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View Poll Results: Should recreational boaters be required to get a license?
Yes. 53 31.36%
No. 80 47.34%
Only if they operate near commercial traffic. 1 0.59%
Only if the boat is over x feet or x horsepower. 40 23.67%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 169. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-04-2015, 07:10   #256
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

Mike, it's a good question and nothing is wrong with asking it. Please go forth with a study. Make sure you include all variables such as fuel prices, weather, boat safety features, demographics, number of recreational boating outings, etc.

My point is that I don't have the skills nor the desire to do such a study. And I don't want the state or federal governments to commission one. It would have dubious results and probably cost more than the licensing program.

Without a study, we have to go with what our intelligence tells us. We agree that knowledge of boating safety and traffic rules is a good thing. We agree that many people would not bother to learn boating safety and traffic rules unless they were required to. Verification of this knowledge (AKA licensing) costs very little and doesn't add to government scope or power. So the question comes down to: Is the time and expense to take an approved safety/rules course a reasonable burden to place on recreational boaters? My opinion is yes; I feel safer and my enjoyment is greater knowing that most people boating around me have studied the rules.
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:21   #257
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

I license proves you have completed and taken some education. It is kind of rare for people to argue that education is a bad thing. People (meaning some boaters here in this case) should put aside their paranoid anti-gov't misplaced fear and start focusing on more important things.

But I am curious as to the reasoning behind the poll takers that believe only larger boats should be licensed (i.e. educated).
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:26   #258
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

Lots of passion has been expressed here and even more BS but nobody has posted a good reason why operating a boat should be exempted from education and licensing while similar activities such as flying an airplane, and driving a car, truck or motorcycle require education and licensing.

Improper operation of a boat is just as dangerous as any of the above. Dangerous not only to the operator, but to innocent bystanders.
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:50   #259
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
but nobody has posted a good reason why operating a boat should be exempted from education and licensing while similar activities such as flying an airplane, and driving a car, truck or motorcycle require education and licensing.
In the UK at least there's no firm reason to think that there is a problem to fix, also no reason to think that licencing will actually make any real difference to the levels of competency out on the water. Other parts of the world are obviously different.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:19   #260
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

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In the UK at least there's no firm reason to think that there is a problem to fix, also no reason to think that licencing will actually make any real difference to the levels of competency out on the water. Other parts of the world are obviously different.
UK have a different mindset, one that enjoys exploring new knowledge and takes pride in gaining it, not finding excuses to dodge it and open yet another beer. Certainly I have been surprised and disappointed at the lack of knowledge and often total disregard for basic rules and commonsense although I suspect some of that is a mostly a 'Florida' thing same as with the lunatic drivers which I presume are licensed.

I'm convinced more education really is The way to go, but not convinced that licensing will encourage that, especially as I suspect there will be a lowest common denominator dumbed down effect in setting any 'pass/fail' license standards ( 'three choices< A, B, or C , how to open a ring pull can one handed at 35kts')
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:51   #261
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

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Lots of passion has been expressed here and even more BS but nobody has posted a good reason why operating a boat should be exempted from education and licensing while similar activities such as flying an airplane, and driving a car, truck or motorcycle require education and licensing.
I hope you're not referring to my BS rwidman. I am not suggesting education is a negative thing. What I am saying is that, "using what our intelligence tells us," I am sceptical that mandatory boater education, as they are commonly operated, produces any measurable benefit. I base this on my limited analysis of Canadian data (which brought in a national boater licensing scheme in 1999, and phased it in over a number of years). In addition, I have looked for other data and research on this subject, and have been unable to find any clear studies. In contrast, it is easy to find such studies for driving license schemes, and I'll bet it's equally easy to find similar studies for pilot licensing.

It could be that no one has conducted such research, but it's such an obvious study, with the data so readily available, that it stretches credulity to suggest it hasn't been studied. The lack of results suggests to me (using my own intelligence), that the results are ambiguous at best. Otherwise the various advocates of mandatory boater licensing would be touting the results (as driver licensing proponents rightly do).

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Improper operation of a boat is just as dangerous as any of the above. Dangerous not only to the operator, but to innocent bystanders.
This is patently untrue. Risk of Dying next year based on USA National Safety Council research:
  • From air and space accidents: 1 in 440,951
  • Motor Cycle Rider: 1 in 89,562*
  • Occupant of pick-up truck or van: 1 in 67,182
  • Car occupant: 1 in 17,625
While on water transportation: 1 in 466,679

You have a far greater risk of being poisoned (1 in 16,407), or dying in a fire (1 in 91,149).

