You many think you are the Captain.... - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 29 Old 06-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
Under Federal law the cutoff for being drunk is .1%
Most states it is .08%
But if you hold a commercial license, under Federal law it is .04%
I hold a 1600 ton Master with 2nd Mate Unlimited upon Oceans. And that means I fall into the third group... And this is a very good reason why I don't drink around boats of any sort. How about you??
And if the USCG tests you and it comes up to .09%, then they will turn you over to the local police in the state where it is .08%.

So be careful out there and go easy on the adult drinks.

Sober up!! that is the Law....
In Canada - zero tolerance, any level of impairment can get you charged.

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post #12 of 29 Old 06-24-2011
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Even though this has gone off course with the party drinks, The one reason I don't go out on other people's private boats is because if we are boarded and the LEO's find out that I have a license, they will automatically assume that I am the Captain, just because of that one small factiod. Especially when the owner is screwing up right and left....

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post #13 of 29 Old 06-24-2011
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A major reason for so many states seeing the need to enact such regulations is that there are so many people using watercraft who have absolutely no idea of the rules and customs of the sea. In my state, if you are over sixteen you can operate a watercraft, no training necessary. Giving a sixteen year old boy the keys to the family car without some form of driver training would be a foreign concept to many. Yet, sixteen year olds are given the keys to jet skies all the time.

Last edited by VetMike; 06-24-2011 at 09:18 PM. Reason: correct spelling error
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post #14 of 29 Old 06-24-2011
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I support my state's new requirements for safe boating certification. Although it does not guarantee safety, it is just enough of a hurdle to prevent the "impulse renters" from their joyriding.


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post #15 of 29 Old 06-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
Even though this has gone off course with the party drinks, The one reason I don't go out on other people's private boats is because if we are boarded and the LEO's find out that I have a license, they will automatically assume that I am the Captain, just because of that one small factiod. Especially when the owner is screwing up right and left....
Good point. Same with me when flying, as I am a commercial pilot with flight instructor ratings. Anything happens, the FAA can say I was PIC, even if I'm sleeping in the back seat.

Some would argue that point, as well as you're being responsible on a boat that you happen to be the only USCG licensed person, but another point that I've learned:

All the laws, rules, regulations and rumors you've ever seen written or spoken, are only the STARTING POINT for legal proceedings. Each case is different, with a different judge. Precedent does matter, but they are made to be challenged. And nothing begs challenge and change more than a defendant with deep pockets or a good insurance policy.

While it is often banned from courtrooms, I still use common sense on the water and air. That approach isn't bullet-proof, but its often the best we got.
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post #16 of 29 Old 06-25-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I have had this interpretation of "operator" presented to me.
It looks as though you reached a more responsive person than I did in my inquiries. However, the phrase "in charge of the boat" is open to interpretation. The person I corresponded with seemed to believe that it meant directing it's course, i.e., steering, and not being the owner, charterer, or equivalent. Considering the inevitability of non-marine people (legislative staffers writing laws, land based law enforcement personnel sent out in boats on security patrols, lawyers, courts, etc.) looking at the issue through the lens of motor vehicle operation and jumping to this conclusion, I think it's a lost cause.

Last edited by E32Strider; 06-25-2011 at 05:12 AM.
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post #17 of 29 Old 06-25-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Same with me when flying...
I'm an inactive pilot myself (gave it up to go cruising). The best instructor I ever flew with had me leave a signed statement of being PIC at the FBO desk if I wanted to log the time when we were just flying for fun or $100 hamburgers.

Aviation still has it right, at least under the FAA. Although, it's not understood by all pilots, the Pilot In Command is entirely responsible for the outcome of the flight. If the engine quits because a mechanic forgot to tighten a bolt, it's the pilot's fault. How can that be when he wasn't in the hanger? Well, if the pilot doesn't have sufficient faith in the maintenance personnel to take this responsibility for their actions, he should have the work done somewhere else or not fly the plane. This is the essence of responsibility and a vital part of a robust safety system. The fact that the AP (mechanic) may later be separately found at fault within his part of the system for not tightening the bolt does not remove the pilot's responsibility. This is the way it should be.

