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Your Boat and the 4th Amendment . . .

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 0627Devildog, Sep 13, 2017.

?

Do the protections provided by the 4th Amendment apply to your boat?

  1. Of Course

  2. Nope

  3. Honestly not sure

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. 0627Devildog

    0627Devildog Jetboaters Captain Classifieds Moderator

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    First - I would like for everyone who finds this poll to answer honestly without doing an internet search . . . . . . . which defeats the purpose.

    Next - If you are so inclined I have attached a very well written 4 part article on the subject.

    Finally - This is NOT intended to turn into a political debate, I am just trying to share what I found to be valuable information with the group and gauge how well informed we are.

    https://www.sailfeed.com/2012/10/coast-guard-boardings-and-your-fourth-amendment-rights-part-1/
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Joe Hellaby

    Joe Hellaby Jet Boat Lover

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    I honestly have no idea what the legal protections are. I assume the coast guard in large waters (ocean or great lakes) has a lot more power to search your boat than say a local sheriff on a small inland lake.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. brockhals

    brockhals Jet Boat Addict

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    It would apply to anything you are in possession of. Bike, car, boat, etc. They can't search without gaining permission, or probable cause.
     
  4. elcue

    elcue Jet Boat Lover

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    I would say technically it should, but the "safety search" here in NJ gets them around that. I was stopped labor day weekend while at anchor cause a boat "matching my description" was flying through a no wake zone apparently. While they didn't physically go through my belongings it was clearly just to check us out I was at anchor for over two hours wasn't even near where they said they got multiple calls. So they made sure had enough life jackets, fire ext, license, reg, etc... but didn't go through any of my compartments or bags.
     
  5. bronze_10

    bronze_10 Jetboaters Commander

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    The fourth amendment does apply. However the contexts seems a little different.. the cloest thing i can think of to a car is if you car appears to be unsafe an officer can stop it... varify and make u park it... i.e. shattered windows or a door tied shut... raining fluid all over the road.... excessive smoke that kinda stuff. On a boat its harder to see so the safety check is for life jackets and the like.... i have been stopped three times.. once we were riding on a friends bass boat.. my young sons life jacket was a little too big and the guy saw us.... wasnt an ass... he checked over my sons life jacket and educated us.. made sure there was a jacket for everyone and the registration was good and then cut us loose... the other two times i had no registration stickers on the bow due to waiting on widelife to send them.. both of those times i showed then my paperwork and the just looked at the stack of life jackets we have in the conpartment and then cut us loose. Each of these stops was based on probibale cause just like a traffic stop. On the water is a little different due to your mear location on the water puts u in inmediate danger of drowning. This may give them more leaway for a safety check. However the 4th ammendment does offer a significant amount of protection with in the scoop of the boat search..

    I KNOW I KNOW! My car analogy isnt direcrly apples to apples. I am mearly trying to point out the inherent danger of simple sitting on the water where people can not naturally survive without the proper gear.. this simple fact may give more leaway for the safety checks.
     
  6. bronze_10

    bronze_10 Jetboaters Commander

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    Further more always remember.. if there is a law in place its because an idiot made it happen or something tragic took place that required it. Dont be THAT guy!
    That is all.... u may return to your regular scheduled forum topic!
     
  7. 0627Devildog

    0627Devildog Jetboaters Captain Classifieds Moderator

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    For those of you that are so sure of yourselves one way or the other, I'd love to hear your thoughts once you read the article in the link I attached.
     
  8. bronze_10

    bronze_10 Jetboaters Commander

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    It wrote that from the stand point of the local sheriff and the state wild life officers... i have no experience dealing with the coast gaurd.. all of my interactions are on lakes with the local authorities. It is interesting how much freedom the cc has.
     
  9. swatski

    swatski Jetboaters Admiral

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    @0627Devildog I don't know how to answer the poll - as my answer would depend on specific circumstances.

    For example, if my boat is sitting in my driveway - the answer is yes "of course" (4th amendment protections apply).

