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Old 13-06-2016, 17:58   #16
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Originally Posted by Jaguar2728 View Post
I was a fireman too (retired) and never herd of anything like this. In the interest of safety, if there was no immediate danger, best to have a knowledgeable operator on board to assist in the operation. Sounds like a case of small man syndrome.
International waters or inland?

International waters it's the USCG's call.

Inland, depends on state and local laws.
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Old 14-06-2016, 06:03   #17
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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No one but the USCG can remove you from a boat, and for that the commander has to determine that the vessel is manifestly unsafe for the voyage... It's a pretty high standard. So far as I know no other civil authority can terminate a voyage, though a police officer can arrest you, he can't remove non-arrested people.

A fireman? They don't have the legal authority to remove you from a burning building.
I'm not sure how being on the water impacts it but on land, the fire department is typically the highest level emergency service. It there is a burning truck they get to decide if the road is closed how to deploy resources, etc...

I believe it has to do with the assumption that they understand fire and explosions better than the other agencies.
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Old 14-06-2016, 06:11   #18
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Old 14-06-2016, 06:46   #19
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

Random guy, not in uniform, no credentials, but "says he's a fireman"

Can pack sand.
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Old 14-06-2016, 06:47   #20
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
International waters or inland?

International waters it's the USCG's call.

Inland, depends on state and local laws.
From my experience and research I think this is the correct answer. Offshore the USCG will have authority over any US boat. Otherwise you are dealing with state and local authorities and the laws will vary from place to place. What is the law in NH will almost certainly not be exactly the same in FL.
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Old 14-06-2016, 06:58   #21
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
It depends where you are, and as zee suggests, ultimately you have to cooperate or defy them. Here in Oz, and it may vary by State, it is an offense to not obey emergency personnel. I do not know what the procedures would be if one refused, nor whether the CG would forceably remove one, nor what "reasonable force" might be. Perhaps discretion is the better part of valor, but maybe not. Hmmmmmm.

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I have wondered about the case of the Westsail Satori. In the movie The Perfect Storm the boat was called Mistral and the captain represented as an arrogant drunk who was unable to deal with the storm. In real life the captain sounds like a very experience sailor who had thousands of miles single handed on his boat including managing weather as bad or worse than what he experienced where he encountered the storm.

One can never know for certain how he/she would handle a situation like this looking at it from the comfort of home. I like to think if I had been there and ordered to abandon ship by the USCG I would have allowed the crew to abandon if they were so inclined and told the CG to stuff it. If the boat sank and I drowned then it would have been moot. If the boat came through safely and in good condition (as it did and washed up sound and dry on a beach in MD) I think I would have had a pretty good case to argue the CG was wrong in ordering me to leave.

By the way, the author of the book the movie was based on never interviewed or spoke with the captain of the Satori before writing a very unflattering portrayal of him.
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Old 14-06-2016, 07:02   #22
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Random guy, not in uniform, no credentials, but "says he's a fireman"

Can pack sand.
Absolutely true...until something unexpected happens and then you are to blame since you ignored an official order.

Of course the gray area is the guy never identified himself as an official. Particularly if out of uniform, the first response should be to identify themselves.

I see two potential behind the scenes issues with this story (possibly a combination of both):
- The OP is downplaying the seriousness of the situation and while it turned out OK, he should have followed the orders. If it really was a nuisance grounding, I'm not clear why he got the family off the boat.
- The "fireman" got overly excited and should have spent more time assessing and possibly calling in assistance before calling for a complete abandonment of the ship. Given that a lot of fireman are volunteer, it's not overly surprising if he jumped the gun on that call.
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Old 14-06-2016, 07:39   #23
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
International waters or inland?

International waters it's the USCG's call.

Inland, depends on state and local laws.
You make it sound as if the USCG has no authority on inland waters.
I was boarded by the USCG on Lake Okeechobee in the middle of Florida.
Is that inland enough for you?
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Old 14-06-2016, 07:49   #24
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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You make it sound as if the USCG has no authority on inland waters.
I was boarded by the USCG on Lake Okeechobee in the middle of Florida.
Is that inland enough for you?
Perhaps just a better wording of the original comment. Offshore state and local will not have jurisdiction. Of course the USCG has authority over a US vessel offshore or inland.
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Old 14-06-2016, 08:29   #25
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

Of course a fireman can make you abandon you boat!


Who else knows as much about fire?
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Old 14-06-2016, 08:46   #26
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Of course a fireman can make you abandon you boat!


Who else knows as much about fire?
But, how much does your average firefighter (one does need to be PC in the terminology ) know about boats? Would they understand a boat might have diesel or gasoline on board, propane tanks, an enclosed space or other factors that could make a boat fire safer or usually more dangerous?
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Old 14-06-2016, 08:55   #27
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
You make it sound as if the USCG has no authority on inland waters.
I was boarded by the USCG on Lake Okeechobee in the middle of Florida.
Is that inland enough for you?

No not really inland enough. Lk Okeechobee is part of a canal that the USCG dredged and maintains so them having jurisdiction is no surprise. I haven't checked the charts, it may be international waters depending on where the demarcation lines were drawn although I would guess it was inland.

I was actually thinking of which side of the local demarcation line one was on. Although on further consideration anywhere close to a municipality, even in international waters, it can be very fuzzy how much power the locals have. I know that Lk Washington near Seattle is International waters but the local fuzz exercise jurisdiction.


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Old 14-06-2016, 09:04   #28
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

Firemen when responding to an emergency carry police powers and can enforce laws and write citations. If in their judgement (here is where it is problematic), they deem safety requires a specific act, they have the power to enforce law or actions.
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Old 14-06-2016, 09:33   #29
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Of course a fireman can make you abandon you boat!


Who else knows as much about fire?
Well apparently this idiot didn't because he was worried about what a fire on a sailboat that had a gentle grounding?

At least in the states the USCG has the ability to declare a ship 'manafestly unsafe' for the voyage, which means you cannot leave the dock or must return immediatly under penalty of law. Then they have to give a list of corrective action to the captain to make the vessel hit a minimum safety standard.

To my knowledge no other governmental agency in the US can declair a voyage over.

As an example, if the local sherif finds you out without a lifejacket on the boat they can write you a ticket. But they cannot make you return to shore. However if you refuse to return to shore they could arrest you (life jacket violations are arrest able most places).

A fireman may have very limited authority to declare an area off limits while fighting a fire, but they certainly do not have the power to unilaterally arrest a vessel and send it back to port. Even the Federal Marshals require a court order to do this.
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Old 14-06-2016, 09:35   #30
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Re: Can a fireman force you to abandon your boat?

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Of course a fireman can make you abandon you boat!


Who else knows as much about fire?
I feel I need to say this - it was a joke. Guess it went wrong.
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