I actually LOVE reading stories of adventures at sea, lost at sea, dying at sea, etc. Next to microbiology, that's my favorite book topic. So I enjoyed the story. But...
Are yall afraid of becoming financially liable for rescuing new (or aged) sailors?
In the US, at least, everyone pitches in for the rescue. The Coast Guard is funded in part through our tax money. The more rescues they have, the more resources are used, the more the budget needs to be increased.
And, as a former land SAR volunteer for over ten years, unneeded rescues aren't always about the money, but they are always about the rescuer's lives. Every last one of them initially volunteered to do what they do (even if they get paid to do it) and it's a human being putting his or her life on the line to help you. When that happens our first response after delivering you safely back to your family is to educate you and the community in the hopes that the next rescue operation is not pulled away from a potentially real
rescue where someone's life truly is in danger.
I have participated in CG SAR cases in the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays: drunk boaters falling overboard and getting swept down the Bays, drunk boaters deciding to shed clothing in the heat and jumping overboard and getting swept away (and let me tell you, that was no Adonis that we hauled out of the water), boaters running out of gas and drifting towards open ocean because they have no radio, and others who, with just a bit of common sense, could have avoided the situation.
Do you really want government regulation of the entire globe, including the oceans?
We're already there to a certain extent. International Maritime Law requires boaters to respond to another boater in distress as long as it does not put the responder or the boat in danger. That may mean doing as little as providing a radio relay to the nearest Coast Guard or providing coordinates to a boater near you who has no idea where he or she is. Or it may mean a commercial ship diverting to assist a recreational boater.
How many sailors are really statists with the govnt on speed-dial? I thought it was for more independently minded people.
All of them who carry a VHF and/or SSB radio or an EPIRB. So, that's most of them. A push of the button will put you in contact with or relay an emergency signal with your location to the nearest Coast Guard. Anyone with a smidgen of boater education would know this.
My soapbox is pretty tall when it comes to trying to help a fellow boater not become the next subject of a rescue posted to these types of forums. You may not initiate a rescue, but there may be no stopping a family member left behind from notifying the Coast Guard and in every US case a response must be started (I have no idea of the protocols of other countries).
Yes, there are "independently minded" sailors but that sometimes does more harm than good. For the most part we are a community, one that helps our members (oftentimes strangers) who are in need. In that respect the sailing community can be self-sufficient to a point because sometimes that help can be given without the need for a formal government rescue. But then there are others whose "independence" means they don't want to accept the advice and suggestions of those who have many more miles under their keel or who had been in a bad situation and survived. Those latter people who, without knowing anything, seem to know it all, are usually the ones sailing off ill-equipped and uninformed about the basics needed to calmly and safely extricate themselves from most situations that should not require a Mayday.