Re: rammed:by the customs & border patrol
I don't see any mention in the 4th amendment about boats. Boats have been a major vehicle of smuggling for centuries, and that hasn't changed. The 4th amendment only protects us from unreasonable searches. Considering the scope and extent of the risks, being boarded so the CG can have a look around isn't unreasonable. Especially since anyone can operate a recreational vessel. Those of us with CG licenses have had to undergo fingerprinting and pass a background check. The risk of a vessel being exploited for a terrorist attack is very real, and the impact to our economy would be immeasurable.
Try imagining what would happen to our economy if all inbound container ships were forbidden from approaching our coasts due to the practical impossibility of searching inside all those stacked containers -- after something bad came out of one of them shoreside. It's a real risk. I'm as Libertarian as anyone, but I also believe the US has a right to protect its borders, intercept terrorists, and curtail smuggling. Now imagine: along comes someone in their recreational boat, no license, no background check, no way for the Coast Guard to know if the people aboard are even sane: and the Coast Guard wanting to take a look at what's going on inside that boat seems reasonable to me.
I assure you that, if you get boarded, when they ask you for your ID ... and you hand them your Merchant Mariner Credential and your TSA background check card, they will treat you differently. Otherwise, they have no idea who you are and what you're up to out there. Want to be treated differently? Go get licensed.
It's a matter of balance - something that's in short supply in our culture. Compromise and moderation seem to be dead virtues, as I'm sure the flames I'm going to get will demonstrate.
Last edited by patrickbryant; 11-20-2012 at 01:11 AM.