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Old 31-12-2011, 06:48   #46
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Originally Posted by donradcliffe
If you want to see where government boating licenses will end up, just look what has happened to radio licensing--You now need a restricted operators license to operate a marine SSB. It requires no theory or practical testing, but costs $60. Does that license make you a better operator or protect the public??
Yes but that's an argument for proper radio licensing. In nearly every other country a proper course and practical exam are required. Arguably the US should have it too. Your argument doesn't invalidate proper compulsory training. It's more a reflection on your view of your government.

The fact is current non compulsory training such as the various RYA courses and ASA stuff etc have aroven track record in imparting knowledge. Theres no logic in arguing that if you made it compulsory it suddenly looses any value. The fact is any busy day in a popular harbour will demonstrate the need for such testing.
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Old 31-12-2011, 07:04   #47
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Re: Licensing

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Originally Posted by Seahunter View Post
Good point, excepting that for licensing to work a required skill set must be learned and passed by exam. The number of voices here that are against knowledge being passed down to newbies and making them pay their way towards licensing is disturbing.
I don't think anyone is against knowledge being passed to newbies - and there are already all manner of options available to someone starting out. At various price tags. Folk can get trained and have certificates up the wazoo if they want to. Doesn't mean they automatically become "safe" or that I would get onboard with 'em.

But in reality most do have the wit to start with baby steps. I appreciate that some areas (cultures?) may have difficulty with that, in which case local bye-laws would seem to be the way to go (enforcement monies raised by a tax on moorings, by length). It's not about what people know, it's what they do that really matters.

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My guess is that many of the armchair naysayers wouldn't or couldn't pass a basic boating exam.
That might be me . Would I fail? depends on the questions (and whether I had read up on the requirements) - and the pass mark percentage required.

But it's not by accident that I haven't ever (inc. pre-Armchair mode) set off accross the Atlantic (or anywhere else!) on a Pedalo. Well, not yet .........and that's without learning the hard way, nor being trained . YMMV.

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Bemoaning the cost of examination as government interference is ludicrous as recreational boating is the only non-licensed marine activity not covered by licensing.
Even if that was true - so what? It's not like collecting a set is it? Big difference between commercial and recreational (one involves choice and the other more open to coercion).

Unlicensed marine activity - How about scuba diving? or snorkelling? or swimming? or paddling in the water? or standing within 10 foot of the sea? or walking on the beach (over here could add recreational fishing and pooping without Govt inspection / supervision? )......all of those could and do involve recreational deaths.

FWIW I am a fully trained PADI (Advanced!) Scuba Diver - and I can't even swim ....and I didn't get trained in the 3rd world either. And I have nearly killed myself at least once - more luck than judgement that I am not still (very happily!) swimming away and down from the Rainbow Warrior (NZ), as it was I also surfaced with a tank that would not even inflate my BCD

Training also gives folk the confidence to do things they shouldn't. A bit like a GPS / Chartplotter - I would licence those!

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Perhaps we should do away with all forms of auto, airplane and all marine licensing?
Nice strawman

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Boating isn't black magic, but it does require more of a skill set than driving a car or truck that do by the by require licensing. It's just common sense safety wise to ensure sufficient accreditation for coastal navigation, rules of the road, and the employment of basic electronic like radar, GPS and VHF radios.
Agreed. and folk can already.........but you can't legislate for "common sense". Folk may wish to, but it's an expensive waste of time (apart from a warm fuzzy feeling for the proponents / supporters). Those with it will use it anyway. Those without won't (can't?).

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A higher level of skill and knowledge on the water may prevent that Pan or Mayday which actually do come with a high price tag each and every time the CG fire up that helo, risking their lives to save one of ours.
I thought cost was not an issue when it comes to safety? I expect what folk really mean is that cost is no object unless it comes directly out of own pocket rather than via general taxation / from other people.

If folk want to cure the stupid, join a religion .
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Old 31-12-2011, 07:12   #48
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Originally Posted by cfarrar

Is there any evidence to support the claim that a rising level of incompetency is causing harm to responsible boaters?
.
In Maryland we (coast guard auxiliary) noticed that as classroom attendance was traded for online testing fatalities and injuries went up.

