Rights during USCG Inspection. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 208 Old 07-21-2015 Thread Starter
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Rights during USCG Inspection.

What are our rights during a Coast Guard Inspection? The USCG has the right to stop, board, inspect and make inquiries under 14 US sec 89.

But what are our rights? During my last inspection, I asked if I could take a picture of them, and they said "no." But, it seems I have a First Amendment right to video the entire thing.

1. Do I have the right to remain silent?

2. Do I have the right to refuse to show ID or identify myself? In other cases involving safety inspections, I believe that a citizen does not have to show ID unless reasonably suspected of a crime.

3. Do I have a right to just do nothing? Let's say I am at anchor taking a nap. Can I just say "inspect away, I am sleeping?"

Now, for you moderators wishing to call this a political discussion, I am not asking what the law should be or to discuss what we don't like about it. I would like to discuss the current state of the law and our rights.

On Lake Michigan, getting boarded is pretty much an annual thing. They ask for an ID, ask who owns the vessel, and they want to see the safety equipment. I can't ever remember being short anything required.
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post #2 of 208 Old 07-21-2015
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Re: Rights during USCG Inspection.

Nevertheless, you are going to get a ton of freedom pounding, uneducated 4th amendment waiving replies.

The bottom line is, you are asking about maritime law and the USCG's authority, not opinion. I hope it stays on that track, as I would like to see some posted or linked reference to anyone's response to your questions.


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post #3 of 208 Old 07-21-2015
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Re: Rights during USCG Inspection.

You do have the right to remain silent,You must show ID's. You will follow all orders!...Dale

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post #4 of 208 Old 07-21-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Rights during USCG Inspection.

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Originally Posted by Lake Superior Sailor View Post
You do have the right to remain silent,You must show ID's. You will follow all orders!...Dale
If I must follow all orders, then I have no rights.
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post #5 of 208 Old 07-21-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Rights during USCG Inspection.

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Nevertheless, you are going to get a ton of freedom pounding, uneducated 4th amendment waiving replies.

The bottom line is, you are asking about maritime law and the USCG's authority, not opinion. I hope it stays on that track, as I would like to see some posted or linked reference to anyone's response to your questions.
Why do you characterize them as "uneducated?" We could have a discussion of the propriety of 14 USC 89 that could be quite educated. But here, I am just wishing to discuss our actual rights.
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post #6 of 208 Old 07-21-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Rights during USCG Inspection.

Under Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., Humboldt Cty. 542 U.S. 177 (2004), a person only need identify themselves during a valid Terry stop - when there is reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.
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Re: Rights during USCG Inspection.

Patriot Act changed all that!...Dale
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post #8 of 208 Old 07-21-2015
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Re: Rights during USCG Inspection.

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If I must follow all orders, then I have no rights.
This is basically my understanding. You have no right of refusal.

The Coast Guard doesn't need probable cause, and failure to cooperate could result in your arrest and maybe even the confiscation of your vessel. " use all necessary force to compel compliance"

It seems pretty straightforward.

The Nevada case was on land and with local LEO's no?
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post #9 of 208 Old 07-21-2015
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Re: Rights during USCG Inspection.

Sure you have rights: You have the right to show your ID's.....Dale
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Re: Rights during USCG Inspection.

In addition to Coast Guard (who we have few of as we are up river), we have a lot of local LEO, I wonder what actual rights you have when approached by them. I would think they would need reasonable cause but they seem to operate as though they were the Coast Guard. Not really worried as they seem to mostly stop power boaters, especially when they have scantily clad women on board. But I do remember someone on the Hudson getting a "unsafe speed" ticket on a sail boat in Haverstraw Bay on the Hudson during a race. Pretty sure that was local police of some sort.
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