It is important to know what a country's homeland security officials are looking for if you boat in and out of a nation's waters.
Homeland security is a term used to describe the defense of a nation's home territory. Rather than applying to the military as a whole, which may deploy to fight foreign wars, homeland security applies only to the local protection of a country and its people. In order to uphold this defense, homeland security teams have to find and eliminate threats. Therefore, specific behaviors and activities are regarded as threats to homeland security and therefore violations worthy of investigation and perhaps action, which could include prosecution. By operating a boat that goes in and out of a nation's waters, you are not only responsible for what you bring in and out of the country but you must also be aware of and observe a set of rules.
Threats to homeland security
A major focus of homeland security is what people bring into the country. It does not matter if you are a citizen, a citizen of an allied country or a known terrorist. If you are bringing weapons into the country on a boat without any good reason, (for example, you are a soldier or you are a legitimate arms dealer) you are a threat to homeland security. Smuggling weapons is a serious offense.
Threats to homeland security are, essentially, anything that can put the integrity of a nation and the safety of its people at risk. The objective of homeland security organizations is to identify these threats.
Any weapon that is illegal or can be used against a large group can be considered a threat to homeland security, particularly if the person or group with the weapon exhibits suspicious behavior. This also applies to caches of weapons. They may constitute a collection, but there are situations where it is clear that a cache is in preparation for an attack.
In this modern day and age, firearms and explosives are not the only weapons that can be used to harm a country. Information is almost, if not more, destructive than traditional weapons today. Leaked information can lead to endangering people troops and the safety of an entire country. For example, if sensitive information about country's defenses were leaked, it would be easier for terrorists or enemy nations to devise a plan to get around them.
Activities that violate homeland security and can result in punitive actions
Acquiring and/or collecting radioactive materials is considered very suspicious. Some individuals need to use these materials for research or in particular trades, but it is rather certain that if someone has no legitimate reason to collect this stuff, they are going to arouse the suspicion of homeland security officials. There is likely no reason you would have anything like this on a personal craft. Keep it that way, if you do not want to go to jail.
Collecting bomb-making materials and weapons are other ways to make officials nervous. People in many countries have a right to bear arms. They have a right to protect themselves. Furthermore, some people are just paranoid. Nonetheless, it looks bad when someone has all the right tools to hurt a lot of people.
Homeland security nautical rules to be aware of
Passing within 100 yards of a U.S. Navy vessel is strictly prohibited. Keep your boat away from them, unless advised otherwise. Failing to adhere to this law can result in up to six years in jail and fines of up to $250,000.
The United States Coast Guard designates several areas where it is unlawful to stop. You cannot anchor in these safe zones. It is important to familiarize yourself with these areas in the places you are boating. This, and any other suspicious activity, is cause for a Coast Guard response and perhaps even search and detainment.