This thread has two risks - reviving the Abby debate, already going on somewhere else and becoming political which we don't want to happen around here.
So in the narrow margin of "Paying for Rescues" here's my 2 cents.
provides services. One of the services provided by most countries is maritime security
, patrol and rescue
I don't think the debate is whether or not to provide these services. The debate is how they might be funded. The three main ways governments fund things are.
1 - General Fund
2 - User group fees
3 - Pay for use fees
It is usually the case that a small user group, sailors and pilots come to mind, gets pressured to fund their activity, not from the general fund, but from user fees and taxes
. If the user group is small enough the general public will push further and demand that the costs for that activity be a direct use fee charged to the user.
I think there is an argument for per use fees. Certainly no one wants their local fire department or police to be a pay for use government service
rescues are high visibility, high cost and usually benefit a very small number of people.
I could see any government assessing a tax on their own people through the boat registration
that covers "all boaters" for at sea rescue
. This is like an insurance
policy at the government level.
I could further see countries like Australia charging
a cruising fee that includes an element of the at see rescue costs. Again charging
every sailor for the unfortunate few that need rescue.
Of course there are many sailors who will complain that they are safe sailors in no need of rescue so why charge them. The bottom line for me is sometimes bad things happen to good people and we as a community of boaters enjoy that rescue safety
net so why not chip in for it.
However - Change always results in unintended consequence. Arguably ferry
companies can avail of at sea rescue. If I am paying my share of the rescue burden, how about charging a fee via ferry
tickets, to the general public.
In regards to the overly risky venture, there are regulations
about putting your vessel and crew at risk. If the government wanted to recoup the costs, they could press charges and try to levy fines. I like that because it puts burden of proof on the government after the fact when the rescue is complete.
The other risky part is that governments love to collect user fees but somehow the accounting is too troublesome so they throw the user fees in the general fund and then continue to fund the activity from the general fund.
when you change a funding
model for one thing it is easy to start thinking about privatizing the activity or adding more pay for use fees. Where do you draw the line?
One thing for sure in my mind is that for a civilized country to refuse to rescue their citizens is not only preposterous but uncivilized.
Let's be careful with this thread as it is difficult not to go political.