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Marine Regulation, Licensing, Authority?

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Blackthorn, Nov 27, 2009.

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  1. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn New Member

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    Aug 3, 2009
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    Chesapeake
    Hi guys. Its been a while since I posted.

    I've been checking into the liveaboard scene for quite a while, online, I mean. You guys (and gals) have provided some very valuable insight, and I appreciate it. The liveaboard/marina thread currently under construction had some good comments in it regarding junkers and dock-derelicts. I'd rather not be considered among them, even if I'm not piloting a six-figure machine. I try to keep things nice.

    Anyway, my current investigations have led me to the topic of law enforcement on the water. I'm curious about who has authority, and how they implement it, and what attracts their attention. I don't want to be harassed or break any laws, so I need to know what I shouldn't do. Ignorance is no excuse, y'know?

    I'd like some general discussion about necessary paperwork, registrations, stickers, and so on. I understand these may vary from state to state. Yearly "property taxes" if any? I really don't even know what questions to ask, so I'm probably overlooking a whole multitude of things in this question.

    Being on the mid-Atlantic seacoast, I expect I'll probably go up-river a ways when I'm looking for permanent berth, further than most weekend warriors would probably want to call home. I don't care if I have to travel a few hours to get to Blue. (and maybe the Fresh would help prolong the life of my stuff) This will probably take me into local jurisdictions, so the USCG is one concern, and the local water-cops are the other. River Patrol? State Police? I donno.

    Discuss! And sincere thanks in advance. Best regards -
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    As long as your vessel has it's yearly vessel registration, you shouldn't have a problem. I know here in Florida, even if a vessel is documented, it must have a FL registration sticker that is renewed every year (taxes basically). I renewed the one on the 75' Hatteras and it was $274 for the year. Legally it should be renewed even if the vessel is docked at a marina. But, some never are renewed and the people never have a problem with law authority. Other then that, as long as you are docked in a marina that allows liveaboards and aren't pumping sewage into the water, you shouldn't have any issues.
  3. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn New Member

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    Thanks Capt.

    Theres one more thing I can strike off the 'ol mental checklist. You have no idea how happy it makes me to know of the less restrictive nature of The Gov as it applies to marine life. Not saying its perfect, but it seems to be a whole lot better than land. I have a number of objections to local spending and services provided, and prefer the free-market approach - which is to say pay for privatized services as a customer. Some call that a dissident, others say conscientious objector. I just consider it voting with my wallet.

    /soapbox

    I think I can tolerate a sticker fee.
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    As far as the cops are concerned you are subject to boarding and search, at any time you're cruising, by everyone from the local bay constable to the USCG, DEA, etc. That said, I've been boarded maybe 3 or 4 times for safety inspections in the past 20 years. You need to carry photo ID, vessel documentation and all appropriate safety gear.
    Being in the Ches you should also be very aware of security zones:
  5. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn New Member

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    Thank you NYCAP, good specs on the USN. I'll have to frame that (not kidding) for ease of review, when the time actually comes.

    I was talking to a buddy who has a pad down in the Keys, some time back. Avid SCUBA guy. He told me basically the same thing, but on a convo level since he's not an operator but spends time aboard. I'm aware that any badge who *really* wants to board usually can. I'm just a little hazy on the reasons.

    I have nothing to hide and will not OUI. But I have a thing for knowing my rights, as a citizen. Since it is intended to be my residence the 4th Amendment should therefore apply.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    When you're tied to land the search laws get a bit hazier, but while cruising you are subject to a "safety inspection" at any time.
  7. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn New Member

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    I figured the distinction was being under motor-power (or sail). Thanks again for the clarification.

    I'm sure that can become a hot topic.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I am pretty sure that the marine authorities can search a vessel that is docked if there is a fuel spill issue in the area or sewage in the water and they think the vessel might be involved. These are the only situations I have seen them search a docked vessel. I don't think that they would search for anything else if the vessel is docked.