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Florida House Bill 703 Probable Cause

FLCoyoteFLCoyote Posts: 271 Deckhand
Governor Scott signed into law a bill effective 1 July 2016, that would require probable cause when stopping boaters for routine and very numerous safety checks. The law states that vessels that display a safety check sticker would not be stopped unless there was probable cause for the check. This is not a new idea. I've been fishing in the Panhandle since 1975 and for a good portion of those years either an FWC or Coast Guard current year safety decal would usually get you a pass on the over abundant safety checks. The problem back then was that the FWC almost never seemed to have any stickers on board. One day when the FWC was approaching my boat for the second check of the day I said to the officer "Don't even start if you don't have your safety decals" He replied You will either get a safety decal or a ticket and proceeded to check absolutely everything on my boat. I didn't get a ticket, but I still get checked so much I think I must be on the BOLO (Be On the Lookout List). I fish with some folks that tell me they never get checked and I always advise them that if they are with me they can expect to be checked and often are. A couple of years ago the Coast Guard checked me three Sundays in a row
and the first two times gave me a safety check sheet and told me that if I showed it to the next Coast Guard boat that approached that they would give me a pass. I did show the second Coast Guard boat the sheet and they checked me anyway and gave me another safety check sheet. Week three when the Coast Guard approached I held up a sheet in each hand, they checked me anyway. I filed an official complaint with Coast Guard Headquarters and receive a very nice call explaining that the local detachment had failed a recent inspection and had been instructed to check every boat they saw every patrol. That made me feel much better. This is an ask the law forum so I'm asking "What is the FWC policy and Guidance concerning HR 703"?, and will the FWC be required to issued a safety check decal when they conduct a check? The old don't have my stickers just doesn't get it. Not trying to be difficult just really sincerely want to know what's going on.

Agent Coker, Thank You for Your Time and Patience
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Replies

  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,905 AG
    Coker is NOAA LE.

    They have no idea about Florida law nor do they advise about it.

    Seek clarification form you local FWC Law Enforcement office.

    http://myfwc.com/contact/law-enforcement/
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    I believe the new law allows a check if there is reasonable suspicion that the subject was fishing or hunting i.e. having fishing or hunting gear onboard.........thus requiring no P.C.
  • surfmansurfman WC FLPosts: 6,008 Admiral
    Westwall01 wrote: »
    I believe the new law allows a check if there is reasonable suspicion that the subject was fishing or hunting i.e. having fishing or hunting gear onboard.........thus requiring no P.C.

    New law? I thought that was always the law?
    Tight Lines, Steve
    My posts are my opinion only.

    Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.  Will Rogers
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    surfman wrote: »
    New law? I thought that was always the law?

    no
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    The way it stood and still does until HB 703 goes into affect is that any vessel can be pulled over at any time for a safety check and after that is complete a fishery/hunting check can be completed.
  • NOAA-EnforcementNOAA-Enforcement Posts: 202 Moderator
    You will need to contact the FWC for an answer to that one. If you have any problem finding a number, just let me know.

    Thanks

    Allan J. Coker
    My purpose on this site is to help everyone understand Federal Fishery Regulations and to provide information. Working with the Florida Sportsman is a collateral (volunteer) duty I asked for and enjoy; I will only give you an answer that I’m willing to put my name on and stand behind. Sometimes that means checking with other agents/offices in the area of concern.
    Please Stay Safe And Have A Wonderful Day.
    Special Agent Allan Coker
    NOAA's Office For Fishery Law Enforcement
  • mdiaczykmdiaczyk Posts: 144 Deckhand
    They do not want to do random checks I think. Something about saving money. In pinellas county. They would be standing at the boat ramp. Or have a boat sitting where everyone comes in. On the water probable cause means if you pull a fish up they have a right to look at your fish box and check for other stuff. I dont know. Again ask someone from the FWC. This I bet has something to do with budgeting.
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    Nothing to do with budgeting.
  • CountryBumpkinCountryBumpkin Fla. Piney WoodsPosts: 1,892 Captain
    According to the Florida State Representative that introduced the bill in the House.........it was brought on by a little too much "Hassling of boaters"..................just sayin:grin

    http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2016/01/04/proposed-law-probable-cause-before-boat-inspections/78016364/
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    Yes, that is the reason one representative brought this bill forward. In a state that leads the country in boating accidents year after year I wonder how this is going to impact us all.
  • Nick NikonNick Nikon Posts: 4,083 Captain
    The phrasing of the actual bill makes a difference.

    If the standard is "probable cause", it's a much harder one to meet.

    Absent a radar hit, or an obvious violation, the standard for car stops is "reasonable suspicion".

    LEO can't legally stop cars on "hunches", except of course, "driving while Black".

