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Hudson River Boaters say Patrols Violate Rights

by Alen Kanlic
 view of Hudson River near Tappan Zee Bridge

Hudson River boaters rail against what they say is disorganized security on the water.

Hudson River boaters say they have to endure constant security checks when all they want to do is have fun on the water.

Boaters say increased security has violated their civil liberties.  Since 9/11 authorities have stepped up patrols on the Hudson to safeguard potential terrorist targets, such as the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.  But, boaters like Lex Filipowski of Rockland County, say poor communcation between the many agencies that patrol the river has led to redundant checks and are a big nuisance to recreational boaters. 

Filipowski said one of his buddies had an especially hard time. “He took a trip from New York City to the Newburgh area in his boat, and he was stopped five times in a single day,” Filipowski said, “Each time he was stopped, he would show his receipt that he was [already] stopped, but every single agency did not care.”  Filipowski also said that many of the security checks are unwarranted and charged that authorities are hiding behind security to write tickets.  “It doesn’t warrant this heavy-handed treading of the constitution approach that the various river agencies are doing to the recreational boater," Filipowski said.

The boaters gathered a protest flotilla this weekend. 

Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smtih was the only law enforcer to return our call for comment.  He said he was surpised by the boaters' complaints and his agency would never board a vessel without probable cause. 



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