Originally Posted by jephotog
It am not against putting all the greatest electronics on board you can find, but would hope these are backed with a solid understanding of the underlying seamanship. My experience is this is less often the case.
I am pretty sure some of the people who sail are like those who fly. They fall into a range of types from those who always wanted to sail and can finally scrape up enough to own their first boat, to those who have a bunch of money and want to take on another hobby. The one difference is that in aviation you have to pass an FAA standardized and relatively demanding test to become a pilot then every other year you have to prove your skills to a flight instructor to maintain that right and even with that there is a percentage of people with unsafe practices.
There is no standardization for someone who wants to go sailing, all you have to do is buy a boat. You don’t need to have any experience, pass a test, insure the boat, and the boat does not even have to be seaworthy. The only limitation is what the skipper sets for himself and crew.
People are more willing to set off with limited knowledge or seamanship skills with the addition of EPIRB and Chartplotter than they would without these tools. Because of the technology on board they are more comfortable with the challenges of navigation and the risks with the chance of being saved if they got into trouble. ...
I agree with that, except here for having an unlimited boat licence (needed for sailing without restrictions) the schooling time and needed amount knowledge is not very different than the one to have a flying licence. On many European countries it is similar even if there is not a uniform legislation about that.
Being old enough and having been poor enough to have navigated planes and sailboats only with the help of a compass a clock and a log (air or water speed) I understand the value of basic navigation skills has a base to understand and work with any modern electronic navigation device, not to mention to pass without in case of a malfunction.
Of course, modern electronics are great in what regards navigation and I have them as everybody else but I agree they had induced a sense of easiness that was not previously existent. when people ventured on a voyage on a boat they had already mastered navigation and that would take necessarily many years where seamanship was being acquired.
The electronics make the life easy in what regards navigation and some people now buy a boat and without previous experience go on long cruises and voyages.... but the sea and the wind are as they have always been and the seamanship on those cases had not been acquired and is nonexistent. A recipe for potential disaster.
In most of Europe there is a system of progressive mandatory licences that somehow lessens that risk. It depends from country to country but basically there are 3, 4 licences till you can have an unlimited one and you are not allowed to take them all at the same time, a given time between each licence is required so this in fact diminish the risks of someone going offshore without knowing anything about sailing and without any seamanship.