Learning the required knowledge from experienced boaters seems to make all the difference.
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Old 31-12-2011, 07:47   #49
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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey

I don't think anyone is against knowledge being passed to newbies - and there are already all manner of options available to someone starting out. At various price tags. Folk can get trained and have certificates up the wazoo if they want to. Doesn't mean they automatically become "safe" or that I would get onboard with 'em.
It may be true but again it doesn't matter in the argument for or against such training, the purpose is to instill some basic knowledge and make people aware of any rules or regs and appreciate the safety issues. It doesn't make sows ears into silk purses

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Even if that was true - so what? It's not like collecting a set is it? Big difference between commercial and recreational (one involves choice and the other more open to coercion).
Not really just the scale of the toys and hence the rigour of the training. It's doesn't justify no training.

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Unlicensed marine activity - How about scuba diving? or snorkelling? or swimming? or paddling in the water? or standing within 10 foot of the sea? or walking on the beach (over here could add recreational fishing and pooping without Govt inspection / supervision? )......all of those could and do involve recreational deaths.

FWIW I am a fully trained PADI (Advanced!) Scuba Diver - and I can't even swim ....and I didn't get trained in the 3rd world either. And I have nearly killed myself at least once - more luck than judgement that I am not still (very happily!) swimming away and down from the Rainbow Warrior (NZ), as it was I also surfaced with a tank that would not even inflate my BCD
Scuba is almost universally licensed and requires training. Equating driving large boats in offshore conditions with the care of crew with paddling and swimming is facetious and spurious. The two sets of activity have one common feature , water, that's about it. And in most cases we protect the paddler with lifeguards.

Your comments re PADI again illustrate the ridiculousness of the argument you put forward. A minimum competency training is required, the activity can be dangerous, you can still makes a dogs dinner of it and kill yourself. Yet your implied suggestion is that NO training is better! All your argument exposes are the well known defects in PADI training, it doesn't invalidate the concept of compulsory training.
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Training also gives folk the confidence to do things they shouldn't. A bit like a GPS / Chartplotter - I would licence those!

Nice strawman

Agreed. and folk can already.........but you can't legislate for "common sense". Folk may wish to, but it's an expensive waste of time (apart from a warm fuzzy feeling for the proponents / supporters). Those with it will use it anyway. Those without won't (can't?).

I thought cost was not an issue when it comes to safety? I expect what folk really mean is that cost is no object unless it comes directly out of own pocket rather than via general taxation / from other people.

If folk want to cure the stupid, join a religion .
Now the first sentence takes the biscuits. Training makes people worse. Well ill remind the pilot next time I fly that all that training is putting us in danger. What utter balderdash. Let's return to the Edwardian times you obviously live in , where for example " book learning" for girls was a bad idea !!

You cannot legislate for common sense, in that you cannot provide someone who hadn't it with it. However compulsory training means a failure rate and it does help weed out those that are obviously incapable of simple things. Again as I've stated the idea behind such training ( which is not a license, what I advocate is you must do a course not just pass an exam to get a license) is to at the very least make people aware of the safety issues, rules and regs and the need to understand the basics. It does not turn them into a sea dog ( mind you some of them need training)
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Old 31-12-2011, 08:17   #50
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Re: Licensing

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
You cannot legislate for common sense, in that you cannot provide someone who hadn't it with it. However compulsory training means a failure rate and it does help weed out those that are obviously incapable of simple things. Again as I've stated the idea behind such training ( which is not a license, what I advocate is you must do a course not just pass an exam to get a license) is to at the very least make people aware of the safety issues, rules and regs and the need to understand the basics. It does not turn them into a sea dog ( mind you some of them need training)
Agreed, but to reiterate, licensing (in some form) confirms the boater(s) has passed some degree of training and the accompanying examination.
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Old 31-12-2011, 08:19   #51
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Originally Posted by Seahunter

Agreed, but to reiterate, licensing (in some form) confirms the boater(s) has passed some degree of training and the accompanying examination.
Yes of course,but the idea is you receive training both practical and theory ( if possible) to ensure you are aware of the issues. The exam merely sets a pass rate.

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Old 31-12-2011, 08:24   #52
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Re: Licensing

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Yes of course,but the idea is you receive training both practical and theory ( if possible) to ensure you are aware of the issues. The exam merely sets a pass rate.
That works for me. Yet it may lend towards a graduated license, which might not be a bad thing.
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Old 31-12-2011, 10:35   #53
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Many people are focusing on why and how licensing won't work. It would be interesting to put those crreative juices towards what will work. It's easier to burn a barn than build one.

Some of the non-licensing proponents say, "get the idiots off the water." but how can you tell who the idiots are?

Also for me it is not the written exam that separates the wheat from the chaff. It is the practical exam and oral exam. The licensing in Singapore was asult of jetskiers killing swimmers near the beaches. The requirement is onerous in that any vessel powered, no matter how low the hp requires the license.

