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#132799 - 12/30/01 12:49 AM Illegal boat search?
G-MAN Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 403
Loc: BELLINGHAM / EVERSON
In the state of Wash, do the game wardens have the right to search your boat? I was told that only the Coast Guard can legally board your boat while it's still in the water. What about at the boat launch? I have never kept a Nate, even when legal to do so, but I would get real tense to have someone going through my boat, personal stuff, boxes, ect.
_________________________
"Life is tough!, it's tougher when your STUPID!!
"What don't kill you, will only make you Stronger!'

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#132800 - 12/30/01 01:11 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
RICH G Offline
I believe in a lot of stupid schit

Registered: 11/05/00
Posts: 3312
Loc: Land of the Lost
Yup,

How else are they gonna catch poachers. Do you think a poacher is gonna just confess when the game warden asked him if he kept any fish he shouldnt have? How else is a game warden gonna catch people if he dosent check out all the hideing places for those extra brats or nates that wernt supposed to be kept?
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#132801 - 12/30/01 01:23 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
Anonymous
Unregistered


When you buy a license you pretty much give wardens the right to search. You can try to stand on your rights on search and seizure but it will only cost you a lot of time.

Gooose

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#132802 - 12/30/01 01:26 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
Dogfish Offline
Poodle Smolt

Registered: 05/03/01
Posts: 10979
Loc: McCleary, WA
Fish and game inspections are a little different than driving you car down the roadway, at least from what I have heard, and seen, but here is what I know.

Refusal to stop or cooperate with a game agent for a game check can result in some unforeseen consequenses. Basically forfeiting your license. I am a little hazy as to the depth of the search, but if you have blood on your boat, for example, but none in the box, the agent has PC, probable cause, to take a closer look at your boat. This is a legal standard.

If you have done nothing wrong, then there shouldn't be an issue, and if you consent to a search, and a game agent finds something minor (not game related), they will most likely let you know, and move on. If you don't consent, or cop an attitude, you could end up "writing yourself a ticket" because of your actions. They have a tough job, indeed, so if you're a good guy, greet them with a smile. laugh laugh laugh

Two agents up at Sekiu had obviously had a rough day, and greeted us with scowls. I inquired about their day, and got the lowdown. They had spent 4 hours in a 12 foot Zodiac in 4 foot seas and had run into a-hole after a-hole. We were legal in very way, pleasant to them, and thanked them for being out there. You can bet the next person was better off because of it. Be a good human.

I have been checked 7 times this year, 6 at Sekiu, once on Hood Canal. I always greeted them with a smile, asked how others were doing, and my interactions never lasted more than 5 minutes. Do your part and cooperate, because you are either part of the problem, or part of the solution.

Andy
_________________________
"Give me the anger, fish! Give me the anger!"

They call me POODLE SMOLT!

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#132803 - 12/30/01 01:32 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
RICH G Offline
I believe in a lot of stupid schit

Registered: 11/05/00
Posts: 3312
Loc: Land of the Lost
Well said Dog, the game warden is not out there to ruin your day he is just protecting the resource.
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#132804 - 12/30/01 03:09 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
Robert Allen3 Offline
Spawner

Registered: 04/23/00
Posts: 762
Loc: vancouver WA USA
I believe that being in the field is probable cause.. They can search boats and cars (I think). I am sure you have nothing to hide anyway. if you did you'd have been offended by people on this site a long time ago and wouldn't be posting here shocked )
Just my feeling I'd like to see our game enforcment guys get more power especially as related to give more weight to their testimony about intent in snagging cases. When a warden tells a judge that a guy was attempting to snag the judge should be able to use that as strong evidence. not just his opinion.

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#132805 - 12/30/01 03:30 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
Easy Limits Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 05/06/01
Posts: 2991
Loc: Nisqually
Game wardens are commisioned police officers by the state of WA. As far as I know they have the same powers as a State Patrol officer.
We can all do our part in making their lives a little easier by cooperating with them and playing by the rules. smile If you play by the rules you will have nothing to worry about.
_________________________
Carl C.

