forum and the fact that a lot of people wouldn't get that I was joking. )
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Old 27-01-2014, 11:03   #18
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

I am highly offended that I am required to pee in a bottle for no other reason than a request. I am also practical, and I know as long as I work for the "other guy" I have to submit to this demeaning behavior. When I no longer accept wages from someone else then I can say "No Thank you".
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Old 27-01-2014, 14:01   #19
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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I am of the opinion that unless you can prove or even suspect that I have a gun in the safe, or I am breaking some laws, leave it alone, get off my boat and bugger off.
In which case your attitude has probably now annoyed them just enough that, instead of the casual safety inspection they WERE going to do, you are going to get the "full treatment." That will certainly include forcing the safe open if you are unwilling to open it yourself. And if you decide to get a lawyer and sue them later on, the courts will laugh at you, as you have absolutely no case.

I don't like the fact that the CG can board any vessel in U.S. waters and search it, without warrant, and with no need for probable cause. For now, though, that is the law. I regularly encourage my representatives to change this, but so far no luck. In the meantime, it is what it is. Getting pissy with the CG officers because you don't like the law is going to be nothing but counter-productive--that is, unless you LIKE the prospect of being handcuffed, face-down on your deck.

As for an employer asking you to pee in a bottle for them, you basically have two choices: 1) pee in the bottle, or 2) find a new job. There may be states where the employer would be prohibited by law from firing you for refusing to take the drug test, but I don't know of any, and there surely aren't many of them.
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Old 27-01-2014, 14:12   #20
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

Listen to what you/we are saying here. Its the big brother thing. Heavens forgive me if I should annoy the authorities who are paid by our taxes and as a result get treated more harshly. I agree with you that it is what it is for now but venting the wrong makes me feel better. Getting back to the OP on this......yes sir, no sir follow the rules!!!

As a side note, I am an ex-police officer and know that if given the authority it can get abused.
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Old 27-01-2014, 14:15   #21
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

I have been boarded by the Coast Guard, a LOT. Probably 30 or 40 times.

I used to be an avid striped bass fisherman and owned a 21' center console that I kept in the middle of the Chesapeake. In the early spring and late fall, one choice place to fish is the outflow of the nuke plant at Calvert Cliffs. After 911 you were guaranteed to be boarded and searched every time you showed up, even if you were on a first name basis with them, which I eventually was after being boarded so often. They were always, always professional and courteous. I was happy to know that they were there, doing their jobs regardless of my familiarity to them. Had a terrorist blown up the plant, not only would there have been a catastrophic nuclear accident in a hugely populated area, but I would have lost a great fishing spot.

The objection to their powers on principle and complaining energetically about it holds no water for me. If you don't like a law, take your indignation to your elected representatives.
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Old 27-01-2014, 14:19   #22
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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I have been boarded by the Coast Guard, a LOT. Probably 30 or 40 times.

I used to be an avid striped bass fisherman and owned a 21' center console that I kept in the middle of the Chesapeake. In the early spring and late fall, one choice place to fish is the outflow of the nuke plant at Calvert Cliffs. After 911 you were guaranteed to be boarded and searched every time you showed up, even if you were on a first name basis with them, which I eventually was after being boarded so often. They were always, always professional and courteous. I was happy to know that they were there, doing their jobs regardless of my familiarity to them. Had a terrorist blown up the plant, not only would there have been a catastrophic nuclear accident in a hugely populated area, but I would have lost a great fishing spot.

The objection to their powers on principle and complaining energetically about it holds no water for me. If you don't like a law, take your indignation to your elected representatives.
Being boarded and checked while near a nuk facility is far different than being boarded and checked bobbing around off shore somewhere.

