Re: Are You The Operator Underway?
I think someone must have posted this before because I recall reading your article Roger.
My take, is that the long history of the sea began to change in part with the advent of Jetskis.
Every state is different, but they all seem to be moving toward a NASBLA approved course and an "operators" card/license; some more slowly than others. Here in NJ and in many other states it applies to " Power driven vessels". A sailboat under power is a Power driven vessel, a sailboat under sail alone is not. So you can turn the wheel over to anyone you want, as long as you're sailing and not motoring.
While one needs to follow State laws, you are still also required to comply with the Colregs while on federally controlled waters. ( re: proper lookout vs autopilot)
The " operator" of a motor vessel is no different than an operator of a car. Just because I'm in the right hand seat, doesn't mean I can let an unlicensed driver, drive my car. Even if that operator has 40 years of driving experience. Again, I think the focus is on power boats and speed etc.
For boats, if someone has that level of experience and wants to mitigate all the technical limitations of individual state laws..they can obtain a CG license and they'd be allowed to operate in most if not all states. Even though, a CG license requires no knowledge of how to operate a Jet Ski. lol.
Yes, the courses are easy, the exams are easy, their focus is on the small open vessel where most of the accidents and deaths occur. Everyone gets caught in the net though.