    Back in the early 80's, the Supreme Court adopted a much looser standard.

    Determination of "reasonableness" was changed to the "totality of the circumstances".

    ( The same standard for obtaining a search warrant. )

    It's doubtful that there's a legal difference between stopping a car and stopping a boat.
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    933.07 Issuance of search warrants.—
    (1) The judge, upon examination of the application and proofs submitted, if satisfied that probable cause exists for the issuing of the search warrant, shall thereupon issue a search warrant signed by him or her with his or her name of office, to any sheriff and the sheriff’s deputies or any police officer or other person authorized by law to execute process, commanding the officer or person forthwith to search the property described in the warrant or the person named, for the property specified, and to bring the property and any person arrested in connection therewith before the judge or some other court having jurisdiction of the offense.

    By the way the whole idea of stopping someone while "driving while black" just serves to show how little you know and how biased in your opinion you are.
  • Nick NikonNick Nikon Posts: 4,083 Captain
    Westwall01 wrote: »
    933.07
    By the way the whole idea of stopping someone while "driving while black" just serves to show how little you know and how biased in your opinion you are.

    Unfortunately, you didn't get it.

    Next time, we'll either place quotation marks around sarcasm, or use an italic typestyle.

    Where you got the search warrant bit, and why, is a mystery.

    When was the last time LEO got a search warrant to make a boat stop?

    The bottom line is this:

    Reasonable suspicion to stop and detain a citizen is determined by the "totality" standard.

    The officer must be able to articulate facts and circumstances that add up.

    ( They must add up for a trained and experienced officer, but must be specific. )

    In other words, the officer must see a violation, or record a violation ( speed radar ).

    Or, the officer is aware of an accumulation of facts and circumstances.

    For instance, is the person or vehicle in a high-crime area?

    Is it daytime, or late at night? Have crimes been reported recently?

    Is someone wearing "gang colors" or have gang tattoos?

    There are myriad factors that LEO can point to, but the "totality" is what matters.
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    Your on the right track but you don't completely understand P.C., R.S., or investigative stops
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,905 AG
    Tell him about Terry v. Ohio.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • Nick NikonNick Nikon Posts: 4,083 Captain
    Westwall01 wrote: »
    Your on the right track but you don't completely understand P.C., R.S., or investigative stops

    Never claimed to have a professional understanding ... what we posted was a laymen's take.

    Guess it's confusing because P.C. is such a hurdle to impose as compared to R.S..

    ( Not, of course, in actual practice ... LEO will always do what they do. )

    Could multiple boat stops be considered the nautical equivalent of a road block?

    There's an entirely different can of worms to consider.

    But, there are similarities ... "safety checks" "inspection stickers" etc.
  • sterlingxs22sterlingxs22 Posts: 158 Officer
    I have no problem with the marine patrol people but I can tell you guys one thing , if you have Georgia #'s you are going to get stopped every time you go out , but I obey the rules and don't mind talking the the guys/gals that are doing the job .
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 12,454 AG
    I have no problem with the marine patrol people but I can tell you guys one thing , if you have Georgia #'s you are going to get stopped every time you go out , but I obey the rules and don't mind talking the the guys/gals that are doing the job .
    We know how you Jawjaw people poach, y'all just come down here and **** our waters...
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • TampaTarpon5TampaTarpon5 Posts: 803 Officer
    before someone gets their panties in a wad thinking they know more than the law does be aware of this:

    Title 14 section 89 of the United States Code authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard to board vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, anytime, any place upon the high seas and upon any waterway over which the United States has jurisdiction, to make inquires, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests. The U.S. Coast Guard does not require a warrant to conduct search, seizures, arrests over any United States Waterway or high seas. The U.S. Coast Guard also have full legal law enforcement power on any land under the control of the United States, as needed to complete any mission.


    I'm sure a lot of you knew that, but if I save just one guy from losing an embarrassing argument in front of his family with the USCG I'll be happy.
  • Westwall01 wrote: »
    933.07 Issuance of search warrants.—
    (1) The judge, upon examination of the application and proofs submitted, if satisfied that probable cause exists for the issuing of the search warrant, shall thereupon issue a search warrant signed by him or her with his or her name of office, to any sheriff and the sheriff’s deputies or any police officer or other person authorized by law to execute process, commanding the officer or person forthwith to search the property described in the warrant or the person named, for the property specified, and to bring the property and any person arrested in connection therewith before the judge or some other court having jurisdiction of the offense.

    By the way the whole idea of stopping someone while "driving while black" just serves to show how little you know and how biased in your opinion you are.

    Look you can sow the company line, but we all know there are plenty of LEO's who pull you over for DWB!
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    Look you can sow the company line, but we all know there are plenty of LEO's who pull you over for DWB!

