Bill banning boat boarding good, but not enough

May 18, 2013


Excerpt from the editorial Viewpoing in Sunday's Register: House Bill 29 would prohibit Ohio law enforcement officers from boarding boats without probable cause that a crime has been committed or likely will be committed. We think that's good law.

But a huge drawback to this effort, however, is the fact it won't have any impact on the actions members of the U.S. Coast Guard or Border Patrol agents take when stopping boaters, or motorists, for that matter. The USCG has been aggressive boarding boats, and the Border Patrol is a federal agency that has both shown aggressive behavior and tactics toward the public without accountability. 

While we appreciate state Rep. Rex Damschroder's efforts with House Bill 29, the lack of oversight over federal police agencies operating in Ohio is a serious deficiency worthy of attention from state lawmakers. The federal government should not be allowed to continue operating police agencies in Ohio without adhering to the same community standards that apply to every other law enforcement agency operating in the sate. 

Allowing these federal agencies to operate using their own set of rules is a dangerous thing. Lawmakers should address that problem because ignoring it won't make it go away.



Well said SR.

J Cooper

Federal law always trumps state law. Damschroder has a reputation in Columbus in sposoring bills that might have a postive PR for him but little chance of passing.

Capt. Ford

Federal law currently trumps state law, this bill will do very little to reduce the frequency of inspections, with ample representasion this weekend crossborder traffic is less, TOURISM SUFFERS

Rich Close

Respectfully, I don't believe that is true.

The local Sheriff can tell the fed's to get out of his county. They can go to court every time they wish to do something but the ONLY one who has power over a Sheriff is the coroner.

Google this question. " does the sheriff have power over federal agencies " and you will see just how far the Feds have brainwashed the majority into believing they have ultimate control over the States. The Feds haven't taken our constitutional rights away, by our ignorance of the Constitution we have let them convince the majority that they are the ultimate power.

BTW, this report is probably one of the best editorials the SR has written in a very very long time.

Señor Clown

Agreed - good editorial, and good point regarding the Federal government's dilution of state's power.


The Supremacy clause only applies within the bounds of the powers enumerated to the federal government by the Constitution, and then the 10th Amendment kicks in. How many boarded boaters are engaging in interstate commerce?


Someone wearing a bikini? You WILL get stopped!


Or a speedo.


We have lived on the lake for 30+ years, and we stopped boating. It is just not worth the hassle. Being followed around, and watched through binoculars by security forces just takes the fun out of a day on the lake.
Being boarded and questioned is intimidating and in my opinion, un-American. It s just creepy. We are no longer interested in boating.


Welcome to Put-In-Bay where the Harbor Nazi's have killed an entire weekend,Victoria Day. You can only pull over so many Canadians before they stop coming. Our loss is Pelee's gain!!!

getit right be4...

Video, and or audio record all encounters with authority. This is how to hold them accountable for there actions. There is no need to let them know of your recordings.

I will not provide an information unless I am driving. Am I being detained/am I free to go. If they get mad at me for exercising my rights so be it. If they cross the line they will hear the recordings for the 1st time in court.

2cents's picture

(Allowing these federal agencies to operate using their own set of rules is a dangerous thing.)

Along with the IRS & the EPA. It is getting closer!


Yes, federal law trumps state law. And yes, TECHNICALLY, a sheriff can tell the feds to go away. Ever seen one try it? In other words, don't hold your breath!

The good news here is that any number of sheriffs in quite a few states are on record as saying they'll refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal laws. In Colorado, sheriffs are suing the state over unconstitutional gun laws recently passed. But I'm afraid that's not something we can count on. Anybody know whether or not the Erie County Sheriff would protect any of us/all of us by declining enforcement?

Another important note: The Coast Guard and the Border Patrol work an International Border. That takes sheriffs out of the equation all together. Because of the nature of their work, it ALSO gives them some added authorities. While I support a secure border and agree that there's good reason for those added authorities there, it seems to me that there's NO reason to exercise them anywhere near the Ohio shoreline! Maybe THAT can be prohibited (though good luck enforcing it).


Those added authorities are still subject to the Fourth Amendment, which requires probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. They are also still subject to the enumerated limits on federal power, so unless they have probable cause to believe that you have crossed the border or are engaged in smuggling or interstate commerce, you are none of their business.

Whiskey Tango F...

Saw them last night (homeland AND USCG) boarding walleye boats that are trying to vacation here. $50,000 boat, $45,000 truck, $150/ night lodging, $7/ lure, food, booze,....the list goes on &on. They too will find a new place to go where they can drink a beer while fishing with their buddies without being harassed. By the way... how much pork and B.S. is bundled with the boating laws in HB 29? They probably want $30 million to research the mating habits of the japanese beetle!


EVERYONE should watch this and know your rights.


Show us your papers, comrade.

2cents's picture

The rag heads just keep winning their global war on America from the inside out!

Just saying!

Mr. D

Been a boater for over 45 years. Been stopped/boarded many times by local, state or federal LE. They have always done saftey inspections to check legally required equipment. This usually took about 10 minutes. They have NEVER searched my boat, its cabin or coolers. They have always been courteous and friendly. On 2 occasions in 45 years they have informed me of minor equipment defects. And I have never been cited or hassled. I look forward each year
to these encounters for piece of mind knowing my boat passed a safety inspection. You WHINNERS should be happy someone is looking out for you and your companions. Perhaps some of you have had your egos popped in front of friends when they learn you are not the knowledgabe boater you think you are and have put them in danger. Its a long way back to shore when you have an emergency but do not have the proper equipment to handle it. But, then, most bodies float to the surface in 3-4 days!!!


The safety inspections have become nothing more than a fishing expedition. It is ridiculous to be boarded for a so-called safety inspection everytime you go out. You should be able to show them paperwork showing that you already were inspected for the year and they should be on their way. It isn't like that though. Many have been boarded up to 3 times in one day by different agencies. It is nothing more than harassment.


surface in 3-4 days.....only to be found by private fishermen! Or the little tourist kid who found the body on the breakwall after how many hours of govt time?

Mr. D

Many have been boarded up to 3 times. . . Who? Name names. . . Were they warned a first time and pulled over a second or third time to check for compliance? knuckleheader, you are a potential floater!
Fside, can you determine where a body will end up? Tell us how?


There have been articles in the Plain Dealer about multiple boardings of the same boat, in the same day, where even the inspection report from a prior boarding only a few hours earlier was not sufficient to be free to go. It's sad that you have such a toadish view of your relationship with your government - thousands gave their lives to prevent the need for that.

Mr. D

Hey, nemy, where are the links to the PD articles. At least back yourself up.