Senior Smart Aleck
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Richmond, Virginia
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Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew
The flying analogy only goes so far. There is mandatory licensing for pilots. Pilots must master a complex body of technical knowledge to perform adequately. There are regulations, mandatory oversight and inspections of commercial planes. An aircraft accident can cause damage not only to the captain and passengers, but also innocent third parties on the ground. The explosive nature of fuel creates far greater risks than a boat sinking at sea. Passenger planes carry indestructible black boxes that record every decision made in flight. A federal agency conducts post-accident investigations.
In contrast, recreational boating is largely unlicensed and unregulated, which is great. Anyone can buy a boat and sail anywhere he or she chooses, no matter how foolish that decision may be. While there is a body of technical knowledge that should be understood, some learn on the fly or not at all. In the absence of any strict regulatory scheme and licensing, common sense, problem solving and good judgment become critically important. Many of us believe experience is not the be-all and the end-all for good decision-making on the water.
Yes, the Coast Guard requires certain licenses for those professionals who take on greater responsibilities, but almost anyone can get a license with study and the requisite time on the water.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. All humans make mistakes. This listserv serves an extremely important educational function in analyzing these incidents. We all benefit. Many of us have internalized the lessons learned and naturally view those who ignore them as deficient. We usually only learn about these incidents because the Coast Guard has to step in and rescue the offenders.
The common refrain of "I wasn't there so I won't judge their decisions" is B.S. Hey, most of the boat owners on this listserv are at least moderately financial successful people in life. Many of us serve as researchers, analysts, consultants and advisers. We give opinions everyday on things of which we have no first-hand knowledge or observation, but which have learned about through research and analysis. Get over it. That is the way the world works. If only those with first-hand observation are qualified to comment on an incident, 99% of our advances in life would disappear...
Finally, there is not a person here who has not acted like an idiot at some point in their lives (or every day for that matter). Calling someone an idiot is hardly an offense or a hindrance to learning. Often it is merely humorous and entertaining. If one has an ego so inflated that one's self-image is punctured by name-calling, perhaps ongoing therapy should be in the cards.
Last edited by jameswilson29; 07-13-2013 at 09:53 AM.