A mandatory licensing scheme which places the bar high may be one that is worth the societal investment. Although once again, I point out the accident rates for boating is very low. And more to the point, it is almost exclusively concentrated with people operating fast motorboats. This is why a high-quality mandatory licensing scheme focused on these boats makes the most sense.

*BTW, Here's a prime example of where so-called common sense leads most people astray. Most people would tell you it is far riskier to drive a motorcycle than a car or truck. The data shows this is not true. Your risk of an accident is much lower driving a motorcycle. However, my research into the subject shows you do have a far greater risk of dying IF you are in an accident while riding a motorcycle vs a car/truck.
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Old 05-04-2015, 09:12   #262
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

The quantity of words in a response does not equal the quality of the response.

The person who rents a boat for the first time or borrows his buddy's boat does not inherently know the COLREGS or even the basic "rules of the road". He does not know anything about the "stand on vessel" or "give way vessel". He doesn't know that in most cases, he is supposed to yield to a sailboat under sail.

It defies logic to think that requiring this person to learn the rules of the road would not improve boating safety.
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Old 05-04-2015, 09:42   #263
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

See how very different us boaters are.

I, for one, give no damn for how much people around me studied the rules and how many licenses they carry.

What I am interested in is if they are good boaters or not. If they are skilled or not. And if they are thoughtful, or not. And I have never seen any proof of causative relationship between training, licensing and hands on experience, talent and thinking.

An idiot on the road will be an idiot on the water, just add water. And driving is a licensed activity in most countries I know.

Licensing is limiting access to water (you can only sail now if you have the license) and less access equals less experience which in turn implies less skill acquired.

On the other hand, as licensing limits our access to the water, it also limits the nominal number of accidents. This in turn does not imply fewer accidents per a sailing capita.

Things are not simple. There are very many (some will say too many) people around. Maybe we can drive without licenses in the outback but not in the city. Maybe the boating licenses should be required in New York Paris and Osaka but not in the middle of Pacific.

It is a biased discussion once the licenses are in place. And they are. It would only be a different bias if we were talking the matter 100 years ago.

You can`t have everybody happy. Not anymore. There are too many of us around and we will collide. Lincensed or not.

b.
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Old 05-04-2015, 09:44   #264
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

See how very different us boaters are.

I, for one, give no damn for how much people around me studied the rules and how many licenses they carry.

What I am interested in is if they are good boaters or not. If they are skilled or not. And if they are thoughtful, or not. And I have never seen any proof of causative relationship between training, licensing and hands on experience, talent and thinking.

An idiot on the road will be an idiot on the water, just add water. And driving is a licensed activity in most countries I know.

Licensing is limiting access to water (you can only sail now if you have the license) and less access equals less experience which in turn implies less skill acquired.

On the other hand, as licensing limits our access to the water, it also limits the nominal number of accidents. This in turn does not imply fewer accidents per a sailing capita.

Things are not simple. There are very many (some will say too many) people around. Maybe we can drive without licenses in the outback but not in the city. Maybe the boating licenses should be required in New York Paris and Osaka but not in the middle of Pacific.

It is a biased discussion once the licenses are in place. And they are. It would only be a different bias if we were talking the matter 100 years ago.

You can`t have everybody happy. Not anymore. There are too many of us around and we will collide. Lincensed or not.

b.
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Old 05-04-2015, 09:50   #265
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
It defies logic to think that requiring this person to learn the rules of the road would not improve boating safety.
That's the great thing about actually being willing to be swayed by real evidence; sometimes it leads you to unexpected places.

But once again, I (and many others here) are NOT saying education is a bad thing. We're trying to say that most programs (perhaps Portugal is an exception) as currently set up, don't appear to produce any measurable benefit. Is this really so hard to comprehend?

I believe (note my bias ) a high-quality mandatory education program, like the graduated driver licensing regimes now used by many countries, would produce better boaters. Given actual accident rates however, I don't believe it is worth the tradeoffs. IOW, it looks like a solution in search of a problem. But if society is willing to pay the price, then go for it .
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:20   #266
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

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That's the great thing about actually being willing to be swayed by real evidence; sometimes it leads you to unexpected places.

But once again, I (and many others here) are NOT saying education is a bad thing. We're trying to say that most programs (perhaps Portugal is an exception) as currently set up, don't appear to produce any measurable benefit. Is this really so hard to comprehend?

