I come from a place where if you want to use a boat, you need to go to a boat school, learn stuff, then seat exams..the courses depend, but go from 3 months from the basic Sailing permit (sail within 12 miles of the harbour, boats not longer than 35 feet, less than 70HP). then as you need to get further away or move up in boat, you need other courses.
If you get caught outside your "water" bubble, or with a boat different from what you are qualified, boats gets arrested by NAVY (allways NAVY, or MAritime Police, never Government)..but you are free to go..
This system is in place as far as I remeber, I have a Skipper's licence given to me at age 16, had to wait to be 18 to do the rest..Fred is now sailing under a "minor Competitive waiver" given by his club, but had to show he is preofficient to sail alone.. Fred can't go more than 6 miles out, and must be with the other kids, who are followed by a coach.
While I understand my American friends feeling that the licence maybe a cut of freedom...let me just tell you this..
Howe many boating accidents, or "Ronnie's" stories you hear coming from our side of the Ocean?
For the record, my licence, was given to me after I sat the exams and went to sea with an instructor, and the Government doesn't care where I go or what I do..They are re-issued after 10 years, time on which you just request a new one..
No one including the government controls me..but for sure..it makes me happy to know that the idiot with the 45 foot Sea Ray had to go to a school to learn how to operate his toy...
By the way..Maritime Police can board to check you have a permit for sailing that particular boat, no issurance company insures if you do not have a licence for that type of boat and area/type of sailing, and no marina accepts you inside without a licence...
Seems to me that more others than the Governement control it..
Me?? as far as I am concerned?? I agree with licencing..makes me better, safer, and above all, makes me confident that the idiot coming staright at me knows which way to turn...
The governement doesn't really care..you guys should see licencing as a proof of scolarity, not as cut to freedom...
BUT ABOVE ALL by licencing I am not saying the piece of paper..to me licencing means EDUCATION...the course, the learning, the going to a school for months to learn...the paper is just to prove you went and did it..
Kind alike European driving licences, takes us 6 months, and 25 driving hours with a car with 2 wheels, and 25 classroom hours, plus 3 exams, to get a driving licence, which by the way, is not an ID document, like in the US, for that we have ID cards.
Exams are done by the NAVY
That's exactly what I am saying and I totally agree with you.
Why should you have to have a license to operate a boat? Because you are a liability to yourself and others. Let me emphasize the others part... a liability to others
Regarding more boating driving accidents versus boating accidents, that is not a valuable statistic because: You are not showing a percentage of boat drivers/accidents to car drivers/accients. Also, I see the ski boaters smacking trailers all the time or the PWC'ers banging up their watercraft. Are those reported? However, what percentage of car acidents are reported?
Boating is more dangerous than driving a car... period. Yes, your car may be able to go faster, but it is also considerably safer than a boat. Boats do not have minimum crash requirements (especially a Tartan 34 where you cannot go fast enough to crash it). When you step out of your car, you step on dry land. Seat belts. Air bags. The list goes on. And need I mention one other point: it could be argued that a car, if not necessary, ALMOST necessary for 95% of Americans. No one has to have a boat. It is a luxury item.
And again, you cannot go buy a moped and drive it in our country without a license. Why in the world would you let people have a 10 ton killing machine??
And another thing, when I say a license, you guys seem to keep thinking about some crappy little drivers license course. I say, with increased tonnage, its gets serious - more like a Catpains License or similar. As far as I am concerned, make it the same test as with a 6pack. Have it administered and written by the USCG.
It would work. I have seen the bow ripped off a boat. I have seen a sunk boat with people hanging on. I have seen a burning boat. I have seen countless trailering accidents. Make them have a license, period. You want to weed out stupidity? Here's your chance.