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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

The best, truest measure of risk is the length of exposure to that risk. So If we could actually measure how many hours people are on the water and devise some way of rating the exposure to risk, then we would have a good measure. But risk is different for a sailboat than it is for a PWC, or a ski-boat, or a large motor yacht. So this is not a viable means when talking about boats. So for years it was based on accidents and fatalities per 100,000 boats, which is really not a very good measure. In the early 2000's the USCg started using a risk based measure but again it based on how many boats and how many people and so on. The model used is better than before but it still needs better data on actual exposure hours.

Training is definitely the way to go, and as was said most of us old fa..s got it at the hands of our fathers or grandfathers, and got a good chewing out if we made a mistake. That is not the case anymore. There are a lot of people buying boats, and the closest they have ever been to the water is the local swimming pool. They buy the sales pitch that you can just fire up and go.

This is not necessarily true on the sailboat side. Most people who buy sailboats have started out young and learned in dinghies.

And yes, actual hands on training, operating a boat, being required to navigate from one place to another, and showing that you know how your boat handles are the ideal. But this is not politically acceptable. It took the USCG over twenty years just to get the states to buy in to making people pass a test. Have you taken the test? I took Washington's test without any prior study, or even looking at their boating handbook, and missed 2 questions, both dealing with local regulations. The kind of stuff you need to read the states booklet to find out. If someone cannot pass this test they have no business being on the water, it's so simple.

Adding a hands on test would really be a hurdle. Have any of you taken a driving test or had a son or daughter take the test recently? Even these are so elementary it's pathetic. When my son took his hands on driving test in Maryland, he never had to take the car out of the parking lot. He showed he could start the car, maneuver around some cones, and back into a parking spot. What about traffic? nothing.

Would a test like that add any to the safety of boating? I doubt it. SO until some one comes up with a way to test someone, using the type of boat they own, then it will be worthless. Perhaps some kind of computer simulation that could simulate different types of boats, and different conditions (Lakes, rivers, sounds, ocean) then that might be useful.
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