    But, if I'm boating off shore or near shore - I view CG more like Customs agents, or border protection - which changes everything. I don't mind them searching my shit as aggressively as they see fit. It's for my protection, and I'm paying for that!

    --
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  10. zipper

    zipper Jet Boat Junkie

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    I voted Nope. I do not agree with it, but do not try to argue with them about it.
     
  11. seanmclean

    seanmclean Member

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    Haven't read the article yet, but I would assume that yes your 4th amendment rights apply, but you have also forfeited some of them by operating in public waters where you are subject to coast guard or police jurisdiction - same as your car. If you're operating on your privately owned lake, I would think that you could refuse any requests for inspection/boarding.
     
  12. Mainah

    Mainah Jetboaters Lieutenant

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    While I do practice the second amendment I don't really know everything about the 4th. Why? First, I abide by the law. Second I try not to give other people reason to despise me enough to take liberties with any authority they may have. For the most part Federal, State, and Local authorites just want to do their job. By going in understanding that and letting them do it while being polite and respectful goes a long ways. Remember that the people in these roles have to deal with all kinds. Be the polite kind that speaks clearly and directly when asked a question and you will be on your way before you know it if you have nothing to hide.

    Now if you have something to hide well then read up and consider is it really worth it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. 0627Devildog

    0627Devildog Jetboaters Captain Classifieds Moderator

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    You should read the article in the link. . . . .it has a story that addresses a reason to think twice about this. (Being purposefully vague)
     
  14. 0627Devildog

    0627Devildog Jetboaters Captain Classifieds Moderator

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    I am talking about on water expectations.

    Just curious if you would feel the same way if said search delays your only day out on the water in weeks for 2+ hours, or they make you return to nearest port for "inspection". When you get time read the article for examples.
     
  15. bronze_10

    bronze_10 Jetboaters Commander

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    I was surprised at how old the legal justification is for the cg..
     
  16. WetWillie

    WetWillie Active Member

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    From what I've found it varies some state by state for local authorities; but for Coast Guard "they don't need no stinking reasons" and much is the same in TN's Law Enforcement stance on waterways.

    IMG_0854.PNG
     
  17. JTC1016

    JTC1016 Jet Boat Lover

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    I'm not an attorney, and haven't read the article yet, but I know how it works in reality. I can tell you, as someone who boats in a major coast guard town, that when they want to board, they board. I have probably been boarded a dozen times over the last 7 years and I can say that there has never been any issue and all the officers have been polite and good to deal with. It usually doesn't take more than 15 or 20 minutes and then you're on your way. And if you've already been checked that year they will usually just count life jackets and move on. We pass a large CG station in the channel that connects our home lake to Lake Michigan, so they are always on patrol there. As a courtesy they will usually keep you moving through the channel in the desired direction too. This helps because the channel takes about 30-40 minutes at no wake.
    Generally, the sheriff's patrol in our area won't stop or board unless you give them a reason, but the CG just randomly selects boats for safety checks. I really don't have a problem with it.
    One interesting side note is that in the two years I've had my AR240, I've been checked WAY less than when I had the 18' boat. Maybe in their experience smaller boats are more likely to have inexperienced captains. Or maybe it's just coincidence, but smaller boats seem to be checked more in my area.
     
  18. PaulyB

    PaulyB Jet Boat Addict

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    I am fairly certain a ruling came out on this recently at a State Supreme Court stating that it is an unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause of a crime being committed on an inland lake with no Coast Guard. The Coast Guard plays by a whole different set of rules though.
     
  19. Dough

    Dough Jet Boat Addict

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    The boaters freedom act has passed in some states. Ohio and Kentucky I know. Doesn't help with the CG I'm sure.
     
  20. YamahaForMe

    YamahaForMe Jet Boat Lover

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    The Illinois DNR has the right to board your boat at any time. Law does not specify that it is required to be in the water.
     

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