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Old 26-07-2011, 20:59   #31
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

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I don't think it is a stupid question at all.

I am in favor of helmet laws, I am in favor of seat belt laws and, frankly, I would favor a PFD law as well.
FrankZ, You have got to be kidding me. How much time do you spend on your boat?
I think everyone who lives in a house ought to be made to wear a hard hat and steel toed boots.
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Old 26-07-2011, 21:40   #32
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

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FrankZ, You have got to be kidding me. How much time do you spend on your boat?
I think everyone who lives in a house ought to be made to wear a hard hat and steel toed boots.
I am not kidding. I spend plenty of time on my boat.

My house has very little chance of sinking, nor if I fall off my porch will I drown.

If you sail with me you will wear a life jacket. If you don't want to wear one you don't go on my boat. An accidental swim can turn a sailor into a statistic.

Let's face it, this isn't just about managing yourself. You don't know what the other person will do, you don't know when something will just go horribly wrong and if you go over and die you aren't the one that gets to clean up the mess.
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Old 27-07-2011, 08:47   #33
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

FrankZ
So you are in favor of a law that says if I am sitting in my cockpit at anchor enjoying a cool drink, listening to music that I need a life jacket on. Do you really believe that?

God help us if anybody with legislative authority does.
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Old 27-07-2011, 09:48   #34
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

FrankZ,

I understand why you would wear a PFD. I agree that these are all good reasons to wear a PFD. However, you haven't really answered the question as to why you feel these should be mandatory for other people. In short, why should what you feel is appropriate be imposed on other people who have a different level of risk avoidance?

Understand that I am not trying to be argumentative. I am truly trying to understand the thought process. I see the (rather cynical) statements about "burearacracies wanting more funding" (sorry, I can NEVER spell that word and don't want to download the spell checker) and "special interest groups" (which also leads back to more funding), but is that all it is about? Is there truly no other reason to support mandatory PFDs (or mandatory anything) other than "I want more money for my pet project" or "everyone needs to be as safe as I am"?

For example, I can understand mandatory insurance requirements that require every boater to have a certain level of insurance that would pay "me" if "you" caused me harm by your actions. There is a very clear benefit to "me" from that requirement.

But I cannot understand how "I" benefit if I force "you" to wear a PFD on "your" boat (or wear a helmet on "your" motorcycle or put on a seat belt in "your" car). Can anyone explain that?
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Old 27-07-2011, 09:54   #35
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

the benefit of forcing you to wear a pfd on my boat is liability factor--- i will lose in the wrongful death suit made by your (survivor's) family when you fall ob and don't have one on.
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Old 27-07-2011, 10:13   #36
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

I am for personal freedom FROM things. I don't want to mandate PFD usage, even though we wear them, because we have a waiting list for docks at the club and I need to practice my quick-stop/COB drill.

By the same token, my sister has liver disease, so, please, uninstall your airbags and don't do up your seatbelts, which only prolong the lives of bad drivers anyway. She needs a transplant: Please, drive stupidly.

I guess I take the long view, really. Allowing those who wish to be free to die in a manner easily avoided through simple precautions is a way to gradually brighten up the species. Those who disagree, please raise your cold, dead hands. Etc.
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Old 27-07-2011, 10:17   #37
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

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Originally Posted by CaptFrankM View Post
For example, I can understand mandatory insurance requirements that require every boater to have a certain level of insurance that would pay "me" if "you" caused me harm by your actions. There is a very clear benefit to "me" from that requirement.

But I cannot understand how "I" benefit if I force "you" to wear a PFD on "your" boat (or wear a helmet on "your" motorcycle or put on a seat belt in "your" car). Can anyone explain that?
I fail to see how your risk "avoidance argument" is differentiated here. Insurance is risk avoidance as are PFD's; with insurance it's only money verses human life in the case of PFD's.

