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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 28-03-2015, 06:57   #1
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Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

There is no doubt that there is an increase in recreational boating in the Northeast. As a commercial mariner there is a large uptick in kayaks and small boaters in the waterways around here. I would say on average in the last 5 years that I've had or seen 3-4 close calls that nearly resulted in death or major environmental impact. An article in this month's Workboat magazine WorkBoat.com - Maritime News, Commercial Marine and Dayrates | WorkBoat.com - Maritime News, Commercial Marine and Dayrates talks about the increase of traffic in commercial waterways and discusses the possibility of requiring some form of license for rec boaters.
I'm personally in favor as this would hopefully make my job easier in the long run but I'm sure there would be a lot of pushback. It would be incredibly difficult to enact on a national level and the current state levels vary widely, a federal standard would be nice.

So what I'd like to discuss is what do you think? It seems like a situation when nothing will happen until it's a reaction to an incident most likely resulting from the loss of life. If you don't agree with some kind of license what other solutions do you propose?
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Old 28-03-2015, 07:34   #2
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

commercial water Way? what may I ask designates a commercial for the way as opposed to just a waterway?
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Old 28-03-2015, 07:43   #3
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

Yes! Although I'm normally against more bureaucracy, it's very clear that without a requirement to read/learn/understand the 'rules', most rec. boaters don't have a clue. At the very least, passing a short test to prove an understanding of the rules, both safety and navigation would be a good thing.
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Old 28-03-2015, 07:43   #4
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

I think boating would be safer and more enjoyable if everyone operating a boat was required to pass a test and obtain a license. It's not that big a burden.
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Old 28-03-2015, 07:46   #5
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

You left out a choice: only UNDER a certain y length and y hp.

Many times the bigger vessels are fine 'cuz the owners got smart.

It's the little gnats and mosquitoes that are a great problem.

Can't license out stupidity.

The "Entitled" or "Unenlightened" generation now using kayaks and SUPs are clueless, ignorant and dangerous to themselves. If there were licensing requirements, legislatures won't go after them. "They are too small to worry about," Senator Quackenstupid said at his press conference. I can hear it now...
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:08   #6
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by motion30 View Post
commercial water Way? what may I ask designates a commercial for the way as opposed to just a waterway?
Of course there is no official designation except in a few select areas (Corpus Christi comes to mind). For discussions sake let's say it's any inland area that is primarily used for commerce (NY Harbor and the Kills, the upper Delaware River, not the Atlantic ICW).
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:21   #7
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

Licensing will hurt an already struggling boating industry. What's next after licensing? Mandatory insurance? Which will make the rates skyrocket. Obamaboats? Well we can't price out of this activity the less fortunate among us, can we? House and Senate hearings on poor undocumented "migrant" children hurt by an unlicensed 1%er skipper? Boat courts to deal with the many free souls not complying with the next round of laws and regulations? Ahh, the possibilities are endless and are very real for an allegedly well meaning gov't bureaucrat.

Just another nail in the coffin of freedom and a right to choose your own folly. Why I'm not surprised at the poll results so far?
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:24   #8
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

I don't think licensing in itself is of much value (other than for issuing legal charges after an accident). Mandatory training might help if it is done well, but I find it amusing and a bit dystopian to demand state-run training so I can paddle my canoe or kayak.

That said, don't some of your American states already demand this kinds of license for all boats? As a Canadian I have seen sea kayaks and canoes stamped with a state license number. Minnesota or perhaps Wisconsin? Always seems funny to me.

In Canada you must have a provincial license on all boats with 10 hp or bigger engines, and you have to pass a mandatory recreational boaters exam. Sadly, this exam is a joke.
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:27   #9
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

I think everyone in boating should do some type of safety course. I do not necessarily agree with having a license for recreational boating but there should be some type of accountability when someone is being unsafe on the water.

If they require you to have a license, it should just be a code on your drivers license indicating that you currently have a valid recreational boating license.
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:32   #10
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

What is the purpose of licensing?

Does licensing prevent accidents, preventable or not?

Does it control a free people?

One who has the power to give license has the power to take away license.

With Rights comes Responsibilities.

Does license level the playing field for all or will some still be diligent and some still lax?
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:35   #11
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

All the mad drivers on Florida roads apparently have taken a test and have licenses, so does having a license prove anything of real value?? Education Education Education. Voluntary Voluntary Voluntary. OH and of course Encouraged by the boating media.
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:42   #12
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

In most states anyone with enough money can go out and buy a Cigarette, Fountain or other gofast boat capable of well over 100 mph and take to the waterways with zero prior boating experience.

That to me is insane. I think anyone with the slightest bit of common sense has to agree that this is not safe and some kind of training, license or something should be mandatory at least to operate some classes of boats.

On the other end of the spectrum, hasn't happened to me but most boaters I know have had kayaks or other small boats pull out in front of them.

Jetskis the solution for that problem is to use them like clay pigeons at a skeet range. NOTE: for the humor challenged readers, only kidding.

And WTH is an obamaboat?
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:49   #13
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

As is most government programs, any licensing attempt would turn into a burocratic debacle. Virginia now has a mandatory program for licensing boaters that has turned into a ridiculous on line license. The jet skis still zip through anchorages and no wake zones being driven by children too young to even care about what they are doing. Just as automobile licensing does not stop people from speeding, small boat licensing will not cure stupidity. Besides, who is going to pay for all the officials it would take to police all waterways to ensure everyone in a kayak or canoe has a license? If you really want to solve the problem, provide enough officials to police the waterways and warn light offenders and fine gross offenders.
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:50   #14
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

I could see:

1) a serious license, like a pilot's license, where there's rigorous testing at the beginning and thorough testing every couple of years; or,

2) a one-time boater's card, just to be sure everyone is exposed to the rules and regs at least once, but with a little harder test than is given in, say, Canada.

The first would pretty much clear the waterways and is probably unworkable for a number of reasons. The second would give us pretty much what we have on the highways right now, which is not bad if you think about what would happen if most drivers were (name your favorite rules-of-the-road violator here), but still doesn't get rid of the drunks and the stupids.

What we want to avoid is a renewable license, like a driver's license, with one test at the beginning and no further checkups, but mandatory renewal. That's just a revenue generator with attendant self-perpetuating bureaucracy.

Or no license, the concept of which, as Skipmac pointed out, is seriously threatened by the Cigarette drivers.
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Old 28-03-2015, 08:53   #15
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Re: Do you think recreational boats should be licensed?

The way I understand it:

'Commercial' boats are the only boats needing a 'required' license because of using the waters for their 'profit and gain'.

Private Citizens have no requirement if they are operating non-commercially.

Same as on the roads. This is what the Constitution and Bill of Rights is all about.

If you are interested you can look at the enacted laws and go back to their roots to see to whom they apply, intent, and the definitions used.
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