Is it Time to end the Stop and Frisk Boarding that boating anglers have to endure? It's illegal in many states.

george

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
3,128
3,172
113
67
Commack NY
www.nyangler.com
The recent legal battle over random boat inspections has been going on for quite some time now, with courts in Michigan and Ohio ruling that they were illegal. This is because such raids infringe upon Fourth Amendment rights which protect against unreasonable searches or seizures without probable cause being present at least initially before an individual's private property can be searched.

The practice does not affect law enforcement officers who have authority over UMCGD (United States Coast Guard) within their respective jurisdictions.

Another issue is in some cases, let's take NY for example, you have local police, the Coast Guard and the NYSDEC. They along with Hudson River police have no way of communicating who they've boarded. Many boaters have complained of being boarded twice in the same day.

It's time NY get's onboard and ends this illegal practice.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Avenger and MOJOE

Macks

Angler
Jan 17, 2019
643
704
93
Are you referring to safety checks or actual searches,I’ve never been searched but safety checks are no big deal in my opinion,I wouldn’t be to happy having my boat searched tho,that’s for sure,PS,I’ve only been boarded twice in fifty years of boating..
 

Matts

Angler
Feb 11, 2019
290
313
63
Port Washington
It's a complicated issue, similar to DWI checks.
If they see you catch a fish that might give them probable cause, then they can search your boat.
If they stop every boat for a safety check, then I think it's OK, like a DWI or deer carcass checkpoint.
But to randomly pick a boat and board it, whether you mind or not, seems to violate the 4th Amendment.
BTW, I've been boarded twice this year to check for circle hooks, once at 6pm, plus a CG safety check boarding. Kinda sucks when you think you're getting a bite coming on and have to take a 15 min break.
Between CG, local police, and DEA, there's lots of bored officials out there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: george

george

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
3,128
3,172
113
67
Commack NY
www.nyangler.com
Are you referring to safety checks or actual searches,I’ve never been searched but safety checks are no big deal in my opinion,I wouldn’t be to happy having my boat searched tho,that’s for sure,PS,I’ve only been boarded twice in fifty years of boating..
Safety checks are vital. And the experience of the Coast Guard makes it somewhat safer. But as we all know anything can happen out there especially with the amount of new boaters.

It would be much safer and effective to check the boat at a launch or marina. Stop them before they leave or when they return.

Checking for illegal fish is clearly a violation of the Fourth Amendment

FOURTH AMENDMENT

Search and Seizure​

Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Macks

Avenger

Well-Known Angler
Frankly, safety check or no, even the Coast Guard boardings are unconstitutional. For better or worse, we can't be situationally selective about how we uphold the constitution, it's all or nothing, and I'd rather have all my civil liberties.

It's just amazing how freedom is so quickly thrown under the bus in the name of the environment or, "If it saves even one life." :mad:
 
  • Like
Reactions: george
Jan 10, 2019
666
393
63
Has anyone actually ever said "you may not board my boat I will show you my safety equipment?" Everything that the CG and others are looking for are easily gathered and able to be shown. Once you "allow " them to board wouldn't it kind of be as if you are giving them permission to search?
 

BennyV

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 21, 2018
5,397
6,659
113
City Island, The Bronx
Slippery slope.

While I agree with most of the points here. There needs to be a way for officers state and/or federal to check for short fish and also to check safety equipment/licensing.

Every summer for as long as I can remember there is a story about a drunk/un-licensed/un-educated/under-prepared/etc boater either slamming into something and/or sinking their vessel. People are injured and/or killed and everyone demands mandatory boating courses, more safety requirements, and more safety equipment. The only problem is enforcement budgets are slashed and/or people just don’t care. Then the cycle starts over again with the next accident.

Based on what I saw on the water while out fishing yesterday all these new boaters from Covid don’t have enough common sense to blow on hot soup before they eat it. It’s scary.

While I agree some of these searches are beyond thorough and borderline intrusive I think they are somewhat necessary. Perhaps there is a way to streamline the process like not actually boarding the vessel and verifying everything electronically. Unfortunately like most situations in this real there will probably be too much red tape to actually change anything.

