Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New Jersey
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I think it might be helpful to make a few distinctions..( maybe not)
Here in the U.S. within the Col Regs line, the Inland rules still apply. States cannot make any rules that conflict. However, they can make additional laws and regulations that they deem necessary to protect the interests and safety of the general public and the environment.
For the most part, we're not talking about going out to sea. ( though, you may need to take a course in order to leave the dock ;-) ).
The vast number of boaters out there plying " local" waters are not plotting courses, computing set and drift calculations and danger bearings, they are basically " piloting" . Meaning, that they are steering or driving boats, within sight of land, in channels, bays, rivers, harbors etc. They often own vessels capable of doing over 30 knots. They're water skiing, tubing, jet skiing, fishing, racing, etc etc.
I don't want to divert this into a thread about alcohol abuse, but the fact of the matter is, that there's often a mentality that boating and drinking go hand in hand. ( 1/3 of all boating accidents involve alcohol). 75% of the accidents are human error. I would venture to guess that they're not navigational errors but..steering errors..operator inattention, lack of knowledge of the ROR..etc etc.
While these state laws may impact the experienced sailor who's top speed under power or sail is 5 or 6 knots and irks the Josua Slocum in all of us; If they have a positive impact on reducing accidents then they're worth the inconvenience imo. In my jurisdiction, the boating license is now tied to a drivers license. If you behave badly on the water, you could not only lose your boating license but your auto driving privileges and visa versa. I think that fact alone, gets most peoples attention!
While I agree with many of the points Striker makes; if Bob, is more experienced and a better boater than 98 % of the recreational boaters then it should be a simple exercise for him to obtain a USCG license which would probably allow him to operate in any states' waters including Connecticut, without having to obtain a State Boating Certificate.
With regard to " Responsibility" I think the California example is an anomaly used for effect. I believe the Vessel's owner or leesee, whatever the case, would in most juristictions be held responsible for the actions of the vessel and then if " crew" members were steering at the time of an incident they would certainly be questioned and may share liability.
Last edited by Tempest; 06-26-2011 at 11:12 AM.