I agree with you Chuckles, The following is off the top of my head as I don't have time to check my facts at the moment.
To hold a OUPV you must be 18 and can be a non-citizen. 180 hours of sea time. For the small boat sailor the license can be restricted down to 5 tons.
Masters, 21 years old and a citizen, 360 days for sea service. can be issued starting at 5 tons. (My wife has 25 ton Masters)
Yes, to get your sea time you have to make a commitment to it.
I would also like to see some type of recreational boating license or education course before they can operate a boat. hopefully it would make safer for all of us