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#132806 - 12/30/01 04:26 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
Metalhead Mojo Offline
Spawner

Registered: 11/26/01
Posts: 555
Loc: Browns Point
it shouldnt even be an issue...if they want to look, then let them look, you shouldnt have anything to hide anyway...that is if you ever see one out there...the last time i saw a warden was this summer at alki, the time before that was a few years ago at a small lake near olympia. it seems like they are never out there.
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alcohol, tobacco, firearms, who's bringing the chips?

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#132807 - 12/30/01 11:35 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
Doubletake Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/20/00
Posts: 265
Loc: Duvall, Wa.
I was at the launch cleaning a couple of fish last year while two fishing partners were by my boat in the parking lot. When I came up the game warden asked to see my license and checked my fish out. She was a little stiff at first but turned out relatively pleasant. After she had left my partners tell me she walked up and climbed right into the boat and started searching.... I didn't mind the search so much as the fact she didn't ask, or that I (the owner) was not present.

But as stated in the above posts they deal with a lot of rude people all day long and I don't envy their jobs. I agree that they should have more power than what they have. Gamies are few and far between it seems, I have read a lot of posts on this and other boards of members seeing illegal activities going on on the water. They can search my boat any time, but I would sure like to see some of the more blatant "breaking of the rules" (snagging for one)get hit fast and hard once and a while.

I did put a poll up on boat searches on this and one other board, came up with about half saying yes they can with out asking or cause, and half saying no they can't without cause. I e-mailed the WDFW and got no response. But like I said, they have enough problems to deal with without me hassling them. Good luck.

Doubletake

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#132808 - 12/30/01 12:43 PM Re: Illegal boat search?
WesH Offline
Fry

Registered: 12/31/00
Posts: 20
Loc: Vancouver, WA

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#132809 - 12/30/01 02:09 PM Re: Illegal boat search?
StorminN Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/30/01
Posts: 448
Loc: Blyn, WA
Yep, "equipment" in this case includes your boat. Anyone who has been stopped on the water or off knows that they can check for PFD's, flares, all the required stuff. If you're nervous about them going through your stuff, you've probably got something to hide... but remember, they're looking for hidden fish, not hidden pot pipes, so just be smart, calm, courteous and legal, and it all will go smoothly.

-N.
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#132810 - 12/30/01 02:09 PM Re: Illegal boat search?
G-MAN Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 403
Loc: BELLINGHAM / EVERSON
WesH, RCW 77.15.080 states inspect "equiptment" Is my boat is a "vehicle", or equiptment? I pay for motor vehicle licensing on it. So is it a motor vehicle? DoubleTake was alittle upset the game warden just got into his boat without his consent or knowledge. I would be also.What if she had broken something? "His LAMIGLASS!!" They do the best job that they can and I wish there was more of them out there, I have done nothing wrong, but do not violate my rights in the process of enforcing the law. We have "Vehicle Search And Seizure" laws to protect us from officers stepping out of bounds and violating our rights, I do not know if these laws pertain to game wardens and our boats. And would they tell us if the did, probley not I would't either if I was a game warden. Wait a minute! what do I do for a living? Ops!
_________________________
"Life is tough!, it's tougher when your STUPID!!
"What don't kill you, will only make you Stronger!'

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#132811 - 12/30/01 05:33 PM Re: Illegal boat search?
Todd Offline
Bumpin the 6X9's

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 26239
Loc: Seattle, Washington USA
First off, there are two factors that make a boat search "legal" in Washington, one being the above-mentioned RCW, and the other being the little waiver of rights that we all sign on the bottom of our licenses (at least we used to, can't remember if it's still there).

That said, just because the state law says it's ok does not make it constitutional. Luckily, the standards for making a search under the state law and under federal and state constitutional law are pretty well spelled out in case law, and it's a pretty simple concept.

