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Old 18-02-2014, 08:28   #46
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
Who said anything about getting high or hiding things you weren't supposed to have on board? My original post was what are the legal differences between land and sea when it comes to searches. Not how do I hide illegal substances.

Again the reason I asked was on land I know the L.E.O.'s can pound sand and not violate my privacy without a warrant or consent. On sea thanks to people replying I now know the laws are much much different.

To your point...the rules and laws should be the same and I wish they were. Laws reflect what changes there are in protecting society. Unfortunately those changes take some time to come about. Hopefully the laws will someday be changed. That usually happens when someone challenges it.
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Old 20-05-2014, 21:49   #47
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

ok with all of that answered, how about all the other LEO agencies that are on the water now, county sheriffs , local police. Do they have the same boarding rights?
Live and MI and sail often on Lake Erie well within the 100 miles on an international boarder.
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Old 20-05-2014, 21:59   #48
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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ok with all of that answered, how about all the other LEO agencies that are on the water now, county sheriffs , local police. Do they have the same boarding rights?
Live and MI and sail often on Lake Erie well within the 100 miles on an international boarder.
It varies by jurisdiction but in almost all cases they have the right to board to check safety equipment and compliance with safety and environmental rules. Beyond that they might need probable cause to do some things. If they don't have the rights to do all they want, they can generally get them quickly. Just like autos in that regard. Have you ever known someone to ask to search a car, be told no, and stop there. They'll look through the windows, check the passengers, find a legitimate offense that gives them rights, bring a dog to sniff. Best advice I can give is be legal in every way and cooperate.
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Old 20-05-2014, 22:04   #49
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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It varies by jurisdiction but in almost all cases they have the right to board to check safety equipment and compliance with safety and environmental rules. Beyond that they might need probable cause to do some things. If they don't have the rights to do all they want, they can generally get them quickly. Just like autos in that regard. Have you ever known someone to ask to search a car, be told no, and stop there. They'll look through the windows, check the passengers, find a legitimate offense that gives them rights, bring a dog to sniff. Best advice I can give is be legal in every way and cooperate.
--OR-- they'll just do it anyway and then lie about it later
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Old 20-05-2014, 22:19   #50
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

"The Coast Guard's current practice of boarding pleasure boats without probable cause for entirely different purposes is long overdue for a 4th Amendment challenge."

There have been many such challenges... all have failed. The Revenue Acts and the Federal control of waterways date to the constitutional period and have been upheld many times. They are, and always have been, the law of the land... nothing new here. What is 'new' is people living on recreational boats as their primary abodes. So, indeed,the times have changed but not the laws or their enforcement. I'm guessing it might take a constitutional amendment to extend the 4th amendment to boats as they are explicitly excluded and always have been. I'm not endorsing that, just pointing it out...
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Old 21-05-2014, 06:40   #51
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

I have a question, slightly off the OP's stated question about being in US waters.. Several people here have stated that the USCG has the authority to board US flagged vessels "Anywhere, anytime" etc.
However, examining the written regulations, it states that they have this authority in US waters or on the high seas. That is NOT "anywhere, any time", so does that mean the US version of jack booted thugs don't have the authority to board a boat without cause while it is in the water of another nation? NOT in US water and NOT on the high seas.
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Old 21-05-2014, 08:07   #52
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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I have a question, slightly off the OP's stated question about being in US waters.. Several people here have stated that the USCG has the authority to board US flagged vessels "Anywhere, anytime" etc.
However, examining the written regulations, it states that they have this authority in US waters or on the high seas. That is NOT "anywhere, any time", so does that mean the US version of jack booted thugs don't have the authority to board a boat without cause while it is in the water of another nation? NOT in US water and NOT on the high seas.
They can and do when working in cooperation with foreign governments. The USCG routinely operates this way in non-US territorial waters . . . lots of partnerships in the "war on drugs".
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Old 21-05-2014, 08:11   #53
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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...so does that mean the US version of jack booted thugs don't have the authority to board a boat without cause while it is in the water of another nation? NOT in US water and NOT on the high seas.
The Coasties I've met and known were anything BUT "jack booted thugs". Where do you get that crap?
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Old 21-05-2014, 08:26   #54
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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"The Coast Guard's current practice of boarding pleasure boats without probable cause for entirely different purposes is long overdue for a 4th Amendment challenge."

