Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New Jersey
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Re: Are You The Operator Underway?
I completely understand your perspective of the buck stops here re: tradition. etc. I certainly assume that level of responsibility on my vessel, regardless of who's at the helm.
That " Person in Charge" works well for vessels that carry more than one passenger. I think the challenge came with the advent and proliferation of the PWC. where there's only one passenger/operator. One solution could have been to only require Jet ski operators to take a course and be licensed. I believe that some states have done just that.
The Navy model works well at sea where there's plenty of room and time to make course adjustments. And the fact that they require you to stay clear. On crowded inland waterways with a ton of go-fast boats; the closing rate of two power vessels meeting or passing in close quarters imposes a much shorter decision making period.
Another consideration that probably played in to the equation was alcohol use. If I recall correctly Alcohol was involved in some way in 1/3 of the approximately 650 boating related deaths in the US last year. Here, in NJ at least, your boat operators license is now linked in part to ones drivers license. The top 6 factors in all the fatalities were: Operator inattention, Operator inexperience, Improper lookout, Excessive speed, Rules violations and Alcohol use. All operator related.
Lastly I think there was a desire to inform the boating public that life jackets save lives.
71 % of boating fatalities were from drowning of those 85% were not wearing a life jacket.
In my state, it's a 7 hour course that can be done online and a 1 hour in-person exam.
The certificate issued has no expiration date. Most US states extend recipricol privileges, So take it once..and you're done. I think there are many government regulations that are more costly and intrusive in our lives. Asking a boater to take one safety course/exam in their boating life seems fairly reasonable and may benefit us all. We do it for cars, motorcycles, hunting, Scuba Diving, etc. Why not for boating?
I understand the loss of Tradition ( 3 generation Navy family). I just don't see that it's a major inconvenience.
Last edited by Tempest; 07-02-2013 at 08:48 AM.