I don't have a problem having a beer or something underway. I am cautious about it though. Typically I wait until I am at anchor and "secure" before having much more than that. But I have kids and may be a little more cautious than some.
I have no problem with a beer, or as it gets colder something with a bit more kick, while underway. I just don't understand how so many people feel that alcohol is required on a boat to have a good time.
I mean - there isn't much time to drink a beer while hiked out on the trapeze at 10kts on a Hobie.
I guess my argument is whether having a license or a in depth training/education program in place would make boaters (esp the Sea Ray folks) more conscious about the killing power they have control of. I would like more people to be educated in right of way and basic nautical piloting, etc. Crap, how about just teaching them how to anchor to protect them and others!!??
I would agree that it would lead to higher expectations for boaters - but I am not sure it would change those that are really bad.
I was talking to a few people at the coffee shop, and they were complaining about how no one would let them merge in a construction zone. Turns out they were literally waiting until they were at the very end of the "lane ends" lane. They felt it was the fault of all those people they had sped past that weren't letting them in. I always thought people who did that knew they were being jackasses and didn't care. Turns out they actually think they are being more right then the rest of us because "the road is there and we are supposed to use it."
The people that do those crazy things aren't doing them because they don't know better. They are doing them because they actually think they are right in doing it. I am not sure how much a class would change that.
Of course I still think it would be worth the effort to try. I would like to think you are right that it would make a difference, but I am just not sure.
I have been close to f/t on the water since about 1995. Almost without exception, it is the motor boaters that scare the crap out of me. A license is not going to suddenly give someone common sense or remind them of the necessity to keep some level of sobriety at 35kts at night. But at least it might help most of us/them realize the danger they put themselves and everyone else in when you get behind the wheel of a boat.
I was sailing my Hobie Cat into the beach where it is stored, and had been on that tack for probably about 5-10min. On the right side of the Hobie beach there is the channel out to Lake Michigan. On the left side, a small channel to a marina and ramp. A powerboat turns the corner at the channel from Lake Michigan towards the Marina. I am within the marked swimming area and moving slowly towards the beach. The power boat honks his horn. I look over and figure it must just be the little kid next to the father having fun. Horn honks again and I get the middle finger.
Note: I have the right of way. I am about 25-35ft off the beach. He is motoring through the marked swimming area.
That isn't just a lack of knowledge. It is just a jackass who does what they want. I am not sure his behavior would change after a class.
Of course he wasn't really doing anything life threatening _that_ time. And maybe you are right - maybe he would be safer after a class (though probably still a jackass