I believe (note my bias ) a high-quality mandatory education program, like the graduated driver licensing regimes now used by many countries, would produce better boaters. Given actual accident rates however, I don't believe it is worth the tradeoffs. IOW, it looks like a solution in search of a problem. But if society is willing to pay the price, then go for it .
You nailed it. Our society has reached a critical mass where you have millions of bureaucrats just seeking to further justify their existence and salaries. Whence this knee jerk reaction (especially from the ones used to receiving a gov't check and justifying it that they "worked hard for it"). So now add'l X number of bureaucrats will be "working hard" for their check by poring over still more license applications, denials, renewals, "efficacy studies" and so on.
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:57   #267
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

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*snip* Verification of this knowledge (AKA licensing) costs very little and doesn't add to government scope or power.*snip*
Costs who very little? Doesn't add to government scope? Please don't take this personally, but that is delusional thinking. When has government NOT grown given the chance? Does the renewal of driver licenses make you safer or is it a use fee to perpetuate the bloated bureaucracy? Has it spurred an industry of teaching, only once initially to get a license, and a large enforcement arm? A bureaucracy funded by use fees, and it doesn't make you, or anyone a bit safer, unless you count sight testing which doesn't help the oldsters crashing through storefronts.

If you ask for safety through legislation you'll get onerous bureaucracy and little else.

To paraphrase a wise man, "Those who give up essential freedoms for perceived safety deserve neither"

Good debate, but more government is NEVER the answer, and make no mistake, that's all you'll get. It's evident everywhere in this country, and others.

Ed
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Old 05-04-2015, 11:06   #268
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

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Costs who very little? Doesn't add to government scope? Please don't take this personally, but that is delusional thinking. When has government NOT grown given the chance? Does the renewal of driver licenses make you safer or is it a use fee to perpetuate the bloated bureaucracy? Has it spurred an industry of teaching, only once initially to get a license, and a large enforcement arm? A bureaucracy funded by use fees, and it doesn't make you, or anyone a bit safer, unless you count sight testing which doesn't help the oldsters crashing through storefronts.

If you ask for safety through legislation you'll get onerous bureaucracy and little else.

To paraphrase a wise man, "Those who give up essential freedoms for perceived safety deserve neither"

Good debate, but more government is NEVER the answer, and make no mistake, that's all you'll get. It's evident everywhere in this country, and others.

Ed
The bigger problem politically is that those getting a gov't check, whether they "worked for it" or "walked for it" are only too happy to add another layer of bureaucracy into our lives as it increases their potential for earning even more through gov't largesse.
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Old 05-04-2015, 11:50   #269
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

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You included the US in 'social responsibility'

Seriously I'm not anti the US at all, and I wish we had your president. But few in the West consider the US a Social leader. That's like suggesting Jimmy Seville was a good advocate for child protection, or Mike Tyson for domestic violence.
if you wish you had our president, you are more than welcome to him. i won't even insist he finish out the remaining time of his final term.
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:13   #270
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

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I asked this earlier: Is there any evidence that mandatory boating training improves accident rates, morbidity or mortality? There are enough of these mandatory licensing regimes around the world such that you'd think it would be easy to answer this question. I've looked with some detail at the Canadian experience, and found no clear improvement.

I'm all for effective government programs that address actual (as opposed to made up) collective problems. I'm happy to pay my taxes or fees to support these programs. I think mandatory boating licensing could fall into this category, but my problem is that I can't find evidence that they are effective -- at least the ones that are currently offered.

This may not be a problem that is solvable by mandatory broad-based licensing. In fact, if you look at the USCG accident statistics, two things jump out:

#1. Boating in general is very safe. Accident rates are very low compared to many other activities in life.
#2. Of the accidents that do occur, the vast vast majority involve open motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats.

We should stop pretending that sailors or canoeists are as dangerous as those zipping around in motor boats. Perhaps a licensing regime which targets these zippy boats is more likely to produce real improvement.
very good points, all. especially point #1. that's something no one has mentioned. the whole issue is a bit of a strawman. it's not like boaters are dropping dead like flies. no matter what you do, there will be jerks that flout any rules you write. no matter what you do, there will be accidents. no matter what you do, people get hurt and even die. that's life.

gevernment can't make life 100% safe. but, they are willing to take your money and accept more power over you, if you are willing to believe that they can.
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