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Old 19-08-2011, 07:05   #1
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Coast Guard Authority

I was wondering how far out does the Coast Guards Authority go? If I am traveling east and am 100 miles off shore do they have any rights under international law? Why are they able to cruise the lower Carribean and stop boats over 500 miles away? Does the United States have treaties with other countries?

Any one have any idea why they have so much power?
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Old 19-08-2011, 07:13   #2
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

So far as I know they only have the right to board US flagged vessels once outside the 12 mile limit. They intercepted me on way to Cuba, at night, were told it was Canadian boat, all Canadians on board and they just chatted a few minutes and left.
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Old 19-08-2011, 07:23   #3
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There are several countries that have given the US the authority to patrol and enforce laws in their waters. I don't know how to find out which countries, but it's usually the places where drug trafficking is a major problem (everywhere?) and the US likes to trade war machines and training for local authority privilaged.

Not sure about inter'ntl waters, but I'm sure it wouldn't be to hard to find some language somewhere that gives authority over 'suspect' craft and imminent dangers...

All it's takes is one or two stratigically placed words in the law for them to take advantage of...
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Old 19-08-2011, 07:47   #4
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

They have no 'rights under international law'.
However they might have legislation in the USA that allows them to board USA flagged vessels in International waters.

I can see that any country could board any of their own flagged vessels.

Callmecrazycookooanddingaling is apparently right that the USA has agreements with some other countries they are helping to control drugs. I think those are Columbia, Panama and other Caribbean countries.

If would be interesting (though I'm not from the USA) to get a link to what the USA legal position is.
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Old 19-08-2011, 07:51   #5
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

If the United States has a treaty with any given country, and they do with most, The Coast Guard can board a vessel anywhere flagged by that country. They have the authority to board any U.S. vessel anywhere. They can and do board any vessel regardless of treaty or location if they even perceive that you are heading for a U.S. port. And which of us is going to refuse an armed boarding party off a ship carrying a 57 MK110 deck gun. Chuck
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:01   #6
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

So might makes right is what everyone is saying. Doesn't make me happy or give me a warm fuzzy feeling at all.
The Coast guard is a military branch after all. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:01   #7
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

The USA legal position is very simple - "in the interests of National Security . . . " they will and do board boats anywhere they happen to be including a couple of years ago - 800 nm southwest of Panama.
- - Since you are dealing with the "800 lb gorilla" few if any countries turn down "invitations" for them to operate in their national waters. As mentioned "drugs" are now a major justification and if the little country can get the USA to pay for a significant portion of their own drug trafficking problems, so much the better.
- - Ideological discussions of whether boardings in "international waters" is legal are fine but in reality practically worthless. The "800 lb gorilla" is not going to be amused by your protestations of "rights" nor in the slightest way diverted if you want to board you.
- - Question - are in a financial position to pay for a protracted legal fight in an "international court?" If not then the process alluded to by Deepfrz is your best bet - friendly, folksy, and answer their questions fully and they will move on to others who are less friendly and/or indignant about their "rights."
- - In a sort of backhanded way, the stopping and searching of small yachts by the USCG is doing us a favor. It convinces the drug cartels that stealing/hijacking/whatever of small yachts is not a viable tactic for transporting drugs to the USA.
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:10   #8
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

The United States Coast Guard is the nation's leading maritime law enforcement agency and has broad, multi-faceted jurisdictional authority. The specific statutory authority for the Coast Guard Law Enforcement mission is given in 14 USC 2, "The Coast Guard shall enforce or assist in the enforcement of all applicable laws on, under and over the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States." In addition, 14 USC 89 provides the authority for U.S. Coast Guard active duty commissioned, warrant and petty officers to enforce applicable U.S. law. It authorizes Coast Guard personnel to enforce federal law on waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction and in international waters, as well as on all vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction (including U.S., foreign and stateless vessels).
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:25   #9
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

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So might makes right is what everyone is saying.
this shouldn't be anything new... it's really been the chief principle of civilization for ten thousand years. some don't like it, some really like it, most don't think about it. until the world is able to restructure itself, it is pretty much a case of "them's the breaks".

this is really a case of picking ones battles. out there in the middle of the ocean, being an innocent person, dealing with a government agency... it's best to have some humor about the situation and let them feel satisfied. in the grand scheme of things, they are just checking your vessel out and asking some questions. i don't like it anymore than the rest, but making a big scene way out there [win or lose] won't change anything.

all it takes is a mention of: protecting freedom, war on drugs, or national security... any of those buzzwords, and agencies generally get to do what they want.
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:29   #10
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

Swat team uniforms, shiny shoes, big guns, and a military mentality only serve to piss off the sailors of the world who are enjoying themselves out on the water.
The notion that the CG prevents drugs and terrorists from entering the USA is ludicrous.
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:38   #11
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

Does a countries sovereign fishing territory still extend 200 mile from their shore?

On another note: everyone bitches about the US Coast Guard until they really need them.
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:43   #12
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

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Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
The notion that the CG prevents drugs and terrorists from entering the USA is ludicrous.
I guess all those thousands of drug busts and confiscated drugs and weapons, some of which I participated in, are imaginary.
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:43   #13
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

i'm sure the CG has been responsible for catching it's fair share of drug traffic... terrorists i have no idea about. but it seems very unlikely that a lot of terrorists are caught by boat.

there is a local bar, the Black Duck, that is named after a rum running boat from the area. during the times of prohibition this boat would easily outrun local law enforcement and coast guard boats to make it's rum deliveries. and it wasn't even trying to be stealthy about it.

a quick story of the legend for those who are interested
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:43   #14
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

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Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
Swat team uniforms, shiny shoes, big guns, and a military mentality only serve to piss off the sailors of the world who are enjoying themselves out on the water.
The notion that the CG prevents drugs and terrorists from entering the USA is ludicrous.
Well go buy an RV.

I like the seas being safer than without them.
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Old 19-08-2011, 08:52   #15
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Re: Coast Guard Authority

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I guess all those thousands of drug busts and confiscated drugs and weapons, some of which I participated in, are imaginary.
No not imaginary at all but not really doing much beyond driving up the prices in the US and creating a profit source to finance criminal and terrorist groups overseas.

I have heard more than once (including from my own daughter when she was in high school) that it is easier to get drugs that alcohol. Even if that's not the case, there is no denying that drugs of all kinds are readily available in the US.
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