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R.C.M.P. boardings in British Columbia
In the last few years, the RCMP in B.C. have started an aggressive policy of boardings and safety inspections. I have seen them go after every boat in sight. They can and will board your boat when your under way. Not always but someone gave them the legal right to do so. I have been approached twice in the last few years. Once at anchor and once underway (two weeks ago). Underway, they did not ask to board.. although they could have. It was a straightforward safety inspection and the guys were great. Friendly and obviously enjoying the day out on the water. My boat is always 100% in compliance with everything....
At anchor, they wanted to come aboard but I refused permission. Legally they need a search warrant as you are in your residence and when at a dock or anchor/mooring buoy... they have no right or permission to board your boat. The Mountie did not like being told he couldn't come aboard but a man's home is his castle and our charter of rights still has some effect.
The officer did, however, ask me if I was doing anything illegal "down there".
I didn't bother to reply. If I thought, for one second, that my charter of rights was being violated by this police officer, I would seek civil damages from that officer and go after his pension, house and bank account. It seems harsh but after 30 years of living aboard, I take my home privacy quite seriously. How would you feel in your house if the police could come into it anytime they wished. Not a good feeling.
I was told by one of the officers that in the past there was a "soft" enforcement in effect but now, if they find two items out of date or missing, you can expect some hefty fines. In the hundreds of dollars....
I feel this is waayyyyy too much policing. For whatever reason, we have to do what is being done south of the border but I certainly didn't expect Canada to turn into this type of police state. I believe the RCMP could be doing something far more useful than safety inspections at sea. As an ex cop, I hate to see aggressive, in your face tactics that are becoming the norm nowadays. I stopped going to the U.S. by sailboat years ago due to the relentless boardings. Now, the plague has come to Canada. Too bad.. George Orwell was right all along... Just a thought..