What a crock. If you think the US would be safer if we did not make people get a drivers license you have utterly lost it. iF you think the same with airplanes... I woudl love to see you hop on a plane with someone without a license.
Once again, I feel your perspecitve is from 300 feet in the air. Mine is eye level. This reeks of the whole 'stand up all night and watch your anchor' debate.
It is not just a license, it is an education. It is not some, "Pay $25 here and get your license". It is an involved educational program that allows you to operate the vessel you have been qualified for. It does not have to be some 12 month course, but I think it should be more involved than 5 multiple choice questions.
And like it or not, you drivers license test, which I assume you have, provided the basics for you to be a driver. Ther est you learned on the job. Same with you captains license. If you are telling me that you were just born with the ability to drive both boat and ship without any educational process, I would lvoe to see your proof for that.
How do we learn it now? How do we learn how to drive a boat now, rules of the road, navigation, piloting, safety, etc? We read a book, have someone else teach us, or just get out there and take a shot at it. It is the last section of people who endager lives.
I still wholeheartedly support licensing and mandatory education, where I see the two combined. Sorry. I do.
As usual, CD plays fast and loose with my argument in a futile attempt to bolster his own. I did not comment on the desirability or undesirability of licensing pilots, drivers, or merchant mariners. What I plainly said was that licensing, in and of itself, does not produce safety. That is not an argument for licensing or against licensing. I happen to be in favor of licensing the above three categories of operators.
I am not in favor of licensing, or certifying, boaters for many reasons not the least of which is the libertarian argument. But that takes a back seat to the fact that I see no evidence that the vast majority of boaters operate in nothing but a responsible manner.
You're willing to create an immense bureaucracy to solve a problem of small magnitude and significance. For instance, do you need one license/certification up to 20' and then an upgrade if you buy a thirty footer?
"...your driver's license test...provided the basics for you to be a driver." Actually, no it did not. Driver's ed. did that. For some it was accomplished by learning from Dad on the farm. The license was a few easy questions and a drive around the block with the road lieutenant coupled with a promise to learn how to parallel park.
I'm also reminded of something I heard about scuba diving. Novice divers suffer a disproportionate number of the air embolisms that occur in divers while the bends are suffered mostly by experienced divers. That both can become injured in what can be a hazardous sport is indisputable. But the nature of injury has little to do with certification and everything to do with experience.
I also hope you're not color blind...any reasonable license would preclude you from operating a boat, as it does receiving a USCG issued license. As rigorous as the CG license is, it only tests you on book or paper problems. You have to be able to reduce a sun line and noon observation and derive the latitude and longitude but you need show no evidence of actual ability with the sextant itself. Another words, all you're tested on is classroom knowledge. I'd submit that a crash jibe looks one way on paper, or in print, and quite differently on board.
Lastly I'd offer that the vast majority of accidents that happen are not a result of lack of license, lack of training, or even lack of experience. They are the result of simple misjudgments that developed into something much more consequential. Most of the guys I've rescued with fuel/water issues with their motor knew they had water in the fuel before they left! They figured they'd deal with it; then the wind came up!
And you know, I'm also getting that old feeling again about one of your posts. The one where one of the enlightened liberal persuasion is about to take away some of my basic liberties in pursuit of the greater good as viewed by himself and other's like him. I'm just waiting for you to ask, "what about the children?" You seem to have a pretty specific idea of just the right level of training for the sailor. I'm surprised at that because I have absolutely no idea of what level of mandated training is reasonable, and I'm not only licensed but have taught those seeking their license.
I don't care much that you mock my notions of a proper anchor watch. I do care that you blithely invoke the idea of licensing without an understanding that anyone licensing you is going to tell you that you must have a visual anchor watch and that solo sailing is inherently unsafe. But then, that's what you get when you invite the government in to regulate you. And we call those people who persist in thinking that it'll be different in this case liberals. Their faith in government knows no limits, nor any reality.