1. If you are standing near the river with a rod in your hand, those are "articulable" facts that you are fishing. Probably good enough if someone else told the gamie that you were fishing, too.

2. If you are fishing, they can ask to see your licenses and gear to see if you are in compliance.
This does include your boat, and could include your rig if there are articulable facts showing that your gear/equipment/game may have been stowed already.

Say you are steelhead fishing in a selective gear rules area, single, barbless, no bait, open for brats, closed for nates. You're out in your boat with a couple of buddies, pulled up on a bar, and the gamie shows up. You're fishing, so out comes the license. Also, let's see the hooks on your rods, make sure there're no barbs there. When they see your licenses, they see that one of you has punched a hatchery fish for the day. Pull it out, check for clipped fin.

That's probably it.

Unless, say, there's blood on your boat, and no punches on the punchcards. Or a fisherman upstream told them that you guys boated and kept a fish, and now he sees no punches. Time to search the boat.

What are they searching for? Either an illegally harvested wild fish, or an unreported hatchery fish. Where can they search? Wherever such a fish could be. That means under the seats, in the cooler, in the gear locker.

It does not mean in your vest pocket, or in your tacklebox, or in the little film canister that may or may not have film in it sitting in the tackle tray. The potential illegal fish could not be in those places, so there is no legal reason to search them.

All in all, it's a pretty lax standard, and it makes sense intuitively. As noted above, we should definitely welcome the intrusion, hoping that a few other folks are getting intruded upon, too. Too few game wardens out on patrol is a major problem for the fish and game of this state. If you've got nothing to hide, then what's the problem?

Last, but definitely not least, who spends a lot of time taking to fishermen almost every day? The game warden. Who's a good source of accurate and current information on what and where they're hitting? The game warden. Who's going to get that information, the jerk or the nice guy?

Fish on...

Todd.

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#132812 - 12/30/01 07:02 PM Re: Illegal boat search?
R Ridgeway Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 12/04/99
Posts: 288
Loc: Seattle
Scenario #1 I'm a game agent and you give me a bad time...so I'm thinking I check you very thoroughly.....this time and every time I see you. I'm probably thinking what does this aho have to hide and boy I would sure like to nail him with a fat ticket (and maybe you're illegal and I get my wish).

Scenario #2 I'm a game agent that meets up with a fully cooperative lawabiding angler that appreciates and welcomes my presence and makes it easy for me to do my job and check for appropriate compliance. I betcha this angler is on his way in less than five minutes and maybe I have some extra time to drive up river and catch a couple guys on a snag-fest with a few extra fish in their posession. And maybe I know some angling info that I pass on to you just because you're a nice guy.


Which scenario do you want to help playout?
I suppose there are other variations but not as far as I'm concerned.

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#132813 - 12/30/01 09:54 PM Re: Illegal boat search?
Doubletake Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/20/00
Posts: 265
Loc: Duvall, Wa.
Right on guys, I didn' get a real clear answer the last time this happened, but it appears to me after looking at the RCW again and the comments here they do have the right. I know I didn't start this thread, but thanks for the input. Good fishing to all.

Doubletake

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#132814 - 12/30/01 11:30 PM Re: Illegal boat search?
G-MAN Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 403
Loc: BELLINGHAM / EVERSON
Todd, Thank you, that was the answer I wanted to see printed. "Visiable, Probale Cause" As stated in the "Search And Seizure" laws. A game warden does not have the right to search your boat just because he's curious. He needs probale cause just as a police officer does, whether 1st hand evidence or "Hear Say". Yes I agree, "Be Polite!" They are just trying to do a job that will benifit us all. This has been one good topic that has educated many. Thanks. G-MAN {could that be Gov't Man?}

[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: G-MAN ]
_________________________
"Life is tough!, it's tougher when your STUPID!!
"What don't kill you, will only make you Stronger!'

