Maybe that's the intent of the requirement, if so fine by me. I'm satisfied with meeting my own knowledge and experience standards. I'd like to see a recreational boaters licence tho - it would help with insurance.
In Canada specifically B.C. by the year 2009 every recreational boater will be required by law to have a PCOC card (Pleasure Craft Operators Certificate). Unfortunately it only consists of 35 multiple choice (common sense) questions that most any somewhat seasoned boater could answer. At least it is a start, perhaps it will become more stringent over the years. As for insurance the company I deal with provides a 10% discount for possesion of a Power Squadron certificate. Unfortunately one must get a minimum of 80% of 100 multiple choice questions correct to pass and they are not so easy as the PCOC ones, but you get out of the PS course what you put into it, invest lots of time and study and you will get a good grade not to mention much valuable knowledge. The PS course lends credibility to the saying "You don't know what it is you don't know until you find out what you don't know"