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Cruisingdad 06-08-2007 06:11 PM

Should Boating be Licensed
Not sure whether to put this here or in the Seamanship thread. I elected here.

So, should boating be licensed? Should you have to take classes and pass a test to be able to operate a vessel. On top of that, should it be categorized like in driving a car: This tonnage rated, this tonnage rated... etc.

I bet many of you are saying: NO! HELL NO! THat is what I have always said... until my partner told me another one of his stories. Now I am not so sure.

Read on and see if you can understand where I am coming from:

He has a Sea Ray 340. Most people already know what I think about these boats. However, be as it may, he represents the typical, large, MV.

He went out about a week or so ago. ANother evening cruise through south Florida. He grabbed a single (1) Bear Claw as a snack on his way to a restaurant many miles away. He had never been to this restaurant before, and never at night. So, he blares his SR at a half plane (as all SR's seem to do) through the ICW. As you know, on that model (and most of their models), at a half plane you cannot see what is in front of you (well, except what is WAYYYY ahead of you). Although, you do get a great view of the clouds. SO, he does what he always does and steers by his Chartplotter and radar. Unfortunately, he does not know how to work them very well. If you do not push find ship, you can track off the map and not realise it, right?? Well, he did. He put that tub so far off of the ICW and the water that most of the front of the boat was not even hardly in the water.

You ain't backing off of that one... but he tried. It lasted about a minute. Then his engines overheated and shut down.

He did what every good SR owner would do... and called Sea Tow. They came out and walked to his boat as their flat bottom would not even get to him. THey were in ankle deep water by the time they got there. "Well, Captain... we ain't gettin' you off of this till the Tide comes in. And by the way, this is considered a hard grounding and that will costs you $2,000. See you tomorrow at 3:00 pm."

ZZZZzzzzzppppppppp. They were out of there!! (I am sure laughing all the way and counting the money).

Well, they now had one bear claw between him and his wife for dinner, breakfast, and lunch the next morning. Luckily they had a TV and plenty of Vodka. Thus, he decided to watch a little of the tube (after several vodkas) and flipped on the generator so he could watch his 12 volt TV (you do not need a gen to run your 12 volt TV). Oh well. You can guess how long that one lasted... not even a minute before it shut down too.

In an effort to be extra safe, he turned on all his lights (including running) that night to make sure everyone could see him (should there be hover craft out there, I guess).

There are many more entertaining pieces of this story, including the eating of the single Bear claw between them over 24 hours. But in the end, he got off, thanks to Sea Tow. Obviously his props are not looking good and his engines are not doing really well. You laugh... but this is at least the fifth or sixth time this has happened.

He is not the only driver whose seamanship skills are... lacking. His total lack of understanding of navigation, safety, seamanship, and even his boat laid him up on the hard for a day. However, no one was killed. Still, the question comes up:


I am sure the manufactureres do not want it licensed - thus, it probably never will be. But in many cases a boat can be as dangerous or more dangerous than a car. Yet, any Joe Blow can buy one (at any size) and get after it. All he needs is money. Money does not equal common sense and it sure does not mean seamanship.


I think if it was up to me, today, I would probably vote 'Yes'. It should be licensed. The way I see it, it might just save my life, my family's, or yours.

sailhog 06-08-2007 06:32 PM

I'm not suggesting that your partner is a wanker, but there seems to be a inordinate number of them in the boating world. Here on Hilton Head Island nearly everyone with a Sea Ray is thorough-going jackass, and that wouldn't change if they had to take a boating course. It's not that they lack common sense, but that they lack manners, everyday kindness, patience, and every other virtue. The sailing community is certainly an improvement on these pieces of boat trash, but I've heard too many sailing ****heads yelling at their wives when trying to anchor to make any hard and fast claim of their superiority. This is off topic, but you should write a book about cruising with kids. I'd buy it.

uspirate 06-08-2007 06:38 PM

sure why not, infringe on another one of our (few left remaining)freedoms. next we'll have wind meters installed. not for monitoring the wind to sail with, but for wind usage inorder that the energy companies can regulate and charge us with wind comsumption usage. I owned my house but still had to pay $1100 a month to dwell there, i own all three of my vehicles but still have to pay $2200 (before fuel) just to use them. the only thing left free in our society is the wind. should retards be banned from boating? absolutely. they should be banned from driving too, but theyre not! any tard can pass a driving test, you see it on a daily basis.

USCGRET1990 06-08-2007 06:39 PM

Should Boating be Licensed??


poopdeckpappy 06-08-2007 06:47 PM

CD, I'm one that would say absolutely yes, 15 yrs ago I had to get certified to sail charters and I was certified to charter up to 40', I could have continued and been certified for storm sail and 50+ footer, but elected not to.

I think it was the smartest thing I did, although I wish there was a refresher

sailhog 06-08-2007 06:48 PM


Originally Posted by USCGRET1990
Should Boating be Licensed??


What would you know about boating? Oh, I see you're retired Coast Guard... But besides that...

SeanConnett 06-08-2007 06:48 PM

If everyone else were licensed out on the water, maybe I could have some comfort in knowing that the boat that is approaching me from my port side knows that I have the right of way. Maybe when fog lays over the bay, I can expect to hear some sound signals, telling me where the other boats are. Licensing will not however stop some boat operators from just being plain dumb. In the end though, I completely support a requirement for boat operators to have some kind of license.
Wouldn't the insurance companies want to support that kind of legislation? More educated boaters, less accidents and claims, right?

kd3pc 06-08-2007 06:58 PM

license would help?
I hate to dissent...but what would licensing (like we currently have, anyway) do to improve these types of boaters. It matters not what hobby these rude, inconsiderate, know-everythings move to they will continue to be a risk to themselves and others no matter what education they have to complete. As an ex-drag strip owner and motorcycle rider I can say that you have these types, often more money than brains, almost every where now. And sadly no education will help.

In Va as in MD, the "license requirement" is laughable as far as teaching anything is concerned. My wife and I recently attended the VA course, it was over two nights, about three hours each nite and a workbook. The test was a few questions, open book. Like flying, there is a great deal of practical education that the classroom just misses.

So, until the license material is pertinent and appropriate, it is pointless to require it.

Keep a good lookout! Fair winds.


uspirate 06-08-2007 06:59 PM


Originally Posted by SeanConnett
More educated boaters, less accidents and claims, right?

sorry i gotta call ******** on this, 98.5% of drivers are licensed and had to pass a driver safety course...are you insurance rates going down?

uspirate 06-08-2007 07:12 PM

after considerable thought (beer drinking session) i might say all boat operaters should be licensed captains. providing the licensing cost would drop down to 1/2 of what it is. that would help considerably while still keeping serious boaters within price range of operation to their vessels. I was slipped within a good view of the launching ramp, at the marina we call it the entertainment dock. watching the tards rev their motors to launch or trailor, hitting other boats cursing at one another etc. something could be done to help, but within "reason".

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