R.C.M.P. boardings in British Columbia - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-02-2009
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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told by one of the officers that in the past there was a "soft" enforcement in effect but now, if they find two items out of date or missing, you can expect some hefty fines.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..
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Old 06-02-2009
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Old 06-02-2009
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Old 06-03-2009
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I have no problem with being boarded for a safety check. In fact I have even volunteered my Bertram so that a new OPP officer could be shown how it's done. But that said, a 20' Bertram is not a home.

On the enforcement side, it's a cash grab. On Georgian Bay, they guarantee you'll pay any fines by setting court dates for the middle of January in Parry Sound for those foolish enough to contest the ticket. And if it was alcohol related they (OPP) take your drivers license on the spot.
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Old 06-03-2009
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The horses those mounties ride must be in really good shape from all that swimming....

Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Old 06-03-2009
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Everyone knows the RCMP doing the boat inspections ride seahorses...
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Originally Posted by astraeus View Post
The horses those mounties ride must be in really good shape from all that swimming....

Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Old 06-03-2009
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Throughout each summer, my boat is my home, and it doesn't bother me if the coasties want to do a safety check or look through it. They're polite, the amount of time taken is nominal, they don't do it often, and I never have contraband in it, but if they find contraband on someone else's boat, it's OK with me if they find it. I'm not looking for a reason to sue anyone or to take their home and pension. The intrusion might seem a big deal to some people, but not to me. A week ago, I was stopped in a DUI roadblock while driving my car. The stop was brief, the officer was pleasant, I wasn't tested, even though I had alcohol on my breath because of a drink with dinner. Maybe some drunk was prevented from hurting others that night. I hope so. It's all in how you look at it.
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Old 06-03-2009
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We were stopped by an marine RCMP officer in a RIB a couple of summers ago - he was mainly doing a PFD check... This was probably the only time in over 20 yrs we were out of compliance - we had some unexpected guests for a daysail who had not brought their own PFDs as we requested, and so we were a couple short. I rather sheepishly explained the situation and was fortunately let off with a warning.

We immediately purchased a couple of guest PFDs to have on board at all times. I have no problem with these types of checks - it seems to me that only those with something to hide would have a problem.

And in the past 28 years on this coast that was the first and only time we'd been checked by anyone (police or coasties) while sailing.
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Old 06-03-2009
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There's been a BC liveaboard in the news lately:


Quote:
A sailor anchored outside Jericho Beach in Vancouver, allegedly painted Nazi symbols on his boat to protest the city's efforts to force him to relocate. May 29th, 2009.
Maybe the attention he's drawing to liveaboards is leading to the extra police interest?

Tim
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Old 06-03-2009
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I guess everything is relative... I always find Canadian law enforcement a polite, refreshing breath of fresh air after (or before) dealing with US Customs and Border Protection. It's like a whole other world up there. I'd tell you to be grateful but if all that paranoid, wannabe tough-guy stuff is drifting north and infecting the RCMP and CBSA, I can only apologize and sympathize.

The silly thing is that all the attitude and aggression not only annoys people, but also makes a mockery of the actual security at the border. We got our usual chilly reception coming back from Canada last summer through the San Juans and when it was done, all I could think was, "What do you have to act so tough about? You couldn't even find the case of whisky in the quarter-berth!" It's more sad than intimidating... a lot of puffery from a few people who are pretty incompetent. I think it probably encourages, rather than deters, our real enemies, and just ticks off our friends and fellow citizens.
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