Just my 2 cents.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Roccus7

pequa1

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2018
4,909
3,534
113
, it should be obvious
"Based on what I saw on the water while out fishing yesterday all these new boaters from Covid don’t have enough common sense to blow on hot soup before they eat it. It’s scary."

and none of them have any idea that their boat while underway actually produces a wake, lol.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Roccus7 and BennyV

cany

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 20, 2018
23,657
26,704
113
NW of Moriches inlet
"Based on what I saw on the water while out fishing yesterday all these new boaters from Covid don’t have enough common sense to blow on hot soup before they eat it. It’s scary."

and none of them have any idea that their boat while underway actually produces a wake, lol.
And that is something new to you? Yeah Covid did it
 
  • Like
Reactions: Avenger and Roccus7

Roccus7

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2018
10,529
15,496
113
Midcoast Maine
And that is something new to you? Yeah Covid did it
Stupid Human Boat Tricks has been around for as long as I can remember. My favorite one goes back to 1978 when 2 Guidos from NYC (Remember I'm 100% Italian American so I can say that) in track suits with about 10 lbs of gold chains each, came up to me at the then State Jamesport Ramp.

"Hey, choo going out to Robbins Island fo weakfish?"

"Yes, it's foggy out there so check your chart for your compass heading."

"Uh, we ain't got no charts or compass, we'll just follow you."

"OK, but I'm not taking any responsibility."

Needless to say I never saw them after we broke out of the inlet and I hit the throttle.

That day was the zenith of my dead reconning navigation career; this is pre-GPS days and we didn't have one of those expensive Loran C units nor radar on the boat. I knew that the course was SSE and at 3/4 throttle I should get to the nun on Robbin's South Race in 13 minutes. With visibility less than 200 yds, I was hoping for "close", but Poseidon smiled on us that day as I was counting down 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 the buoy came out of the fog. My father looked at me in wonderment, as I said, "I'll never do something like that again in 100 years!!"
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chinacat and cany

captmike28

Angler
Dec 21, 2018
774
1,783
93
Southold, NY
www.captainstablecharters.com
I'm sure we all have favorite stories about the many incompetent/dangerous boaters we encounter each season.

One that always has my crew of the day scratching their heads is about the boat that once came up to me in a thick fog in the Sound asking me "Which way is CT?" If you can't even find your own state, maybe it's time to take up golf!!
 

pequa1

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2018
4,909
3,534
113
, it should be obvious
Not new really. I think Covid definitely exacerbated the problem though. People had nothing to do, didn’t go on vacation, so they bought a boat without any experience or a clue lol.
There have been several news media story touting just that fact. It was a snap selling a boat the last couple of years. Exacerbating the safety issue is that many of the bay constables have been out chasing sharks in the ocean and not patrolling the local waters.
 

Matts

Angler
Feb 11, 2019
290
313
63
Port Washington
ConLaw was a hard course. It's often difficult to determine whether something is Constitutional or not. Words like "reasonable" are subject to interpretations. For example, we have freedom of most speech, but not inflammatory speech or speech as part of a criminal deception. We have 2A rights, subject to an ever changing interpretation of acceptable time, place and manner restrictions.

Stop and frisk is acceptable as long as it is not done in a discriminatory manner. DWI checkpoints are acceptable as long as they comply with certain legal requirements, including a predetermined random formula.

Likewise, I suspect that if it ever went to court and DEC or CG explained that they were checking all the boats passing through an area, then the search is not unreasonable. I suspect you would win if they claimed to be checking CC's or Bayliner's only.

Feel free to be the test case that makes it to the Supreme Court when you refuse boarding. We'd all like some clarity. :>)
 
  • Like
Reactions: WhatKnot

george

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
3,128
3,172
113
67
Commack NY
www.nyangler.com
ConLaw was a hard course. It's often difficult to determine whether something is Constitutional or not. Words like "reasonable" are subject to interpretations. For example, we have freedom of most speech, but not inflammatory speech or speech as part of a criminal deception. We have 2A rights, subject to an ever changing interpretation of acceptable time, place and manner restrictions.

Stop and frisk is acceptable as long as it is not done in a discriminatory manner. DWI checkpoints are acceptable as long as they comply with certain legal requirements, including a predetermined random formula.

Likewise, I suspect that if it ever went to court and DEC or CG explained that they were checking all the boats passing through an area, then the search is not unreasonable. I suspect you would win if they claimed to be checking CC's or Bayliner's only.