I would still find it invasive and unnecessary to do it so many times.
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Old 27-01-2014, 14:29   #23
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

OP, this is for you.....or you can tell them to F@#% off

U.S. Coast Guard Boarding Policy
The U.S. Coast Guard is the primary maritime law enforcement agency in the United States.
Authority: Section 89 of Title 14 of the United States Code authorizes the Coast Guard to board vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. anytime upon the high seas and upon waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, to make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests.
What to expect: A uniformed CG boarding team will notify you that they are coming aboard to conduct a CG boarding. Like other law enforcement officers, they will be armed. Once on board they will conduct an initial safety inspection to identify any obvious safety hazards and to ensure the seaworthiness of your vessel. The boarding officer will then ask to see the vessel registration or documentation and proceed to inspect your vessel. The scope of the vessel inspection, during most boardings, is limited to determining the vessel's regulatory status (e.g., commercial, recreational, passenger, cargo, and/or fishing vessel) and checking for compliance with U.S. civil law applicable to vessels of that status. The CG may also enforce U.S. criminal law. The boarding officer will complete a Coast Guard boarding form and note any discrepancies. You will get a signed copy before they depart.
Report of Boarding: When a CG boarding officer issues you a boarding report, they will either issue a yellow copy, if no discrepancies were noted, or a white copy if there were. A white copy will indicate a warning or a notice of violation. The CG boarding officer should explain the procedures to follow in each case. In any event, those procedures are written on the reverse of the form. If you have any questions, ask the CG boarding officer or call the Coast Guard Customer Information Line at 800-368-5647.
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U.S. Law Enforcement
The U.S. Coast Guard may impose a civil penalty up to $1,000 for failure to comply with equipment requirements, for failure to report a boating accident, or for failure to comply with other federal regulations. Failure to comply with the Inland Navigation Rules Act of 1980 can result in a civil penalty of up to $5,000.
Improper use of a radiotelephone is a criminal offense. The use of obscene, indecent, or profane language during radio communications is punishable by a $10,000 fine, imprisonment for two years, or both. Other penalties exist for misuse of a radio, such as improper use of Channel 16 on a VHF radio.
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Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
Operating a boat while intoxicated became a federal offense on January 13, 1988. If the blood alcohol level is .10% (.08% in some states) or higher, violators are subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000, or a criminal penalty of up to $5,000, one year of imprisonment, or both.
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Negligent Operation
The Coast Guard may impose a civil penalty for Negligent or Grossly Negligent Operation of a vessel that endangers lives and/or property. Grossly Negligent Operation is a criminal offense with fines up to $5,000, imprisonment for one year, or both. Examples of Grossly Negligent Operation include:

- Operating a boat in a swimming area;
- Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Speeding near other boats or in dangerous waters;
- Hazardous waterskiing practices; and
- Bowriding, riding on seatback, riding on gunwale, riding on transom.

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Termination of Use
The Coast Guard can terminate a voyage if they feel a boat is being operated in an unsafe condition or if an especially hazardous condition exists. You may be directed to port or told to immediately correct the hazardous situation. Your voyage may be terminated if it is declared a "Manifestly Unsafe Voyage" - the catchall that can be used whenever the Coast Guard feels you are operating in an unsafe manner.
An operator who refuses to terminate the unsafe use of a vessel can be cited for failure to comply with the directions of a Coast Guard officer. Violators may be fined up to $1,000, imprisoned for one year, or both.
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Reporting Accidents
A formal report must be filed with the law enforcement authorities in the state where an accident occurred if more than $500 of damage is done, or a vessel is lost. You have 10 days to file a report.
In the case of fatal accidents, you must notify the authorities immediately. If a person has died or disappeared, you must provide officials with the following information:

- Date, time, and exact of the accident;
- Name of the person (or persons) involved;
- Number and name of the vessel; and
- Name and address of the owner and operator.




In an accident with injuries requiring more than first aid, a formal report must be filed within 48 hours.
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Rendering Assistance
The master of a vessel is obligated by law to provide assistance to any person in danger at sea. The master is subject to a fine and/or imprisonment for failure to do so. Many boaters refer to this great tradition as "The Law of the Sea."
In U.S. waters, the Federal Boating Safety Act of 1971 contains a "Good Samaritan" provision that states:

"Any person...who gratuitously and in good faith renders assistance at the scene of a vessel collision, accident, or other casualty without objection of any person assisted, shall not be held liable for any act or omission in providing or arranging salvage, towage, medical treatment, or other assistance where the assisting person acts as a ordinary, reasonable prudent man would have acted under the same or similar circumstances."
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Old 27-01-2014, 14:42   #24
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

mottseng: thank you for the info it is very informative. and as much as I may want to tell them off being against the entire principal of random boardings, I will gladly offer them a beer, a snack, and hand shake to make things go more smoothly.
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Old 27-01-2014, 14:46   #25
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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mottseng: thank you for the info it is very informative. and as much as I may want to tell them off being against the entire principal of random boardings, I will gladly offer them a beer, a snack, and hand shake to make things go more smoothly.
I respect that....happy sailing.
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Old 27-01-2014, 15:11   #26
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

