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  #11  
Old 11-05-2010
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Both accounts (sides) of the story seem just plain old WRONG. As others have pointed out...doesn't matter if the crew knew where the valves where, either they were or weren't secured. DOES matter that, what, armed LEO's just used SWAT tactics to board a moving vessel, in such a way that the deck crew didn't have time to call the owner up top before it happened?

Sounds like that Sheriff is covering up for some gung-hos that need to be gung ho'ed off his force and into a banana republic. I don't care if Admiral Nimitz is visiting from the dead, you start with "Heave to and prepare to be boarded" and "Permission to come aboard" or you can expect a hostile reception. F*ing cowboys in that county?

He wouldn't be the first Florida county Sheriff to leave office and put on a state-issued jumpsuit, there's definitely something wrong in this picture. With BOTH accounts of it.
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2010
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I posted a very long reply on AS with many of my very bad experiences with Florida there.

If I had not been the subject of many of their quota-meeters, I too would not have jumped in defense of this captain. But most of the cruisers I know feel just like what has been reported by this captain, myself, Vasco, Rich_h and Sailingfool.

Come on down. Give it a try. You will see and you will change your tune too. It is that bad down here and I question the legality of it. But that is kinda hard to do when tied up to a sherrifs boat and he is threatening to write a ticket... for something. Because belive me, somewhere, somehow, in someway, you broke a low at some point in Florida as a boater and you deserve to pay for it.

BTW - we have: The USCG patroliing (only nice ones, in general with some exceptions as I have met a few nice sherrifs), then the Sherrifs department has MANY boats, then the Florida Parks and Wildlife has their pull-over boats (almost seems like they outnumber the public's boats), then you have the municipalities patrol boats. They all like writing tickets - except for the USCG who have generally shown to be very thoughtful and mostly interested in your safety and the safety of your vessel - not meeting their quotas or a leaking head.

Brian
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  #13  
Old 11-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Both accounts (sides) of the story seem just plain old WRONG. As others have pointed out...doesn't matter if the crew knew where the valves where, either they were or weren't secured. DOES matter that, what, armed LEO's just used SWAT tactics to board a moving vessel, in such a way that the deck crew didn't have time to call the owner up top before it happened?

Sounds like that Sheriff is covering up for some gung-hos that need to be gung ho'ed off his force and into a banana republic. I don't care if Admiral Nimitz is visiting from the dead, you start with "Heave to and prepare to be boarded" and "Permission to come aboard" or you can expect a hostile reception. F*ing cowboys in that county?

He wouldn't be the first Florida county Sheriff to leave office and put on a state-issued jumpsuit, there's definitely something wrong in this picture. With BOTH accounts of it.
Let's forget the captains account and just take the Public Relations account: You just boarded a boat because you thought their head might be leaking (I mean, get serious... but whatever). Two people are in the cockpit. One screams down that there is law enforcement coming aboard. So you, as the officer, hear a drawer open below or some ruffling. So you jump down the hatch, pistol drawn? Give me a break!! I am not sure the United States Marines would jump down a hatch, single man, with a pistol, to take on the bad guys. You call them out above the boat and then send a team down to cover each other. You do it carefully and with precaution. Don't you see that?? You are an office rof the law - do you board a boat, most likely of normal looking people, then hear a drawer rattle down below then jump down to the guy cooking bacon and aim at him!??? No - something is very wrong with teir story too. You don't do a Superman. We are not talking about intelligence leading to Osama Bin Laden on a 50 foot Gulfstar which could not outrun a canoe. We are talking about them thinking a head might have pumped overboard!!!

This is NOT Iraq and it is not Halo. Their story stinks and the entire premise stinks. And again, remember that the rebuff was written by a Public Relations officer. You surely did not expect him to state: Yeah, we boarded the vessel because we thought they might have pumped overboard and we pulled a pistol and would have shot him at provocation... and if you don't like it, then you can go to jail. This is Florida... welcome.

Brian
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Last edited by Cruisingdad; 11-05-2010 at 03:30 PM.
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  #14  
Old 11-05-2010
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It sucks BUT welcome to standard powerboat treatment as the need for income rises
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  #15  
Old 11-05-2010
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Although I do not have a source to sight at the moment, one thing I remember from studying law enforcement in college is an alarming amount of officers who are killed are found with there gun still in their holster, often with evidence they tried to draw, but had not unbuttoned the strap. Police are trained when to loosen the gun in the holster, when to have their hand on the gun, and when to draw for very good reasons. Unfortunately, since a large percentage of the people they deal with are not a threat, they can get relaxed and that is when most officers get killed.

