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Old 10-31-2008
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Boating, Passagemaking, and Licensing

I think many of us have been following the adventures of Ronnie. If not, take a peek at this thread: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/genera...scued-sea.html

We have discussed licensing on this board many times. I bring it up again now as this is a perfect example of leaving the shore unprepared and not equipped for the passage ahead. I have read many threads lately on this board and get the feeling that some people wake up one day, decide to sail around the world, purchase something that floats... and are on their way. Either they are too ignorant of the sea or do not care about the potential impacts on life, possessions, or money to take the time to be a responsible boater. In essense, they could care less about seamanship.

Some of these people make it. Fortune smiled on them. Some are killed. The others rely on the technologies of today (EPIRB, for example) for someone to come and save them. It is these people that primarily concern me.

I for one have weighed the whole licensing issue for some time and have finally come to the conclusion that it is warranted. I think the licensing should be based upon length/tonnage. I feel it should include PWC and bass boats and ski boats. They are not immune from being killed by the water.

I realize many of you dissagree with this as you are likely those that have taken the time to apprecaite the sea. You value seamanship. You realize your lack of preparation or education can kill yourself or others. However, there are many people that do not and will never care unless forced to take some responbsibility for their actions. I feel a license is that first step. You cannot fly a plane without a license. You should not be able to drive a boat without a license. Is a plane really that much more dangerous that it should require a license while a boat should not? I do not think so.

THoughts?

- CD
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