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Discussion Starter #1
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:

SHOULD BOATING BE LICENSED?

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.

Thoughts?

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.
 

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CD,
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.
Sailhog
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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?
 

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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.

dave
 

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SeanConnett said:
More educated boaters, less accidents and claims, right?
sorry i gotta call bullshit on this, 98.5% of drivers are licensed and had to pass a driver safety course...are you insurance rates going down?
 

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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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It's being phased in right now here in Canada. Doesn't seem to be too much of a problem to pass the test, but it doesn't seem to have made much of a difference either....
 

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Public Ignorance

sailhog said:
What would you know about boating? Oh, I see you're retired Coast Guard... But besides that...
Sailhog
After 20 years, I have sooo many cases in point, it's unreal. One big one that comes to mind: A young fellow was "blue water" sailing with his family. They had some sort of problem (I ferget what) and their 50' s/v sank. We found his (dead) five young children floating. They had on square life cushions (throwables) backwards, hence floating face down. Putting their little lifeless bodies onboard brings tears to my eyes still, 37 years later.
 

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Yes, but the kind of test they come up with, that all parties will agree to, is going to be a joke. Its like the modern day driving test. I just retook the test after, what 10, 15 years? What happened to all the hard questions? What happened to "slower traffic keep right"? Its not even in the book anymore! Even though the hard questions were about silly things like hazard placards, it weeded out all the idiots. Again, natural selection.
The boating test should be very hard, but it won't be. Just more money for the states, more litigation, higher insurance bills, etc.:mad:
 

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USCGRET1990 said:
After 20 years, I have sooo many cases in point, it's unreal. One big one that comes to mind: A young fellow was "blue water" sailing with his family. They had some sort of problem (I ferget what) and their 50' s/v sank. We found his (dead) five young children floating. They had on square life cushions (throwables) backwards, hence floating face down. Putting their little lifeless bodies onboard brings tears to my eyes still, 37 years later.
sad story indeed, but would licensing have made a difference? or would we put that in the common sense boater safety category?

Edit: damn SD, wish you wouldnt have lit my fires. but IE: the street racers here in vegas are licensed drivers. that doesnt keep them from flying down Flamingo blvd on a saturday night at 120 mph. hitting bus stop patrons, pedestrians and so forth. yeah they have a license but theyre still retards...maybe we should up the drivers license fee to $1400. think it'll solve anything? i dont think so. a tard is a tard is a tard!
 

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It may help to force basically good people to learn what they need to. Like auto licenses, the A-holes will remain, regardless.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
CD,
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.
Sailhog
SH,

Thank you for the very kind comment on cruising with kids (which reminds me I owe someone here a thread on Cruising with kids...). Hopefully more publications coming out soon. Lots of childrens books I hope! (SShhhh, top secret!). We will see. And to your other comment:

My business partner is A WANKER!!!! THat is the nicest thing I will say on a public forum where kids could read what I really would like to write. Just a word of warning to all of you: Just because you business partner with someone does not mean they are not a... well... I will not write it. But that is another story I come here to get away from... so back to the subject:

After 20 years, I have sooo many cases in point, it's unreal. One big one that comes to mind: A young fellow was "blue water" sailing with his family. They had some sort of problem (I ferget what) and their 50' s/v sank. We found his (dead) five young children floating. They had on square life cushions (throwables) backwards, hence floating face down. Putting their little lifeless bodies onboard brings tears to my eyes still, 37 years later.
Man, that one brought tears to my eyes USCG. Ouch. I cannot imagine seeing that. I will tell you that is always our biggest fear with the kiddos. We are quite a bit more safety conscious, but as has been said before, the Sea is Unforgiving.

I took the boaters safety course. It is a joke, really and is not worth the time. I think it dropped my insurance... but I honestly think it needs a lot of revamp.

The issue that is hard for many of us to understand is that many of these people on the water WOULD NOT PASS A BOATERS LICENSE. Make them be able to get their boat IN and OUT of the slip (like parallel parking). Make them know their systems and know their boat. Make them understand all the safety aspects. HOW ABOUT MAKING THEM TAKE A VHF EDIQUITE COURSE!!!! (or just how to use the bloody thing... like not interupting a Mayday to talk to Johnny... which I have heard). How about learngin the rules of the road and keeping their tub between the markers and what the markers mean. Basic navigation.

I find many-most of the boaters out there do not have a CLUE about that. When my partner plows through the ICW on a half plane he cannot see what is in front of him. What if it was you on a day sailor???

I think there should be a limit on what does and what does not get certified... like why certify a canoe??

Anyways, wouldn't that save lives??

- CD
 

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bestfriend said:
Yes, but the kind of test they come up with, that all parties will agree to, is going to be a joke. Its like the modern day driving test. I just retook the test after, what 10, 15 years? What happened to all the hard questions? What happened to "slower traffic keep right"? Its not even in the book anymore! Even though the hard questions were about silly things like hazard placards, it weeded out all the idiots. Again, natural selection.
The boating test should be very hard, but it won't be. Just more money for the states, more litigation, higher insurance bills, etc.:mad:
You are right, unfortunately our whole country is becoming a joke. That's why I am fixin to go live with the wombat!
Seriously if licensing will save the lives of a few children, it will be worth it...
 

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If it saves ONE life, its worth it. I wish everyone could see what we see at our jobs.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I am litterally heading out for a bit, but one last thought: Would it work? Would it really work?? Or would it turn into the boating safety course?

- CD
 
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