Obviously, and more often than not, pilots are forced by circumstances (like keeping their jobs or learning to fly at the only FBO in town) into not being able to live up to this ideal but it's a fine concept that promotes safety.

Lawmakers could have easily written this concept into boating regulations, at least for craft over a certain length (say 20 feet). Treating large cruising craft the same way as small outboards compromises safety in a host of ways.
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post #18 of 29 Old 06-25-2011
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I'm not a pilot; but I don't see how your example makes your point when it comes to actively operating a S/V or a M/V vessel.

To use the example in your article; if Bob couldn't legally steer or "operate" the vessel and Louise wasn't competent they shouldn't have left the dock.

Once they do and Louise operates the vessel she assumes responsibility for her actions.

Prior to these new boating laws, operators of recreational vessels needed nothing more than a checkbook to purchase and operate a vessel. So, I'm a little unclear how requiring that a person who operates a recreational vessel take a safety course..compromises safety.

Times change, there are many more ways to own/rent/operate a recreational vessel that there used to be. There are clubs, fractional ownerships, rentals, etc.

Do I believe that a taking one size fits all, one day classroom course or an internet course qualifies someone to operate a 50 foot cabin cruiser, certainly not. If I had my preference, you'd have to be rated on the vessel much like the USCG licensing. Given the resistance to the new state laws, I can only imagine what the uproar would be if people were required to hold a CG license.

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post #19 of 29 Old 06-25-2011 Thread Starter
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So, I'm a little unclear how requiring that a person who operates a recreational vessel take a safety course..compromises safety.
It doesn't and requiring safety courses or proof of competency isn't the issue I'm talking about. It's establishing those requirements in such stupid ways that safety is actually compromised.

Bob, in the example, is more competent to operate and command the vessel than probably 95% of recreational boaters out there. The only reason he can't legally is because of the land ownership. Louise, maybe on the first boat ride of her life, can steer the boat legally only because she doesn't own any land in CT. Do you think this makes sense? Do you think safety is promoted in this situation by making it illegal for Bob to steer?

Louise steering is not "operating" (at least in the real world) as long as Bob is standing watch and directing her. Bob could be navigating, assessing traffic, talking on the radio, getting weather reports, trimming sails, etc. Meanwhile, he's telling Louise to steer XXX, head for that light, come a bit left, etc. If Bob sets a course across a shoal or under the bows of a tanker, does it make sense for Louise to be legally responsible because she was turning the wheel? Once they get into harbor and heavy traffic, does it make sense for Bob to be unable to legally take the wheel simply because he owns some land in the state?

A well established and foundation principle of safety is use of all available resources. If you can safely steer a vessel with an autopilot by assessing course, speed, hazards, CPA of traffic, why not with a guest? It's never going to happen that all guests have operator cards. Fatigue is a major accident factor. Navigation and decision making doesn't improve with haste. Making it illegal for guests to act as helmsmen, which is in no real way "operating" does not contribute to safety. Forcing me to remain at the helm and try to talk an inexperienced guest through the process of sail handling can easily create greater risk of accident or injury than having them steer while I quickly and efficiently do the task after assessing traffic and knowing that they are not going to have to make any course decisions.

Letting a guest "take the deck" and be the primary watch stander while the Master of the vessel sleeps is a different issue. However, I've done it, even with fairly inexperience people. I tell them, "If you see anything you call me. I brief them about scanning the horizon, make sure they know how to maintain a compass course, etc. If they hit something, I consider it 100% my fault for improperly assessing their abilities or properly briefing them. Same thing when I have someone take the helm in the harbor so I can get the sails down.

The heart of what I am objecting to is the law taking away my willingness and right to accept the full responsibility for operating (in the real sense) a vessel. In accord with the responsibility of operation that I take seriously, I now feel that I have to disclose to guests, at least in CT and states with similar laws, that they may be held liable for my mistakes if I let them steer. That puts a damper on things. In a world where responsibility is a vanishing concept, this seems a shame.

Last edited by E32Strider; 06-25-2011 at 07:47 PM.
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post #20 of 29 Old 06-25-2011
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Sorry, strider, you have totally lost me. What is it about CT's laws that makes it illegal for their land owners to take the helm???


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