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Monday, 26 June 2017 12:03

Police Inspections on the River

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Hi Lex,

The information below describes the relationship between a person’s Fourth Amendment Rights and law enforcement’s authority to stop a vessel. This is taken, almost verbatim, from the student manual that we use at our Marine Law Enforcement Training Course. Not all officers attend our training, of course, and even then they are not obligated to follow our training. As far as vessel stops are concerned, if a law enforcement officers signals a boater to stop, they should comply. Always bear in mind that these officers are there to ensure the safety of everyone using our waters, and they may have a valid reason for requesting the stop. However, the officer conducting the stop must be able to explain why they made the stop; they witnessed a violation, have probable cause, or they are offering a safety check. If it is the latter, the boater has the right to politely decline, and should not be further detained.

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