I favour education over legislation but there seem to be many who avoid education like the plague. Mandatory operator licenses up here is an attempt to enforce education.
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Old 27-07-2011, 10:52   #38
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

I guess I'm one of those guys who always sees grey instead of black and white. Modern inflatable life jackets are so comfortable that you have to wonder a bit about someone who won't wear them. My guess is that most of the people objecting to the regulation don't wear life jackets. I usually put on a life jackets when out of the cockpit. I have no good excuse for not wearing it all the time underway beyond habit and stupidity.

But drowning is cheap for society. There's very little chance that you'll end up disabled for life costing the rest of us millions of dollars for your health costs - as with some of the motorcycle no-helmet cases. But there are some adjustments we should make for those who value the freedom to be stupid:

--The Coast Guard should be able to bill the drowned guy's estate for search costs. Same with hospital costs if they tried to save you but couldn't.

--Life insurance policies should not pay off (since that payoff is born by more responsible insureds)

--No lawsuits should be allowed by the family, bystanders who say they now have bad dreams, or the faithful dog.

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Old 27-07-2011, 11:17   #39
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

There seems to be plenty of people who believe that there should be no risks in life if "government" can pass a law to prevent the risk. And, they should be the ones who define the risk. A free society needs fewer of them. If you want everyone on your boat to wear a pfd, then you are free to make that decision. If you want to wear a pfd on someone's boat, then you are free to do so. If you want to assume responsibility for someone not wearing a pfd on your boat you are free to do so. Imposing your idea of safety on everyone else is not freedom. If you want everyone under 21 to have to wear a pfd, then everyone would have to carry their "papers" proving their age. We have been living on our boat in the BVI and USVI for 14 months. We have never been boarded or stopped and have never heard of anyone else being boarded or stopped. Their are fewer "rules" for boaters here than in the US. There are thousands of experienced and inexperienced boaters in these waters. I have not heard of or read of any drownings during that time. While in the US I had been boarded or stopped several times. How much more freedom are we willing to give away?
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Old 27-07-2011, 11:26   #40
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

Or we could beat 'em at their own game.

File a lawsuit ordering the BAN of life jackets under all but emergency conditions. Because a MOB is mainly biodegradeable and fish gotta eat too.

But once you throw a PFD onto the average MOB, now you have a premeditated MARPOL violation, as that non-degradeable plastic stuff goes overboard with him.

Sounds like routine use of PFDs just has to be banned, as a matter of international law.
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Old 27-07-2011, 11:36   #41
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

I read the artical in Boat US mag and have to agree that smaller boats under (I think 26 ft) have more deaths from drowning especially in the cold water of the Pacific North West or anywhere. We wear our PFD's if our boat is out of the marina always. My wife (who has sailed over 50 years and me 50 years next year) has always insisted on both of us to wear our belt pack type PFDs, at least if the water is smooth and bigger PFD's if the water is rough. We have no problem with a law that reinforces our existing good habit of being safe. It is almost August and the river water is just getting warm enough to swim in without a wet suit otherwise a person would have only a few minets before going under (dead).
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Old 27-07-2011, 11:41   #42
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

Safety discussions are always polarized, because it's more fun that way and because people feel strongly. Some wave the bloody shirt; "you can never be too safe." Some wave the freedom flag, as though we didn't need parrents to keep us safe when we were small. Both argue by reducing the facts to the absurd. Me too.

The CG is talking about boats under 18 feet long. Although I dislike the potencial mandate, I can see where they are coming from. A rented 18-foot canoe with small chidren and non-swimmers on a northern lake has disaster potential. A 10-foot inflatable tender being rowed by a resposible adult in a warm harbor has no disaster potencial. I like to kayak and I don't like wearing a vest. The vest is bungied on-deck right behind me, I can get back in from the water, and I dress for the water temperature.

I believe this should be like bicycle helmets; age dependent. I started riding before helmets were invented, if we agree to exclude the leather hair nets racers wore. I know the risks; I raced for years. I also watched a young and dumb racer wana-be ride into the door of a car yesterday. We had been jausting for many miles--he would blast through and intersection, I would slowly reel him in, he would blast through another--and then he misscalculated while I stopped for an intresection. I wonder if he had in his mind the helmet would protect him, tha he was invincible? It seems caution born of age worked better. I had a bad crash as a young racer; it smartened me up.

