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  #21  
Old 06-21-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

Quote:
can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if each state established an ASA style set of courses and required all boat operators to take them? While I support such an idea, it isn't going to happen and the best we will get is something that mirrors automobile licensing whcih obviously is not very effective.
Don't be so sure. I worked in the USCG boating Safety Program for 25 years. In the mid 70's you didn't even dare mention mandatory education, now many states have it. Mandatory life jacket (I always hated the term PFD. Someone at HQ finally got some sense) wear was also undiscussable. Mentioning it, as you said, would cause an uproar. But now we have mandatory wear for children, PWC use, and some other situations in some states. Limits on alcohol consumption on boats was unthinkable. Now we have limits at both the Federal and state levels. People are coming around. Why?

Actually it is partly the fault of the boating industry. All the GO BOATING programs and other marketing programs have caused a huge increase in the number of boats and boaters. They have good intentions though, and support education. But far too many people just buy a boat and get in and go. Probably Bayliner started the trend with their all in one, turn key packages. All you needed was money or a loan and you were a boat owner.

All of this has flooded (forgive the pun) the water with people and boats, people who don't know what they are doing for the most part. So some means must be devised to force them to get at least a basic education in the rules and regulations before they kill themselves, or someone else. Call it what you like, mandatory education, licensing, basic boat education, what ever. It is a necessary evil if we are all to stay safe on the water. On the lake where I am, I won't go near the lake on a summer weekend because of the idiots. They not only ignore basic courtesy, they also break state boating laws repeatedly, and the enforcement on this lake is minimal.

As for the statistics, a few insights. I know the person who does this. That's right, the one and only. The USCG now depends on the states to collect the data and submit it to the USCG. And one lone guy has to compile it all, and turn out the report each year. Back in the 70's and 80's there were 4 or 5 people at HQ that did this, And one in each Coast Guard District to collect the accident data. Back then they had less data to work with. I was the one of who collected accident reports for the states of NY, NJ, PA, DE, CT, NH. And that was just collection. So it is an enormous task. Yes, more analysis needs to be done, but that is left up to you and others.
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  #22  
Old 06-21-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

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Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
Let's not lose sight of the fact that one of the most compelling statistics is that, of 533 drowings, life jackets were not being worn in 415 of the cases.

Interestingly, if I read this and the state's boating laws correctly; In the two states with the highest number of fatalities: California and Florida; California does not have mandatory boater education class and Florida has a requirement for those born after 1988 ( 24 and younger at this point)

AFAIK, New York only requires jet ski operators to attend a safety class...NY fatalities are going in the wrong direction.

For those that oppose mandatory education for everyone...

I suppose if the authorities really wanted to dramatically reduce the boating deaths they could make it mandatory for everyone on recreational vessels 26' or less to wear a life jacket, In those states where the majority of the deaths occur. There were 118 drownings in canoes and kayaks and 253 in open motor boats. ( probably under 26 ft. I didn't check)

I'm not proposing that. But, here in my state of NJ, every single operator of a motorized vessel MUST take a course, and we average about 8 deaths a year. While, California and Florida average over 100 deaths a year and have much looser regulations.

Seems like a more targeted solution would be in order...if saving lives is what we're after.
For any kind of meaningful statistical inference, you need to find the ratio between the number of fatalities versus the number of boaters for each state and compare that number. Since Florida and California most likely have more boaters than any other state, they should be expected to have the highest number of boating fatalities.

As an example of this concept, looking at the data, there are more injuries and fatalities on Saturdays than any other day of the week. This does not mean that you should avoid boating on Saturdays because that day is more dangerous; it just means there are more people boating on that day of the week.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Training clearly improves operator capability. Whether the operator uses that new capability is another matter. Rarely are there arguments where the truth lie between the extremes more than this. Good training would undoubtedly reduce accidents. Just think about the basics of red and green navigation keeping boaters off the rocks. However, there are many people who are untrainable or just won't care about what they were forced to learn.
Yes, the "good" being the can of worms. To me, "good" implies more than quality instruction and includes training like you get at good ASA certified programs. It also implies that performance standards are met and failure is a possible consequence. Can you imagine any state instituting a boater education, taining and licensing program in which people actually fail to qualify?
I guess I have just become cynical about this, but there is a difference between education and training. Using the pilot example, one can read the books all day long, but without "real time in the cockpit training", one does not become a qualified pilot and until a certain number of hours of such experience is reached, may not carry passengers for money.
Meanwhile our macho young man blasts off on his 14 foot overpowered ski boat and, well you know the rest. He may know; "speed kills", "don't drink and drive", "pay attention to the road" and "you are responsible for your passenger's safety", but he is caught up in the thrill of the moment and lets all that knowledge go.
By the same token, how many young men have grown up under the tuteldge of their fathers and can take the family boat out for a safe and enjoyable voyage? Probably a few here on sailnet.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Statistics aside, lifejackets work, if they don't end up saving your life, at least they should find your body.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

