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Old 30-12-2007, 10:57   #106
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What ever became of Commandant Thad Allen's licensing program initiative?

Seems to me that this community (cruisers) is primarily made up of self-sufficient, independent types that don't need or want any half-baked government license which only serves as another form of taxation without representation. The only answer to invasive and unpopular legislation is to form a lobby, which isn't likely to happen given the aforementioned independent personality of this community.

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Old 30-12-2007, 18:25   #107

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"Sport divers on mixed gas? "
OT indeed.<G> But that's another good hot button, making a big deal out of a mixed gas, oh, wait a minute, air is a mixed gas too! Tables are tables, if you can't figure them out, you're not suppose to get licensed (excuse me, certified<G>) in the first place.
I can just see, one license for sailboats, one for powerboats, and a special tag to go out at night or when there's low visibility. But not so long ago, if you'd said the Galapagos would get so crowded that permits and licensing would be needed to control the crowds, no one would have believed it could happen. Live webcams from Everest and the South Pole?
The world has changed, and considering the ways it has changed I'm just glad we never got personal "flying cars". They'd be dripping oil and dropping loose screws from all over the place.

South Florida: Carl Hiaasen's books must seem like wierd tales to those who have never been there. McDonald's Travis McGee days are gone, and only the rich can afford dockage. Maybe we could sell the oceans to Disney, and they could charge for daily admission instead of requiring licensing. (Shhh!)

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Old 30-12-2007, 19:32   #108
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I generally have little complaint about licensing when there's a standard of competence. You can't get a driver's license without passing a test, nor should you. And I don't want to fly with a pilot who hasn't passed several exams.

On the other hand, I got my PCOC after 15 minutes of reading the book, in a booth at the Toronto boat show. I'm not sure that makes me a better or safer sailor. I guess I at least know there are certain bits of safety equipment I'm meant to have and that I should keep a red buoy on the right going into harbour.

I'm not sure I understand the fuss, either way.

I paid my $20 (or whatever), got the PCOC, and never have to think about it again. No biggie.

I rather think the current PCOC is intended to be the thin edge of the wedge, so that once we're all used to the idea, the government can start making it harder to pass the test and thereby improve boating standards.

And considering what you see in a week on the lake, that might not be a bad idea.

For example, we sail out of the Toronto Hydroplane and Sailing Club, which has a relatively narrow (and buoyed) channel. We share the channlel with another yacht club and a public dock.

This summer a couple of guys popped their powerboat in the water off the public dock, ignored the buoys completely, and roared directly out of the bay -- or they would have done, but for the barely submerged sandbank that lies across two-thirds of the channel.

Smack! They were aground for a couple of hours and eventually had to be towed off by the cops and our safety boat.

Maybe if they'd been required to take a serious boating course and get a license it wouldn't have happened.

What's more annoying is the Toronto Harbour license, which added only one thing to my "knowledge" (speed limits in parts of the inner harbour) and which I have to renew every year. I need it for the 10 minutes of every sail when I'm under power in and out of the club. Once my motor's off, it no longer applies. I have heard it described as a "cash grab."

On the whole terrorists in small boats issue (this addressed to the group in general) wasn't the USS Cole blown up by a small boat packed with explosives? Not in North American waters, true, but you can see why the US Navy is nervous about small boats and why you can't get within a certain distance without a reaction.

OTOH, I can't see what value a licensing scheme would have in preventing such attacks.

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Old 30-12-2007, 20:20   #109
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No license will stop a terrorist attack..agreed. Would the licensing of bank robbers stop them?

What is happening is the water has become the Wild West, everyone knows this and so many boat operators refuse to educate themselves because there is no law that says they have to learn the difference between red and green. Too many people are refusing to educate themselves about operating a boat...its that simple.

How else do we assure that boat operators have achieved at least a basic level of knowledge without testing them? Would it be a huge deal to go down to the DMV, pay a small fee and take a 20 question multiple choice test? Sure, it may take a half hour of your time. It's not a perfect solution as there never is a perfect solution to any problem but at least it would be an improvement over what we have now which is nothing.

I don't see it as government incrementalism so much as I see it as common sense.

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Old 31-12-2007, 00:47   #110
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I'm in agreement with others that I'd like to see more mandatory education, but I wouldn't want it taken away. It really wouldn't be a big leap for them to suspend your boating license for an unpaid parking ticket like they will suspend your driver's license. Heck, I couldn't even renew my drivers license once because I owned a fine at the library.
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Old 31-12-2007, 05:52   #111
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Well it appears we generally agree that boating in areas with any volume of traffic has become a dangerous endeavor due to the "IDIOT factor".

Few of us is comfortable with the prospect of licensing due to the potential for abuse by the government.

Most of us agree that some required show of proficiency would improve the situation.

QUESTION: If licensing is not the solution what is????

BTW: my SCUBA analogy is not perfect. There are some people with C-cards that are likely candidates for natural selection. The training & certification system in place is not perfect. However, there is some actual demonstration of proficiancy required and the community is to some extent self policing.

Also, if there are any jet-ski jockeys reading this: The red flag with a white diagonal stripe IS NOT part of a slalom course!!
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Old 31-12-2007, 06:22   #112
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Originally Posted by mohave_steve View Post

if there are any jet-ski jockeys reading this: The red flag with a white diagonal stripe IS NOT part of a slalom course!!

I bet that most "jet-ski jockeys" CAN'T read these posts.

Well, maybe that's a little harsh. Can't read them without moving their lips, perhaps.