Just so you know, I don't think they will accept your offerings. The last time I was boarded, I offered coffee to them and they politely refused. I suspect they have become more cautious since 911. I don't blame them.
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Old 27-01-2014, 15:15   #27
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

The actual text of the law (as opposed to the CG's interpretation thereof posted above) is in 14 USC 89:

Quote:
14 U.S. CODE § 89 - LAW ENFORCEMENT

(a) The Coast Guard may make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests upon the high seas and waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of laws of the United States. For such purposes, commissioned, warrant, and petty officers may at any time go on board of any vessel subject to the jurisdiction, or to the operation of any law, of the United States, address inquiries to those on board, examine the ship’s documents and papers, and examine, inspect, and search the vessel and use all necessary force to compel compliance. When from such inquiries, examination, inspection, or search it appears that a breach of the laws of the United States rendering a person liable to arrest is being, or has been committed, by any person, such person shall be arrested or, if escaping to shore, shall be immediately pursued and arrested on shore, or other lawful and appropriate action shall be taken; or, if it shall appear that a breach of the laws of the United States has been committed so as to render such vessel, or the merchandise, or any part thereof, on board of, or brought into the United States by, such vessel, liable to forfeiture, or so as to render such vessel liable to a fine or penalty and if necessary to secure such fine or penalty, such vessel or such merchandise, or both, shall be seized.
(b) The officers of the Coast Guard insofar as they are engaged, pursuant to the authority contained in this section, in enforcing any law of the United States shall:
(1) be deemed to be acting as agents of the particular executive department or independent establishment charged with the administration of the particular law; and
(2) be subject to all the rules and regulations promulgated by such department or independent establishment with respect to the enforcement of that law.
(c) The provisions of this section are in addition to any powers conferred by law upon such officers, and not in limitation of any powers conferred by law upon such officers, or any other officers of the United States.
Emphasis added to the points of the discussion.
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Old 27-01-2014, 15:51   #28
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

There is a fair amount of misinformation on this. As lawyers are wont to do, this is not legal advice and should not be taken for such.

It is fairly simple:

1. The USCG has the authority to board any US vessel anywhere in the world. It may do so to check for "administrative purposes", i.e. compliance with safety and documentation regulations. In general, the USCG may not conduct a full scale "search" of your boat without more. This authority has been upheld in court many times since about 1790. At this point, the 4th Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures does apply.

2. If the USCG, while boarding, observes illegal activity or has an articulable suspicion that something illegal is going on, they may expand their actions up to and including and full-scale search. Thus, if they see pot sitting on a table, observe the operator intoxicated, etc., they can search. Such a search requires the same standard as that needed for a search warrant. By virtue of being on the high seas, the USCG does not have to actually seek a warrant first.

3. There is a kicker and that is when the USCG is acting in its capacity of enforcing customs law. In that circumstance, they are the same as CPB agents. They may conduct "suspicionless", i.e. no warrant, probable cause or suspicion required, searches. This is supposed to only happen when crossing an international boarder, or within 100 miles of such a border. The courts have ruled that the government interest in safety and protection of the populace outweighs the expectation of privacy. So,, if you are reentering the US by boat, you could be subject to such a search. Presumably, if you have never left the country, the USCG would be limited to (1) above, not (3).

An interesting legal point, the ICW is within 100 miles of an international border, so in theory, you could be searched by the USCG in its Custom's capacity. I have looked for any cases that addressed this, but so far no have.
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Old 27-01-2014, 15:53   #29
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

Just as an addendum, the information comes for the US Code (cited here b others, the USCG Maritime Model Service Code and various court cases. I thought it too much to provide the specific cites, but they are not hard to find.
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Old 27-01-2014, 16:09   #30
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re: USCG Legal Search Question?

Thanks for the information Jay. Standard procedure to observe then approach aft. All good sailors should keep a 360 degree watch; you won't be surprised.
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