How do I really feel?
http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/2010/03/are-you-captain-safety.html

Regarding liability: We are talking about boats less than 18'. Yes, I do require all people not VERY well known to me to wear a PFD in a kayak or tender. Many don't swim nearly as well as they let on. If I haven't watched them in the water, I'm inclinded to assume they can't swim. We once had someone nearly drown, while swimming at anchor, who proclaimed to be a swimmer; he dove off the boat, swam away from it, and then proceded to sink without making a noise.

Regarding wearability: The Chesapeake is beastly hot in the summer. Just forget about it. Not inflatable. Not a shirt, when it gets very hot. If there were a law I would take my chances.

Policies on our cruising boat (which is NOT the thread topic): I'm strict about harnesses under many circumstances (dark, alone, rough), but relaxed about PFDs. As for liability, if I thought lawsuit by that person or their estate was possible, that person does not sail with me. Children I am VERY careful with and any adult that can't see all that water is a moron and wouldn't be good company anyway.

I'll be honest, I can't understand how someone can enjoy the water that is not a strong swimmer. I can't relate to that. Yes, I understand I could hit my head (pitchpoled beach cats). Yes I know about cold water (frostbiting is fun). Yes, I've going in 32F water with only sailing clothes and no PFD (not fun but very survivable if focused).
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Old 27-07-2011, 11:49   #43
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

You are five times more likely to die from a fall, than from unintentional drowning, but I don't see someone proposing mandatory fall harnesses for people on ladders greater than 6 ft high.

50% of all drowning victims are children under 15 years of age, and the vast majority of those lose their lives in swimming pools. During 2009, 18 children died from a boating related drowning, of those 8 were wearing their life vests. (As a side note 10% of those drown in a bathtub!) Perhaps we should mandate the use of life perservers in all swimming pools for anyone under 15 years old?

I do believe all automobiles should be required to have safety belts, but adults should be allowed to make the choice whether to wear them or not. The same goes with motorcycles and helmets. Children should be mandated to wear both until they are 18.

In any case, about 550 people drown in boating related accidents each year, 25% had been drinking and were impared. Does this warrant EVERY person using the 12,000,000 registered boats in the U.S. wear a life vest full time?

I wear a seatbelt everytime I get in a car, mandated or not. I don't wear a life vest unless I feel conditions warrant it's use, i.e. weather, darkness, distance from shore. On the other hand, I won't go on deck at night underway without a lifeline.

In a nutshell, I am an adult, and as such, I don't need the government telling me what to wear and when.
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Old 27-07-2011, 12:04   #44
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

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It is almost August and the river water is just getting warm enough to swim in without a wet suit otherwise a person would have only a few minets before going under (dead).
This is the problem with a one-size-fits-all aproach. Few people on the Chesapeake sail when the water is that cold! Imagine sailing with a PFD while the heat index is 115F and the water is 85+F. Heat stroke is the more serious risk, and I am NOT trying to be funny.

One thing I can predict if this becomes law, much like 9.9 hp outboards, there will be lot of 18'2" john boats, so the piture in the Boat US article is completely irrelavant.
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Old 27-07-2011, 12:06   #45
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Re: Mandating Adult Life Jacket Wear

Zeehag, with all respect (and I mean that - I have read a lot of your posts and respect your positions), I am not asking why you should have the right to tell me to wear a PFD while I am on your boat. It is your boat and your rules. I have similar rules on my own boat for guests and crew. However, I am asking why "you" should have the right to establish the safety rules on "my" boat. I understand your point about the wrongful death suit, but if "I" am on "my" boat and fall overboard, then that is not a issue.