    Please name those LEO's or incidents otherwise its just another urban myth
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,905 AG
    What's DWB?
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Naples, FLPosts: 1,249 Officer
    Driving While Black. I am sure this has occurred a lot in the past, especially when observed in upscale white neighborhoods. I think for the vast majority of officers today this does not occur. In my experience when some blacks are stopped for a traffic infractions they use the excuse that you only stopped me because I am black. This is a perception that a lot of people of color have whether it is true or not.
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • voltmanvoltman Posts: 147 Deckhand
    Driving While Black. I am sure this has occurred a lot in the past, especially when observed in upscale white neighborhoods. I think for the vast majority of officers today this does not occur. In my experience when some blacks are stopped for a traffic infractions they use the excuse that you only stopped me because I am black. This is a perception that a lot of people of color have whether it is true or not.

    love your mark twain quote.:thumbsup
    probable cause is a great thing , i would like to see that all the law officers at least give it some thought before they pull someone over , each stop uses valuable resources and tax payers dollars, and there not out there to go fishing.
  • FLCoyoteFLCoyote Posts: 271 Deckhand
    Now its becoming clear to me. Workman is completely bald and so am I. I started this thread because I get checked so often I just plan on it being a part of my fishing trips. Workman issued this legislation because he apparently also gets checked regularly. My conclusion is that Law Enforcement, State and Federal is guilty of harassing boaters/fisherman who are "BWB" (Boating While Bald). Maybe the shine/glare from our polished, gleaming crowns is creating a safety hazard?
    FLCoyote
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,905 AG
    Maybe they confused Workman with you? Some bald people all look alike. :wink
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • DitchratDitchrat Posts: 56 Greenhorn
    I have no problem with the marine patrol people but I can tell you guys one thing , if you have Georgia #'s you are going to get stopped every time you go out , but I obey the rules and don't mind talking the the guys/gals that are doing the job .

    I rent a car every July for the past 5 years in florida. Every year has been the same, one of your fish cops stops by the spots Im fishing asks me how Im doing if I caught anything, I say snook, they say did you keep any I say no their closed, they say have a nice night.

    Last year I have a rental with a NY plate. That year its one of your fish cops stops by the spots Im fishing asks me how Im doing if I caught anything, I say snook, they say did you keep any I say no their closed, flash light comes on they check the area for fish, then call me over for a license check, flashlight in the car, see a cooler ask to look into it. Have a nice night.

    It really doesn't bother me to get checked out. Im glad to see the licensing fee get put to good use. Since I'm always within spec. its also nice to see LEO at 3 in the morning as I fish a few areas with crackheads wondering around, plus get some information on other parking options and get to ask some questions on regs.

    In a month I typically interact with them 2-3 times. Coincidence or not it was odd to have the same experience 3 time in one year, with my only difference being an out of state plate, and never before or after. I know they noticed it because each time the asked if the NY plate was me, and each time laughed when I said Hell no its a rental.
  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Naples, FLPosts: 1,249 Officer
    LOL Ditchrat. I like that handle.
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • voltmanvoltman Posts: 147 Deckhand
    The legislation requires law enforcement to need "probable cause" before stopping or inspecting a vessel if it displays a recent safety inspection decal issued by law enforcement on a previous stop. The law applies only to local and state law enforcement and not to Coast Guard officials.

    re:recent safety inspection decal issued by law enforcement on a previous stop. do we need to be stopped first and if stopped will they have the safety inspection sticker to issue , and how large do these stickers need to be so they can seen before stopping you ?
  • Westwall01 wrote: »
    Please name those LEO's or incidents otherwise its just another urban myth

    Why urban myth? because you are towing the company line? I know as a former or current LEO you will not admit it in public, but I have many family and friends who are LEO's and a good one profile!

    But back to boating, On the East Coast, size matters. If you come in Boca inlet on a flood tide, its not easy for a marine patrol to pull you over and do a check. Center console much easier. I never get pulled over in my pocket sport fish, but if I run my son's CC, I get stopped regularly. Only one time in 15 years of owning my current boat have I been stopped and that time all they did is get close enough to look in my fish box, never boarded

    Offshore, Coasties are different. They are looking at different things and have the soft side US Coast Guard patrol boat (since Westwall is the frigging correction officer here!) to do the boarding. While I have never been boarded by the USCG in 50 years of boating, I have been hailed and provided info over the radio, in fact once did it with a helo crew hovering over us. Why never boarded, In mid 80's, we found a couple hundred pounds of the white stuff, picked it up and stood by until USCG could get to our location. Once they run my ID they always say Thanks, have a safe day!
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