Originally Posted by JonEisberg
...it speaks also to the tangential discussion in this thread, and my contention that the latest and greatest technology does not necessarily, or by definition, make today's sailors better, or safer...
It makes us less safe. Look at the other discussion about spending $700 to make coastal cruising safer. The entire thread became a debate about which electronic device to buy to allow one to call for help, instead of a discussion about how to make the boat safer and self-sufficient. Once one buys an EPIRB and a liferaft, one can engage in all kinds of stupid on any ill-suited vessel in any conditions!
Technology is fun, cheap and easy, an apparent shortcut to the lengthy requirements of competence gained through study and experience. The same could be said about these questionable sailing certifications (although they are not cheap). Spending months taking the relatively inexpensive USCG Auxiliary or Power Squadron courses so one could really start to understand boating is out of the question - I want to learn how to sail safely in a week so I can go on a fantasy charter!