Hummingway, I have to respectfully disagree with your comment. There are two reasons to buy insurance. The first, and most prevalent, is for the reason you give. I buy insurance that protects me if something bad happens to me. For example, I buy homeowner's insurance to replace my belongings if my house burns down. I buy travel insurance to protect me if my travel plans are disrupted by something outside of my control. However, I am not required to buy either of these by the government. I may be required to do so, for example, my mortgage company may require me to have homeowner's insurance before they will give me a mortgage, but that insurance is to protect them.

The second reason to buy insurance is to protect someone else from the consequences of my actions. This is the type that is required by government.

In the case of automobile insurance (at least in the state where I live), there are two types of insurance. There is the insurance that I am required to buy by the government, which only covers expenses that I might have to pay to someone else if I hit them. There is the insurance that I am not required to buy by the government, which covers expenses that I might have to pay to fix my vehicle if I hit someone else.

Perhaps I should say that my understanding of the proper role of government (any government) is to regulate the interactions between individuals. For example, if I were to punch myself in the nose, that would harm no one but me, so there is no reason for government to get involved. However, if I were to punch you in the nose, that would harm you and so it is legitimate that someone should stop me from doing so. Rather than having each of us running around "defending" ourselves from attacks by others, we choose to form a government which seeks to prevent people from causing harm to each other.

So, requiring me to purchase insurance that will "make you whole" if I injure you would seem to be a legitimate function of government, while requiring me to purchase insurance that will "make me whole" if I injure myself would not.

Now, there are some times when the government has a legitimate reason to protect a person from themself. I cannot think of any at the moment, but I am willing to listen to examples. However, if the government does decide that it needs to protect someone from their own actions - as opposed to protecting them from someone elses's actions - then, I would think, there has to be a very good reason.

I am not sure that simply saying "wearing a PFD would save lives" is sufficient, simply because, as I said earlier, preventing people from going boating at all would also save lives. If the government can mandate that everyone should wear a PFD because it will save lives, what would stop the same government from saying that no one can go boating because it would save lives?

CarlF, I agree with you completly that inflatable PFDs are good and wearing them is also good. However, I disagree with your statement that most people objecting to the mandatory requirement do not wear them. I believe there is a significant difference between the two issues. One has to do with taking responsibility for your own actions, the other has to do with one person forcing their opinion on another person. As to your other statements,

- you are correct regarding the costs of search and rescue. Those costs should be borne by the rescued. However, the use of a PFD should have nothing to do with it. In theory, a person wearing a PFD would be easier to rescue, and therefore, the cost would be lower. But I believe that the cost of rescuing a person not wearing a PFD who fell in next to the dock is probably less than the cost of rescuing a person who fell overboard 40 miles off the Virginia Capes, even if that person was wearing a PFD. Of course, the best way to handle this would be with "SAR insurance" but that's another beast.

- life insurance polices can and sometimes are written in exactly the way you describe. It should be up to the insurance company, just as the insurance company may choose to charge you a lower premium for the same level of coverage if you have had a safe boater course, have a diesel engine or only cruise in a limited area.

- I am unclear who the family or the dog might sue if you fell off your own boat when you were not wearing a PFD. Could you give me an example of this?

I want to make clear that I am not questioning the right of any captain to tell anyone who comes aboard his or her boat what equipment that person has to use. If you come onboard my boat and we are going away from the pier, I am going to give you a PFD, insist that you put it on and fit it to yourself, I am going to make sure that you understand how to use it and I am going to make sure you know where it is at all times and, if you leave my (center) cockpit and go out on deck, I am going to make sure you have it on.

I am also going to lead by example - if I am on deck, even just in the cockpit, I am going to wear my inflatable PFD and if it is night or the weather is bad, I will generally have a tether on, also. But I do not believe that my level of precautions fits everyone else's situations and, just as I would not want you to be able to come on board my boat and tell me how to operate, I would not feel it is my right to go on board yours and tell you how to operate.

But I am a reasonable person, so I am willing to listen to reasons why someone should be able to tell me how to operate. So, I continue to ask.
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