HB 29 eliminates the authority of the chief of the division of watercraft, state watercraft officers, or law enforcement officers to enforce, stop, board, and conduct a safety inspection of any vessel unless:
- The owner voluntarily requests a safety inspection,
- There is a reasonable suspicion that the vessel is breaking the local or Watercraft and Waterways law,
- They are conducting a vessel safety inspection at an authorized checkpoint.
The bill also includes an emergency clause so the law will go into effect for the 2013 boating season.
LCS Legislation Status
Our Take on This Bill
The ACLU of Ohio supports legislation like HB 29 that allows law-abiding citizens to continue their recreational activities, like boating, without fear of random and unnecessary searches from law enforcement. Previously, under the guise of “safety inspections,” state or local law enforcement officers could board any watercraft and conduct a search. Unfortunately, boaters on Ohio’s waterways are still subjected to these searches by the U.S. Coast Guard. However, this bill goes a long way in reducing the amount of uncalled-for searches.
Agriculture and Natural Resources (H), Transportation (S)