The police response stated that a man on deck was order to stay on deck, but failed to follow that order and went below. To me that is reason to draw your weapon. They do not know who these people are, what they have on board, or why this guy refused to follow the order. No one was shot, no one was hurt, personally I think people take to much offense when police put their hands on their guns or draw their weapons. "What know of person does he think I am?" is an argument I hear a lot, but the fact is he has know idea, and most people who do shot cops do not have a "I like to shot cops" tee shirt on.

They did not draw weapons because they thought there was a sewage discharge issue, they boarded to do an inspection, which included a discharge inspection as well as other checks I am sure, and drew weapons because someone disobeyed orders and went below.

All that said, I do not live in Florida, have never boated there, and have not had this type of boarding occur on my boat. I can understand that the LEOs are likely getting way over zealous as I have seen several reports here about situations that seem way over the top, but this does not seem like it was really all that out of line, except perhaps the boarding while underway. Even that I have mixed feelings about. I would like to have a "heave to and prepare to be boarded" notice, and a few minutes to stop the boat, however for other people that would be a few minutes to hide / dump all the illegal stuff they have on board. If you want to catch the guys breaking the law, you can't exactly just sit around patiently waiting for them to destroy the evidence first. However, I must admit that if I was boarded with no notice while underway, I may have other opinions.

One last minor point....

"a .45 caliber automatic weapon drawn and pointed at my chest" Handguns carried by police are not generally automatic weapons, so ether it was not an automatic weapon, or it was not a holster-able weapon, in which case it would logically be in his hands, or over his shoulder which would make it totally useless. The police report says "draw his duty weapon for officer safety purposes" so likely this was a handgun, and not an automatic. Minor point I know, if you are shot, it really does not matter if the gun was auto or semi-auto

Ok, one last last point...

"yet I was given a citation (under gunpoint) " Where they really still pointing guns at this point? That does seem way overboard if they where, or was this just for dramatic effect, because they had guns on them. I can not see them actually point a gun at him while handing over the ticket, but if they where, that's just nuts.
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  #16  
Old 11-05-2010
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First off, I agree that the actions of the LEO's as reported seemed to be heavy handed. They initiated the boarding not as a routine inspection but as an assault on a moving vessel. This left little room for escalation of authority short of actually letting rounds fly. Bad technique, bad decision, and bad control. Things went downhill from there.

However, I think many are missing the point. Although an MSD inspection was the stated proximate cause for the boarding, you've got to remember that that's the ONLY legally permissible reason for local LEO's to inspect a vessel with or without the owners consent. This is the nautical equivalent of pulling over an out-of-state car on the interstate just because the state trooper has a "feeling" that something's hinky. You think they pull over every car that's got a burned out bulb or drifts over the center line? Nope, only the ones they think may have more serious issues.

What we don't know from the narratives of those directly involved is what happened immediately prior to the boarding. Did they attempt to hail the vessel? Did they attempt to have the vessel heave to? Not sure. But if they did, and the vessel continued with actions to comply, then perhaps the LEOs considered that to be of itself a suspicious action that warranted the stormtrooper response. Don't know that either.

I agree with RichH's overall assessment of the mindset of some of today's LEO's. I think that the old motto "To Serve and Protect" has been largely forgotten, or taken to mean "To Serve my boss, and to Protect my paycheck." This is not a condemnation of LEO's as a whole, but of those who enthusiastically go out of their way to be a$$holes. I suspect that in large part, this is condoned or even encouraged by their chain of command.

Anyway, I find fault with both the Volusia County deputies and the vessel crew in the original post.
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  #17  
Old 11-05-2010
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The reply from the Sheriff's Office is sober and well-reasoned. I can also sympathize with the boat owner. The lesson I take away from this is that effective communications from the initial point of contact is absolutely vital when dealing with the authorities in a situation like this.
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  #18  
Old 11-05-2010
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My friends, I won't defend every bad act, but there are no atheists in a foxhole. When it is your life they are protecting, I'll bet you don't spit on them.

I argue you might all become jaded after having your life threatened multiple times this year, when you unknowingly approached someone with an outstanding warrant, recreational drugs in their possession or consuming alcohol on parole. Scared people to desperate things.
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Old 11-05-2010
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I also suspect the swift in-motion boardings are the result of people running below and shutting the valve as they see the approach. Asking permission to come aboard and check for flares and PFDs is not time critical.

If the violations stopped, I am certain they would move on.

Or vote for someone who will change the law and they will move on.
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  #20  
Old 11-05-2010
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I can clearly see both sides of the story, but have no respect the way they boarded the boat, discovered no leakage, but wrote a ticket anyway, allegedly under cover of a firearm. That's Nazi-like behavior.

Trust me, if something like that happened to me, I would make it my new hobby to make sure the Nazis were out of a job.

Haven't been boarded yet. Not looking forward to it. I have my boat in order, my little whistle around my neck, everything I can think off.

Note to Self: Never ever visit Florida waters.
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