When it comes to your rights on a vessel, just remember, you have none. That’s correct, the Coast Guard can board your boat anytime they want, and they can look anywhere they want, with or without a probable cause. But try to remember, they are there to protect your country and are not just looking for a reason to harass you.
According to the United States Code by the Office of the Law Revision Council:
“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 inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests. The U.S. Coast Guard does not require a warrant to conduct search, seizures, and 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”.
Vincent Pica wrote an article for WindCheck Magazine on ‘We’re being boarded by the Coast Guard- Now what?’. He shares what happens after you are approached by a boat with flashing blue lights.
Learn about the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in the article on Semiahmoo Marina’s website.