I was out in the West Passage on Sunday and heard the report on the VHF. I was single-handing, and busy trying to return to Greenwich Bay, so I couldn't follow the communication other than to hear a male voice stating that he had collided with another boat and someone was in the water. I am very sad to learn the rest of the story.
At one time I was opposed to manditory licensing for boating. However, as I have heard of more and more senseless boating accidents I have changed my mind. Today, anyone with a checkbook or credit card can buy and operate a boat, at least in the USA. I regularly see "go-fast-boats" with well over 600 horsepower flying past Warwick Neck at over 40 knots. It seems to me that boating, especially powerboating, is at least as dangerous as operating an automobile. I would like to give the COLREGS a chance to work by assuring that EVERYBODY is aware of what the rules are.
[EDIT] And it is not only powerboats. In 2016 I had a run-in with a catamaran race about half a mile from where this fatal accident happened. I posted this elsewhere on SailNet about it;
We were sailing wing on wing (main was on a starboard tack), returning to home port, and there was a serious race of about 50 little one-design catamarans (mylar sails, sailors in wetsuits, wearing helmets etc.) sailing across the entire channel. I advised the helmsman to adjust course slightly to give them more room (and get us away from them). A pack of about five catamarans continued to come toward us from the port quarter. Most of them gybed and sped away, except for one turd.
While trying to overtake us this idiot comes within 10 feet of our port side and yells; "Get outta the way. I'm racing!" to which I replied "Yes, and you are still obligated to follow the rules of the road." I tried to use my air horn to sound 5 blasts, but the horn malfunctioned (due to lack of use), and there was no sound. He didn't like this and let loose with a barage of explitives as he continued to overtake us, but he was now in the lee of my main. We maintained our course and speed, as we are obligated under COLREGS to do.
I was tempted to, and could have easily leaned over my lifelines and dope-smacked him without getting wet because he had now come within 3 feet of us. He had not yet hit or overtaken us and now, because he had no wind, his cat stalled. So, he crash gybes his little cat, all while yelling more explitives at us. I advised him that he should take a course in how to sail. His gybe put his weight on the leeward side of his little cat. Meanwhile, my boat continued forward and unblanketed his sail. His sail filled, and he capsized! I wished him "have a nice day..." and we continued on to our home port.
All this took place within view of the committee boats, and the rest of the fleet with whom we had no issue. He was their problem, and they could pick him up.
I try to avoid any close encounters with recreational boaters, and assume that NONE of them know the COLREGS.