There have been many such challenges... all have failed. The Revenue Acts and the Federal control of waterways date to the constitutional period and have been upheld many times. They are, and always have been, the law of the land... nothing new here. What is 'new' is people living on recreational boats as their primary abodes. So, indeed,the times have changed but not the laws or their enforcement. I'm guessing it might take a constitutional amendment to extend the 4th amendment to boats as they are explicitly excluded and always have been. I'm not endorsing that, just pointing it out...

Specifically Excluded? I guess I must be reading a different fourth ammendment than you. I don't see boats mentioned at all. Boats are excluded by statute, not the constitution. As previously mentioned, the coast guard back then was in the business of tax collection, not safety inspections or other general law enforcement. This was also in the days of sailing vessels where it was not neccesarily practical to return to port, positively identify the vessel, or have instant communications with a court officer, etc. The USCG can easily and pretty much instantly determine if the boat is recreational or commercial. It can find out who owns it and it can pretty much track you anywhere. It can virtually instantly tell if your documentation is up to date, all without boarding. I really don't see any reason for conducting suspicionless boardings in this day and age. I agree it's about we time to change the law. One issue with local LEOs is that under the "patriot act" many local LEOs were deputized as auxillary USCG personnel (not to be confused with the Coast Guard Auxillary) and have the same boarding rights as the USCG.

I find it interesting that one branch of government can consider the boat my home (IRS) yet another branch refuses to recognize that as a fact.
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Old 21-05-2014, 08:38   #55
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

I have been boarded several times and was asked "do i consider any part of vessel to be off limits for a search"? I assume asking if i consider vessel my home for fourth amendment reasons though not stated that way. Ive been curious about it but numerous google searches turn up nothing on their asking that specific question. I always answer in negative thpugh. No place off limits. Florida says ypu cam file declaration of domicile on vessel. Never known anyone to do it though.

Oh the coast guard stories i could tell,....smiles

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Old 21-05-2014, 08:58   #56
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

I've been stopped, searched, or even approached. It makes me wonder why so many people report being stopped many many times.
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Old 21-05-2014, 09:24   #57
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

The vast majority of the time they're courteous and just doing their job. Like anything, those of us who are law abiding in every way have to be put through a little aggravation due to those who aren't. But one day it's them sending an improperly and under equipped boat back to port to get equipped before going out to sea. Another day it's drunken operators although that tends to be more local enforcement. And then there's the boat they track until it reaches shore and they start unloading all the drugs. Most of all though it's the rescues at sea that take place. While it's not the same individuals, I do think when I see them that these are the guys who just rescued the sailboat off the coast and the other boat somewhere else and the other sailboat in the gulf.

They are certainly not perfect, but neither are any of us. I have no reason not to give them access. I know they can search. Although you shouldn't have to, I do actually make all new guests read the rules of the boat, mostly helpful information. But it also states very clearly that they are not under any conditions to carry anything illegal aboard as they are subject to search and arrest.
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Old 21-05-2014, 09:30   #58
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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I've been stopped, searched, or even approached. It makes me wonder why so many people report being stopped many many times.
Am I close in thinking that you left out a "Not" somewhere in your first sentence?

We've been stopped by the CG only once in 35 years sailing here. It was "practice Monday" for the teenaged crew. I taught them more about their own regs than they knew.

Stopped once more by local LEOs a few years ago. Once we said "Sure, c'mon aboard" they asked for our drivers' licenses and said "have a nice day!" California crap...

However, I have heard from friends and read stories here and on other boating forums about the "potty police" and incessant boardings that make my head spin.

It happens, even if it doesn't happen to you.
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Old 21-05-2014, 09:31   #59
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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I find it interesting that one branch of government can consider the boat my home (IRS) yet another branch refuses to recognize that as a fact.
It does seem more than a little bit inconsistent, doesn't it?
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Old 21-05-2014, 10:03   #60
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Re: USCG Legal Search Question?

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It does seem more than a little bit inconsistent, doesn't it?
The IRS seldom accepts the interpretation of other agencies on anything. Residency and domicile being a prime example of an area they are very specific in and differ from many agencies. Of course no two states agree either. Always interesting when someone finds two states fighting over which one they reside in. Just like a boat I knew that had registrations in three different states in one year.
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