Feel free to be the test case that makes it to the Supreme Court when you refuse boarding. We'd all like some clarity. :>)
The Fourth Amendment makes it clear that the Coast Guard can basically do what they like regarding boarding and inspecting. Here's what I found on that:

While the Fourth Amendment may protect the citizen, law-abiding or not, from the threat of an “unwarranted” search, that protection ceases once the citizen is on a vessel. The Coast Guard has sweeping authority to board any vessel (subject to the jurisdiction of the United States) at any time, any place. It does not require a warrant. It does not require probable cause. Boardings need not be based on a suspicion that a violation already exists aboard the vessel. Their purpose is to prevent violations and the courts have upheld this authority. Also, the Coast Guard has full legal law enforcement power on any land under the control of the United States, as needed to complete any mission. 14 USC 89 has its roots in the Revenue Service Act of 1790 which provided “all collectors, naval officers, surveyors, inspectors and the officers of the revenue cutters . . . to go on board ships in any part of the United States . . . for the purposes of demanding manifests . . . examining and searching the said ships, and the officers shall have free access to the cabin and every other part of the vessel . . .” This statute was passed by the first Congress, the same Congress that enacted the Bill of Rights, including the Fourth Amendment with its guarantees for citizens to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. By enacting the Revenue Service Act, the first Congress showed unequivocally that the Coast Guard’s significant law enforcement authorities to board and search a U.S. flag vessel anywhere in the world, as well as vessels intending to call on U.S. ports, were consistent with the Fourth Amendment.

U.S. Courts over the last 200 years have consistently validated the right of the Coast Guard to board and inspect vessels, probable cause or not.

Plainly stated, when it comes to Coast Guard boarding, you don’t have any rights.


Here is the law that was passed in Ohio:

House Bill 29 — the “Boater Freedom Act” — could be a decrease in the number of unsolicited safety inspections that recreational boaters have experienced on Lake Erie and other waterways in Ohio.

The legislation defines when state and local law enforcement officers may board recreational watercraft for the purpose of conducting vessel safety inspections. Watercraft officers no longer will have the authority to stop and board a watercraft for a safety inspection unless the owner or operator requests the inspection, there is a reasonable suspicion that local watercraft law is being violated, or the boat is being inspected at an authorized checkpoint.

James Zehringer, director of Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said the new law will aid ODNR in its mission by spelling out legitimate boat-boarding authority.

“ODNR’s primary focus remains the safety of Ohio’s boaters, and the safety inspection program has proven to be a valuable tool,” he said. “This legislation will provide a positive step toward Ohio boaters being able to enjoy their time even more on Ohio’s lakes and rivers.”

House Bill 29 also exempts charter boat captains and others holding U.S. Coast Guard credentials and endorsements from needing to complete Ohio’s boating education requirement because they already are educated in boating safety during the process of obtaining their licenses.

The new law does not supersede the policies and procedures of the Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security or other federal agencies.


This is something that gets done legislatively. Not in courts. And it could be done in New York.
 

pequa1

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2018
4,909
3,534
113
, it should be obvious
So, is the following NY State law or not ? Sure does allow no warrant needed "inspections" AND confiscations.

"SECTION 71-0907
Powers and duties of enforcement officers
Environmental Conservation (ENV) CHAPTER 43-B, ARTICLE 71, TITLE 9
§ 71-0907. Powers and duties of enforcement officers.

1. All officers and employees, designated by the commissioner, and all
peace officers, when acting pursuant to their special duties and all
police officers, shall enforce all laws of the state relating to fish,
wildlife, shellfish, crustacea, protected insects and game. Such
officers may include conservation officers, regional and assistant
regional conservation officers, special game protectors, inspectors of
the office of parks and recreation, bay constables, and forest rangers.

2. All police officers, and all peace officers, when acting pursuant
to their special duties, and all officers and employees of the
department, as may be designated by the commissioner, shall enforce the
provisions of title 21 of article 11 of the Fish and Wildlife Law, and
the provisions of article 71 applicable thereto, except that the
department and its enforcement officers are not obligated to enforce the
provisions of section 11-2113 prohibiting trespass upon lands privately
owned, other than licensed game preserves and shooting preserves, unless
the trespass committed consists of (a) hunting, fishing or trapping or
disturbing wildlife; or (b) cutting, pulling or digging of trees; or (c)
the removal of trees.

3. The officers named in subdivision 1 shall enforce the provisions of
this chapter listed in section 71-0501 or under titles 5 through 15
inclusive and title 33 of this article or of judgments obtained for
violation thereof, and shall have, particularly, the powers stated in
subdivision 4. Peace officers shall have the same powers as conservation
officers, and state police under the Fish and Wildlife Law, except the
power to search without warrant.