In 2011, there were 758 accidental deaths in the US while boating. Overall, I'd say boating of all kinds is pretty safe. According to the CDC, in 2009, there were 31,758 accidental poisoning deaths in the US. That's 31,000 more people dead from mistakingly gargling with peroxide (or whatever) than lost thier lives while boating. Perhaps we should all be required to take a poisoning prevention class, too?

While the loss of life is of course regretable, 758 deaths in a year is really small.
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  #26  
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

I figured out that the number of deaths per registered sailboat is about the same as the number of deaths per automobile. Now, admittedly I do spend more time in my car than in my boat.
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  #27  
Old 06-21-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

The more I think about it, the more I think that any training requirement should focus on whether you are a danger to others, more than yourself. I don't think we should regulate the risk an adult decided to take on for themselves. However, having passengers is different.

I wonder if there is any way to narrow down the stats to how may passengers are hurt.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

The best, truest measure of risk is the length of exposure to that risk. So If we could actually measure how many hours people are on the water and devise some way of rating the exposure to risk, then we would have a good measure. But risk is different for a sailboat than it is for a PWC, or a ski-boat, or a large motor yacht. So this is not a viable means when talking about boats. So for years it was based on accidents and fatalities per 100,000 boats, which is really not a very good measure. In the early 2000's the USCg started using a risk based measure but again it based on how many boats and how many people and so on. The model used is better than before but it still needs better data on actual exposure hours.

Training is definitely the way to go, and as was said most of us old fa..s got it at the hands of our fathers or grandfathers, and got a good chewing out if we made a mistake. That is not the case anymore. There are a lot of people buying boats, and the closest they have ever been to the water is the local swimming pool. They buy the sales pitch that you can just fire up and go.

This is not necessarily true on the sailboat side. Most people who buy sailboats have started out young and learned in dinghies.

And yes, actual hands on training, operating a boat, being required to navigate from one place to another, and showing that you know how your boat handles are the ideal. But this is not politically acceptable. It took the USCG over twenty years just to get the states to buy in to making people pass a test. Have you taken the test? I took Washington's test without any prior study, or even looking at their boating handbook, and missed 2 questions, both dealing with local regulations. The kind of stuff you need to read the states booklet to find out. If someone cannot pass this test they have no business being on the water, it's so simple.

Adding a hands on test would really be a hurdle. Have any of you taken a driving test or had a son or daughter take the test recently? Even these are so elementary it's pathetic. When my son took his hands on driving test in Maryland, he never had to take the car out of the parking lot. He showed he could start the car, maneuver around some cones, and back into a parking spot. What about traffic? nothing.

Would a test like that add any to the safety of boating? I doubt it. SO until some one comes up with a way to test someone, using the type of boat they own, then it will be worthless. Perhaps some kind of computer simulation that could simulate different types of boats, and different conditions (Lakes, rivers, sounds, ocean) then that might be useful.
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  #29  
Old 06-21-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
This is interesting, an argument in favour in boating instruction.



Just slightly over 1% of accidents involved sailboats. Almost 50% were open motorboats.

Must reading.
Jackdale, I didn't read the word "license" anywhere in your original comment so I'm not sure how that got started. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you were hinting at the wisdom of learning how to safely operate a boat from an experienced source prior to just "heading out" on the water. To be honest, I've been straddling the fence on whether or not to take classes. They can tally up to quite a bit of dollars. I'm not so concerned about splitting hairs here, but it definitely looks like there is some return on the investment. Ditto X2 on wearing life jackets.

I don't want to see government step in and tighten their grip on boaters but I would like to see more personal responsibility displayed in a voluntary manner. Whether a person gets instruction through a school, by boating with someone more experienced for awhile, or some combination of the two (this was my plan), the skipper absolutely needs to know how to keep him/herself and crew safe as well as others around them. In order to do that, IMHO, that means knowing what you're doing. I must agree with you that these statistics give instruction a favorable mark.
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  #30  
Old 06-23-2012
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Re: USCG 2011 Boating Statistics

Dean Instruction = learning from others experience. Expereince = learning from your mistakes. Success teachs nothing.

The ROI comes from less damage and wear and tear on your boat and crew.

I would like to see personal responsibility, I just too see too many incidents where it is sadly lacking. Like most laws, they are aimed at a minority.
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