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Ah, DR? The CFR that you cite actually says:
"Each compulsory vessel, while underway, must maintain a watch for"
Emphasis on compulsory.
So if you are Joe Recreational Sailor, and your vessel is not required to be equipped with a VHF, you are not required to monitor it.
Now on the other hand, the FCC is required to base licensing fees on their internal costs. The FCC declines to explain why a VHF license for a boat is 10x more expensive than licenses for other services that cost the FCC about the same thing to support, and they decline requests for the cost basis information that is supposed to be available to support their fee strcuture for a VHF license.