4. Officers named in subdivision 1 shall have power:

a. To execute all warrants and search warrants issued for violation of
the Fish and Wildlife Law and to serve subpoenas issued for examination,
investigation or trial of offenses against any of its provisions;

b. To search without search warrant any boat or vehicle of any kind,
any box, locker, basket, creel, crate, game bag, package or any
container of any nature and the contents of any building other than a
dwelling whenever they have cause to believe that any provision of this
article or of any law for the protection of fish, shellfish, crustacea,
wildlife, game or protected insects has been or is being violated, and
to use such force as may be necessary for the purpose of examination and
search;
c. To search any dwelling and its contents, provided they have a
search warrant to do so;

d. To arrest without warrant any person committing in their presence a
misdemeanor under the provisions of this chapter listed in section
71-0501 or under titles 5 through 15 inclusive and title 33 of this
article and to take such person immediately before a magistrate having
jurisdiction for trial;

e. To seize as evidence without warrant any fish, shellfish,
crustacea, wildlife, game, or parts thereof, protected insects or
plumage as defined in section 11-1729, whenever they have cause to
believe it is possessed or transported in violation of law, or it bears
evidence of illegal taking, or it is possessed or transported under
circumstances making the possession or transportation presumptive
evidence of illegal taking;

f. To seize as evidence without warrant

(1) Any net, trap or other device constituting a nuisance as defined
in section 71-0915;

(2) Any net, trap or device other than a boat, a vehicle, or aircraft
or a firearm when they have cause to believe that its possession or use
is in violation of any provision of the Fish and Wildlife Law or
regulation pursuant thereto;

(3) Any firearm, when they have cause to believe that it has been used
in a violation of the Fish and Wildlife Law constituting a misdemeanor
involving the illegal taking or attempting to take wild deer;

(4) Any rakes, tongs, dredges, or device other than a boat or vehicle
used, or in possession for purpose of use, for the taking of shellfish
in violation of subdivisions 1 or 2 of section 13-0309. For the
purposes of this paragraph "device" includes a bird, dog, or other
animal used in or as an aid in taking fish or wildlife, any jack light,
spot light or other artificial light other than a headlight attached in
proper position to a motor vehicle, any hunting appliance or apparatus
and any fishing or netting gear or tackle. This paragraph does not
limit any power of seizure pursuant to warrant.

(5) Any boat or vehicle, when they have probable cause to believe it
has been used for the taking of shellfish in violation of subdivision 2
or 3 of section 13-0309 of this chapter by a person possessing, at the
time of such use, commercial shellfish harvesting gear or shellfish in
excess of two pecks. For the purposes of this subparagraph "commercial
shellfish harvesting gear" shall mean rakes, tongs, dredges and other
devices commonly used to harvest shellfish for commercial purposes.

5. To retain custody of and provide for the safekeeping of any thing
seized as provided in paragraph e or f of subdivision 4 of this section,
or deposit it for safekeeping with any police officer, as he deems
appropriate, subject to regulations of the department, or of the
Superintendent of State Police in the case of a member of the state
police, and subject to order of any court having jurisdiction, until
determination of any prosecution, civil or criminal, arising from the
violation or alleged violation with respect to which they are evidence.

6. No officer named in subdivision 1 shall compromise or settle out of
court any civil liability for any violation of the Fish and Wildlife
Law."

I was asked to open my hatches in the SBC about ten years ago while clam bellying by Marine DEC. I did so and thanked them for asking. They were all courteous but strictly professional.
 

pequa1

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2018
4,909
3,534
113
, it should be obvious
I just don’t see it as an illegal practice. (And you confirmed what I thought, that it is legal here.) But I thought stop and frisk on city streets was an appropriate practice as well. One catches some poachers, one catches some perps.
 

george

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
3,128
3,172
113
67
Commack NY
www.nyangler.com
I just don’t see it as an illegal practice. (And you confirmed what I thought, that it is legal here.) But I thought stop and frisk on city streets was an appropriate practice as well. One catches some poachers, one catches some perps.
I agree with much of what you have written. But I still feel strongly that these searches can be better served at a dock or launch ramp.

For example, when that DEC boat pulled up, the other boats around clearly saw what was happening. So if I had a short in the boat, I could have easily gotten rid of it. However, when you get to the dock, and there is a "checkpoint" - similar to what they do on the beaches- there's nowhere to hide. In addition, it's a lot safer for all involved.
 
  • Like
Reactions: pequa1

Fishing Reports

Forum statistics

Threads
5,278
Messages
194,239
Members
1,246
Latest member
ccny73