Well, Hartley, the USA has really screwed this one up, if it is as we have been reading over the past few days.
The tall ships get around the passenger regulations by calling passengers volunteer crew, or similar.
Means the ship doesnt have to Survey, in Australian parlence.
That makes sense. We have a few Tall Ships over here (Enterprize, HMS Endeavour, One&All, James Craig..) and I'm sure that doesn't wash for them - they're either "in survey" or they don't leave the dock.
At least one of them has been a lot further at sea than HMS Bounty ever went: HMS Endeavour has been around the world at least once, playing a bit part in the filming of "Master and Commander" in the process.
The difficulty is going to be quite remarkable when the enquiry is held:
1) will the Coast Guard brush it under the carpet?
2) will the Coast Guard start requiring propper inspections of all tall ships, thus making them all unviable finacially?
3) will the government do some trick to save the tall ships?
One thing that might not be obvious in Australia is that there are a LOT of tall ships in the USA and people treat them with remarkable affection.... Vastly more affection than some would think justified.
Some might say this overly affectionate treatment is just not worth the lives put at risk.
The world has quite a few tall ships and they are astronomically expensive to keep up. Remember that story only a few months ago of the Argintinian navy tall ship that was commandeered by creditors when it arrived in Europe? The Argentinians couldnt pay!
We may not have anything quite like the Argentinian ship, but people over here do get seriously stuck into the (fewer) Tall Ships we have - a few of which really aren't worth repairing but they raise funds and do so anyway.
For example, one of the biggest lost causes in these parts is this one
. You can join up to be a Deck Officer if you like.. on a ship that will never float again!.. but they're preserving history and that's fine - just so long as nobody gets hurt in the process.