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  #11  
Old 12-14-2006
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I really shouldn't be addressing a thread that is long dead...but

Poopdeckpappy-

I doubt that boats are not covered due to a loophole. Searches of cars are covered by the fourth amendment, as are houses and apartments and mobile homes. A boat can just as easily be a conveyance as it is a residence, and as either, it is protected from unreasonable search and seizure. Likewise, activities taking place within the confines of a boat are considered private. For instance, you can smoke in a no-smoking town or city limits within the confines of your own home...and you could do the same in the cabin of a boat.

Unless you give the police/LEO consent, they can board and search your vessel, but would have a hard time using it in court against you. The only area where this is probably not true is in the case of the coast guard and enforcing the legal equipment requirements, which they do have the right to do at any time. But I do not believe that the enforcement of legally required safety equipment allows the USCG to search your boat without your permission.

Also, be aware that submitting to a search and consenting to a search are different under the law. This came up with respect to the searches of NYC MTA riders. If you consent to a search, you effectively give up all of your fourth amendment protections, where if you submit to a search, but do not consent, you do not. The difference is huge. In the first case, they LEO can use anything and everything they find against you in a court of law.... in the second, they would have to prove that any evidence of illegal activity they find was legally obtained, and have a serious risk of having anything they find from the search being thrown out as the result of an unconstitutional search.
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  #12  
Old 12-14-2006
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SD...sorry but boats may be boarded and searched without a warrant and without cause. They are treatred entirely differently than cars, houses or R/V's. Your permission is not required and anything found can and will be held against you. Supreme court ruling long ago.
This applies to COAST GUARD ....not sure if local/state has same authority but I doubt it. Sooo....the locals call the Coasties and you are toast!
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  #13  
Old 12-14-2006
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I guess that was my understanding too, Cam. Difference being if you are out at sea beyond Line of Control. International Waters is totally different, I believe.
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Old 12-14-2006
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Boaters in Narragansett Bay, or anywhere within the 3 mile offshore limit, can be boarded at anytime - without consent - by RI CRMC & DEM (Dept of Environmental Management) enforcement officers. Their just cause could simply be to inspect onboard marine toilet containment and disposal sytems for compliance with the no-discharge laws. If the boat owner refuses to comply, his boat could then be impounded.
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Old 12-14-2006
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This thread isn't about the government's power to search a boat. It's about the government's power to impound a boat. I know of no law that empowers the government to simply take your property away from you without having a legally sufficient reason for doing so, and without giving you due process of law (i.e., an opportunity to challenge the correctness of the government's action).

The original poster didn't tell us any of the facts surrounding the incident. Was his boat impounded because he left it unattended for months, and it was becoming a hazard to other boats or other property? Was it slowly taking on water and settling down on its lines, and perhaps creating a problem for the marina operator, who might have to raise it, clean up an environmental spill and dispose of it if it sank? Was it becoming a public nuisance? If that's true, then most would probably agree that someone ought to have a right to deal with it. But, if a sound boat in good repair that didn't present a risk to anyone was impounded without a legally sufficient reason, then the owner has every right to complain. It's too bad the original poster didn't tell us the facts. It might have been interesting.

If the government takes some action against you, such as searching or impounding your boat, it might be to your benefit to object to the action, verbally, but never, never use even the slightest force to resist or impede them in any way. The court might find that the government was wrong to impound your boat, but the same court might also incarcerate you for forcefully resisting the government. You're allowed to verbally object to what the government is doing, but you can't resist them with force.
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Old 12-14-2006
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In Florida search warrants are required to "legally" search for evidence within the scope of the warrant. Obviously law enforcement can abuse it's authority and search a car, boat, home but none of the evidence collected in the course of the illegal search is admissable in court. For non-judicial situations you're left to sue the agency for return of property. And never interfere with law enforcement regardless of whether you think the search is court ordered, you'll get arrested for a range of crimes and then there's that street justice you might experience before making it to jail.
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Old 12-14-2006
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CD...coast guard can legally board USA vessels inside our outside of international waters for any reason. Can't board foreign vessels in international waters.
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Old 12-14-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
I really shouldn't be addressing a thread that is long dead...but

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LMAO, I guess I should pay a little more attention to dates and/or read all the posts
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Old 12-14-2006
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Cam,

Re: Coast Guard, I would guess the Navy can too (or other armed forces).

But I have to say something (and call me nieve) but I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM ANY TIME THEY WANT TO COME ABOARD!! Come on!! I will get you a coke, coffe, sit down and take a load off. For those who complain about a CG boarding, let's see you complain when they have to risk their lives to save your butt out at sea.

Nah. Come on aboard. I have nothing to hide. Don't open up the trash though. Those really are dirty diapers.
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Old 12-14-2006
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CD...ditto that! They are there when we need them...hope they get some new boats that work too!!
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