The great maritime author Felix Reisenberg had a saying that's engraved above the sallyport at SUNY Maritime College... "The sea is selective, slow at recognition of effort and aptitude but fast in the sinking of the unfit."
Personally I believe the only prerequisite for sailing is being humble therefore we should encourage everyone who answers yes to either of these two questions:
1) Do you have significant knowledge and (at least some) experience sailing in conditions that far outstripped your experience?
2) Are you willing to die?
Now before anyone says I'm being overly morose... I'm not against people who, of their own will and volition, risk own their life based on factors they have little/no control over (Motorcyclists do this daily). And you do not need to risk your life to take the first option (just crew for a good delivery captain
the next time conditions are rough).
So the only people I'd ever try to dissuade are people who don't know what they are getting themselves into... people who don't realize that the ocean is not their friend (News flash: the ocean doesn't care if you live or die).
In short, I think we can encourage any free-willed adult who truly understands the risk and their own level of competence (even if it's low)... and only discourage
the blind (and arrogant) from leading the blind.
P.S. Where I get tripped up is with children
. How much risk can I subject my kids
to? When the kidos are aboard we are anal about the weather
reports, carry SOLAS grade safety gear
and never venture beyond the reach of a USCG helicopter.... but sailing to Hawaii