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#132815 - 12/31/01 12:23 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
LittleZoZo Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 430
Loc: Rochester, WA USA
RobertAllen3, I'm afraid that I must take issue with your statement that you'd like to see the opinion of the Game Warden hold more weight with the courts.....Why? Why should the opinion of the Game Warden hold more weight than the opinion of anyone else? The Game Warden, State Patrol Officer, Police officer, etc. is nothing more than an ordinary dude like you or me. Fortunately, our legal system operates off of proof, not opinion. Game Wardens, just like the rest of us are prone to mistakes, and errors in judgment, and to allow their opinions to become "strong evidence" would seriously flaw our legal system. Case in point: About five years ago my father and younger brother were arrested for poaching a trophy Bull elk in a closed area.... A very serious accusation to say the least. When the Game Warden and a county sherrif searched my Father's truck (with his full cooperation) they found no weapons. When the Game warden asked what they were doing in the area, my father got mad and said "none of your damn business". Next thing you know, they were under arrest. When the case finally made it to court, the Game Warden and the sherrif both testified that even though they found no weapons in my father's truck, they still believed that he had poached the elk in question, because my father's truck matched a description of a truck that was seen fleeing the area of the kill at a high rate of speed. The Game Warden then went on to state that the only reason my father and brother could have been in the woods was to go kill something..... Why else would they have any business being up there? Needless to say, my father and brother were both aquitted, but it still cost them both a boat load of money in lawyer fees, missed work, etc. What would have happened if we lived in a society where a law enforcment officers' opinion were considered "proof"?
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If you get home and I'm not there, don't eat it.

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#132816 - 12/31/01 02:23 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
WesH Offline
Fry

Registered: 12/31/00
Posts: 20
Loc: Vancouver, WA

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#132817 - 12/31/01 10:42 AM Re: Illegal boat search?
LittleZoZo Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 430
Loc: Rochester, WA USA
WOW! That was a mouthfull!
_________________________
If you get home and I'm not there, don't eat it.

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#132818 - 12/31/01 12:39 PM Re: Illegal boat search?
G-MAN Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 403
Loc: BELLINGHAM / EVERSON
WesH, why not let them search your film canister? #1, You are giving up your Constitional Rights. #2 Your allowing a law officer, which you pay to enforce the law, to step out of thoses bounds, which as citizens, we have voted to be in place to protect us from "NAZI" tatics. If we don't stop "Illegal Search and Seizures" How far would it go? I'm sorry to say but, that "Ignorant" fellow that bonks a Nate is also under the same laws that protect us law abiding citizens. I'm sorry, I will not give up my Constitional Rights because of a few law breakers. Let's do our part, instead of a river side fight. Tell them you'll turn them in, that will make them think next time, if they don't think, TURN THEM IN!! Go to court, testify, but don't give up your rights or allow a law officers to step out of their bounds. LittleZoZo You are right, You can't rely on just one man's opinion, without evidence to stand in a court of law. About 30 years ago my father, a strict Law and Rules abiding man {my butt can contest to that} was duck hunting with my brother. They stopped shooting just before the time to stop. The guy on the other side of the lake did not, he kept shooting a few minutes past. They picked up their stuff and when they finally got to the road they were met by a game warden who wrote them Both! for shooting after hours even after they explained there is another guy on the other side. He didn't even go check. My father hasn't hunted since. That's alot of licenses, deer tags, stamp fees, ect, ect, lost over the last 30 years because the warden did not have any evidence. If you allow this to happen it will ony deter law abiding people, not criminals, from this great sport we take for granted. Some of you are saying GREAT! More fish. No, less fish. We need the revenue to pay for river and stream enhancements, game wardens to stop poaching, which is killing our Wild runs, education programs, Ect. See the bigger picture instead of just seeing ourselves.
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"Life is tough!, it's tougher when your STUPID!!
"What don't kill you, will only make you Stronger!'

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