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Old 06-05-2007
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Licensing? among other things....

Is a "drivers license" required to pilot a sailboat? i know there are ASA courses but do you get licensed? or can any idiot (see SpeedoApe) get a boat and get hairy in a Harbor?
SpeedoApe

p/s not related questions but dont want to flood the boards....
1) I am still unsure of how electricity runs on a sailboat? Can you have a small fridge and dvd player (creature comforts) on a live aboard sailboat? or is it all igloo coolers and crackers?
2) where can i find the texas laws for sailing? i want to start off informed and not get in any trouble for going off and doing something stupid....
thanks,
S.A.
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Old 06-05-2007
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A license is only required if you carry passengers for hire...ie. charge folks for a ride.
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Old 06-05-2007
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USCGRET1990, you have posted in the threads i have made and been really helpful. just wanted to say thanks!
S.A.
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Old 06-05-2007
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nolatom will become famous soon enough
USCGRET's right, you'd need a Coast Guard Operator's license only if you were carrying passengers of freight for hire. So yes, any "idiot" can go out and try to sail.

Texas boating regs summary here:TPWD: Boating - Water Safety Digest

On small cruisers, you'll just have one or several batteries, so you're on 12 volts. This will power lights and instruments, but not a fridge, so it's icebox city. If you're large enough to have a generator, then you can have fridge and AC. Or you might have a shore power connection so you can have them at the marina at least.

You can take classes and get a USSA or ASA certificate, which may be a good idea and may help convince someone else to let you charter their boat without a skipper. But these are private certificates, not required by law.

Last edited by nolatom; 06-05-2007 at 11:05 AM.
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Your more than welcome.

1) I am still unsure of how electricity runs on a sailboat? Can you have a small fridge and dvd player (creature comforts) on a live aboard sailboat? or is it all igloo coolers and crackers?

You can pretty much have what ever you want depending on how big your boat is and how many of the expensive "Deep Cycle" batteries you want to buy and maintain. They'll have to be kept charged, which can be done when at the dock or underway using wind or solar power.
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Your inland lakes will be governed under state law, which is usually modified federal law. Waters open to the sea, like Galveston Bay and such, are governed by federal law.
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
However, some states are moving towards licensing boaters, much in the same way drivers are licensed. However, the state licensing and USCG licensing would still be separate and a USCG license would still be required if you carry passengers for hire.


Electricity on most larger cruising sailboats is handled via a house bank of batteries. The batteries are charged by one of several means: an alternator running off the boat's engine, solar panels, a wind generator, a seperate generator, or via an AC connection when at the dock.

You can have a small refrigerator, DVD player, stereo, etc. on a sailboat.

Unless you are boating only on an inland lake, I would highly recommend you get a copy of the International and Inland Regulations for Avoiding Collision at Sea or COLREGS. BTW, generally a good idea to have them aboard in any case, and required by law in the US for boats over a certain size.

While there may be state-specific laws, the COLREGS will cover you and give you a good idea of most of what is necessary for safe boating.
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Speedo... on a live aboard sailboat you can have just about anything you want. If you are plugged in at a dock while living aboard...there is really no limit as to what you can have since it is just like home and whatever DC powered stuff you have (like cabin lights) will be powered from your batteries which will in turn be charged by a built in charger running off A/C dock power.
In Texas...you will also probably need an air conditioner for living aboard and this is definitely a dock powered device.

If you are living aboard at anchor on the boat...you must have sufficient batteries to run the stuff you really need AND a way to charge those batteries back up as they run down. There are EXTENSIVE threads here on sizing battery banks and recharging and solar and wind power so you can slog through those and ask questions as you have more time.

Have fun!
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Old 06-05-2007
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Don't forget, when you are tied up to a dock, you can connect to standard 110 Volt AC electricity, just like a house. Then you can run your fridge and air conditioner.
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However, some states are moving towards licensing boaters, much in the same way drivers are licensed.

This is very true. I believe many states now require it if you're under a certain age. But that is not new, as I had to do it in Ney York state back in 1962!

But the overall (operator) licensing of everyone has been considered as far back as the 70's. Personally I think it's a great idea and don't know what the hold up is. It would be a good way to hold operators more accountable for their actions!!
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