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Local LE boarding Documented Vessles

probate-rprobate-r Posts: 418 Deckhand
My boat happens to be a USCG documented vessel, which is obvious by its lack of letters and number on the bow. In the first 2+ years of using the boat, I was never stopped, checked or boarded by local FWC, city or county LE. A friend told me that was because they don't have jurisdiction to board a "federal" boat unless they have probably cause, or obtain permission/ are requested to do so by a federal agency. Any truth to that? Just wondering.

As an aside, we did get stopped for the first time on out last crossing back from the Bahamas ... after 2 hours of 6-8' sees coming back, we were so glad to be back in port and just wanted to get back on dry land. However, the local fisheries boat stopped us just inside the inlet to check paperwork. Could not have been nicer to us, and did their best to make the stop quick as they could se we were pretty beat up. Just curious more than anything as to whether there is any truth to the jurisdictional issue.
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Replies

  • notreelynotreely Posts: 653 Officer
    probate-r wrote: »
    My boat happens to be a USCG documented vessel, which is obvious by its lack of letters and number on the bow. In the first 2+ years of using the boat, I was never stopped, checked or boarded by local FWC, city or county LE. A friend told me that was because they don't have jurisdiction to board a "federal" boat unless they have probably cause, or obtain permission/ are requested to do so by a federal agency. Any truth to that? Just wondering.

    As an aside, we did get stopped for the first time on out last crossing back from the Bahamas ... after 2 hours of 6-8' sees coming back, we were so glad to be back in port and just wanted to get back on dry land. However, the local fisheries boat stopped us just inside the inlet to check paperwork. Could not have been nicer to us, and did their best to make the stop quick as they could se we were pretty beat up. Just curious more than anything as to whether there is any truth to the jurisdictional issue.

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  • abacofeverabacofever Posts: 377 Officer
    It does not matter.. you are not in a position to stop it or offer any verbal exchange to change their minds should they wish to push the issue. Well.. mostly. Right or wrong they are going to do what they want. So... legal or not..?
    I have had a few rather ugly interactions with CG, DEA and Customs over the years. Both inside State waters and International.
    I give them zero quarter when they start acting like jackasses and push back as hard as I think I can get away with...with out getting locked up. I have been ordered to proceed to the CG station for further boarding, threatened by Customs, etc.
    Not one time have I received a citation.
    Having said that... I have also had some exceptional interactions with the same agency's. It is a crap shoot. Compleatly dependent upon who you run into.
    I will say. Every interaction I have had with FWC or local PD, Sheriffs dept has been a pleasure. Everyone else has been 50/50.
    Fortunately I have not had any interactions with any of them for a few years.
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    probate-r wrote: »
    My boat happens to be a USCG documented vessel, which is obvious by its lack of letters and number on the bow. In the first 2+ years of using the boat, I was never stopped, checked or boarded by local FWC, city or county LE. A friend told me that was because they don't have jurisdiction to board a "federal" boat unless they have probably cause, or obtain permission/ are requested to do so by a federal agency. Any truth to that? Just wondering.
    QUOTE]

    Your friend doesn't know what he is talking about
  • JIMinPBJIMinPB Posts: 1,875 Captain
    I think that the restriction relates to foreign LEOs. I'm not a maritime lawyer, but the way that I understand it, a foreign force can not legally board a US documented vessel without permission from the US Navy or US Coast Guard. If they do that without permission, it is considered to be an act of aggression against the US Government & prompts the appropriate response.

    I don't think that FWC is bound by that restriction (but I am not sure). If FWC is bound by that requirement, it would not surprise me to find that the USCG has simply given them blanket permission to do what they need to do in the line of duty in US waters.

    Bottom line: if I was on a documented boat, I would not go around thinking that I can just ignore the FWC guys because I have a special class of boat registration. I'm pretty darn sure that's not the case.
  • Noj8152Noj8152 Posts: 17 Greenhorn
    Boating, Fishing, Diving and Hunting are considered "Highly Regulated Activities" and as such, no probable is needed for a vessel safety inspection, resource inspection (fishing hunting & diving). Any sworn law enforcement officer can stop and inspect you for compliance. To refuse or interfere inspection will earn you a quick trip to the clink!
    For those interested, the statutes are:
    50 CFR 622.13- Federal Code
    FS327.56
    FS379.401
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