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Old 31-12-2007, 06:42   #113
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Oh yes....... JET-SKIS....... I can't even guess as to how many of them are involved in accidents in South Florida. One of my friends at work had a son flying around on a jet-ski on one of the Everglades flood canals and tried to go under one of the many low bridges (maybe 5' off the water)...... needless to say it took his head off!
I really don't have an answer here, but there ARE a lot of people that need educating.
I will say this, however, I've NEVER been stopped in a sailboat, nor have I ever seen or heard of a sailboat being stopped on the ICW in South Florida.............
maybe turning on their blue lights and siren and pulling somebody over doing 4 knots is NOT that exciting for them!
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Old 31-12-2007, 07:18   #114
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Most of us agree that some required show of proficiency would improve the situation.
This thread started a long time ago when the issue of licensing came up. Well - it died for most of the reasons stated at the US Federal level. Rumors still abound but the states are taking up the safety issues where the USCG left off.

Proficiency now is on the move many states are forcing the issue already. VA was part of a group of states to add it recently. It's moving on state by state basis and I doubt the Department of Homeland Insecurity will be a part of it now or anytime soon. The USCG budget for education and a lot of this type of stuff is greatly reduced.

They even have a nice on line test that you can study with and take for free and you only pay if you pass the test (so you get the certificate for your state). Parts of the test are different depending what state you need.

Boating Safety Course Online

I went though it all and for the most part this is a 100% idiot test. It's well done and I think as an on line course there is a lot to say about it that is good. It's not about advanced topics for folks circumnavigating. It's about the really stupid things that kill people.

1. capacity plates (overloaded boats have a tendency to sink)

2. gasoline engine procedures (it's the bilge blower stupid)

3. PFD's

4. Drinking

You throw in a few rules of the road and you can get the idea. This really is about minimum proficiency. It's already mandatory for under aged boaters such as PWC's in many states. The rest are required on a graduated age scale over time. Old guys (like me) get extra time. If you are weekend cruising now and can't pass this test on the first shot then you probably really need the course. The on line course can be run through in about 3 hours by someone that has any background and can read. Go through it all for free and don't pay for a certificate.

This really is targeted to the stupid stuff that happens on the water that kills people. Being drunk and stupid on the water is no joke and it's actually 80% of the problem. I really doubt it is going to solve the rest of the stupid stuff but if it helps with the most stupid it's probably a good idea.
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Old 31-12-2007, 11:22   #115
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Re the jet ski problem, San Juan County in Washington State got them completely banned. There was a big court fight, but the jet ski lobby lost.

It's wonderful to sail up there and it's getting even better with the price of fuel causing what's left of the Bayliner crowd having to slow down.

Sorry for the thread drift.

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Old 10-02-2008, 15:05   #116
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Having recently purchased a boat in the state of Oregon, I was appauled to find out I needed a license (actually called a Boater Education Card). I didn't mind taking the test or even paying the twenty bucks or whatever. It certainly didn't kill me to brush up after an absence from the water. What I object to, as many others in this thread, is the fact that I have been legislated into compliance with a government tool that forces citizens into compliance. Moreover, if not in compliance, the government now can use that tool to punish citizens i.e., by fine, suspension of "privileges" etcetera.
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Old 28-03-2008, 02:27   #117
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Here in the UK there is the voluntary RYA system as stated earlier, but it is varied in the quality of instructor and testor. So that is what you get. Cross the Channel and you have the ICC which is required in most countries of mainland Europe (France is known to enforce this heavily). Also if you want to charter a boat in most of Europe they require this (ICC) or some other form proof of skill level (enforcement of this varies).

There is some noise of making a permit required from whitehall (The UK Parliament) and they want to try it out in Scotland (Redheaded step child of UK politics). The Regional government in Scotland wants nothing to do with it, so we will see. Most people up here see it as a money grab by Whitehall (what do you expect from pseudo fascist liberals [Labour Party]). You can guess how I voted in the last regional elections (strange having to keep up with three countries politics)

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Old 28-03-2008, 02:43   #118
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If we require a licence to operate a motor vehicle on public roadways, and an aircraft in public airspace; why not to operate a boat in public waterways?
What makes boat operators so different from drivers & pilots?
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Old 28-03-2008, 03:22   #119
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There is nothing wrong with it in theory. The problem being is that you end up with a group of people who have little to no experience in boating making the rules and those with money get their exceptions and sailing becomes even more expensive for those of us trying to build a dream.

An example is rock climbing in England (not sure if it also includes Scotland as not all the laws cross the border) it was (don't know if it still is) required that any guided rock climb was required to use two (2) climbing lines and that they had to be on independent systems and independent points of attachment on the face you where climbing and they had to have attachment points within three (3) meters of each point. Where you got this from was a misapplication of the safety standard for industrial sites being applied to rock climbers. There was a move last I heard to require this even in climbing gyms. The amount of danger this introduces in the attempt to create a "safer environment" is insane.

The ICC is a very good test and system from what I am studying for it so far and based on solid common sense. Unfortunately the idea being put for by the Politico's in Whitehall is that they can do better and is not good enough for Britain (One of the areas that the channel islands right to opt out of certain UK law is useful as is Scotland right in certain areas and why the Scottish separatist movement is gaining support).

If they adopted the ICC or a system based off the RYA program, I would be happy with it as much as I am happy with any additional government control over my life . But life is and you get on with it.

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Old 28-03-2008, 06:37   #120
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be on the lookout for folks wanting to learn to sail AWAY from the dock but are not interested in learning how to return!!

It's a crock for sure


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