When I got through the two weekend class, the written and reached the stage of practical examination about 30 days had elapsed and about $500 in fees. The practical exam was in an 18 foot dynaglass center console and required, crossing situations, passing situations, a mob drill that was timed to <45 second and two docking exercises.

The young lady on my boat having passed all the theory, failed miserably on the practical. On the oral part I was grilled on every increasing complex questions until I missed one. At that point I passed through.

I do think that government administered programs can contain many holes. The driving test in the US (especially California) seems designed to let people in and not sort them out. I don't know for sure but I think tests that I did as a kid (3-point turn, parallel parking) have been eliminated.

However a properly administered program with strict practical requirements would definitely be useful.

Corruption or inadequacy in the system is not reason to not have a system.

I sailed and boated since 1972. I also didn't need no stinkin' license. Until I got to Singapore. Then I had to study my tail off and pass a pretty comprehensive test. I agree that part of the fear of old salts is that they wont pass and will be embarrased. If we are all so smart then what the heck is our concern?

I do know a couple that bought a boat in Singapore. Husband and wife went through courses together. Wife passed, overconfident understudied husband failed. She really could have rubbed it in but didn't. She did insist on helming until he passed the written and practical 6 weeks later...
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Old 31-12-2011, 10:48   #54
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Re: Licensing

Perhaps the sad crux of this is usually licensing != competency. Who can argue with training and practical experience? As for licensing, we all know there are plenty of folks flying down the asphalt ribbons of the world at 60 MPH in 2 tons of steel, fully legal and purportedly trained to do so, and most obviously by their behaviour, a hazard to all. I personally can't see a boat license amounting to much different but perhaps I am just an old cynic.
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Old 31-12-2011, 11:03   #55
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Re: Licensing

Given everything else is equal, when you get onto a larger vessel as a passenger, would you prefer that the crew be licensed or not?

When you fly on a commercial jet, do you prefer that the pilots be licensed by the FAA or not?...although this would never happen. Would you be okay with an unlicensed commercial pilot even if he has tons of experience? If this person is accepting money it would make you wonder why they have no license. Did they lose it at one time or are they too lazy or unqualified to get one?
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Old 31-12-2011, 11:12   #56
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Given everything else is equal, when you get onto a larger vessel as a passenger, would you prefer that the crew be licensed or not?

When you fly on a commercial jet, do you prefer that the pilots be licensed by the FAA or not?...although this would never happen. Would you be okay with an unlicensed pilot even if he has tons of experience?
While I agree with your concept equating commercial aviation operations or commercial trucking opeerations to commercial boating operations is not at hand here. Commercial boating operations are covered with USCG licensing.

However point made - no many would agree that any person who decides to work for the lowest wage should be piloting commercial ferries.

In fact attaching licensing to the USCG system would be a logical step. Pesonal Powercraft licensing fitting somewhere between nothing and six pack. The requirements could fit in at 10hp and/or 20ft LOA.
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Old 31-12-2011, 11:53   #57
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Re: Licensing

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Given everything else is equal, when you get onto a larger vessel as a passenger, would you prefer that the crew be licensed or not?

When you fly on a commercial jet, do you prefer that the pilots be licensed by the FAA or not?...although this would never happen. Would you be okay with an unlicensed commercial pilot even if he has tons of experience? If this person is accepting money it would make you wonder why they have no license. Did they lose it at one time or are they too lazy or unqualified to get one?
Hehe, of course I prefer that a commercial pilot or captain be licensed. The licensing for commercial piloting and captaining is far more stringent then a private car or vessel and requires hundreds of hours of practical graduated experience. I have faith that that is carried out if they possess the document.

To answer your question though, would I fly with someone who had tons of experience and no license? In short, if I knew them and knew they were competent, yeah I would. If they were a stranger to me then I am left with having to believe in the licensing system and probably would not for the reasons given above.

The mandatory boating exam that I took here in Canada required that I know how to clean a life jacket and could distinguish the difference between an outboard motor and a sail. It failed in every way to instill in me a measure of faith in the carrier of the document. Much the same, I am not inspired to ride in a car with certain people I know, and that reflects not only on them but on the system that delivered the document.

I appreciate that the govt. is trying to make things safer here but the dismal experience I personally had with our attempt at legislation left me with a bad taste. I would have preferred something much more comprehensive, something that would give me some faith that my fellow boaters actually knew what the green can represents. If the licensing system can't manage that, well, what's the point really?
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Old 31-12-2011, 11:56   #58
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Re: Licensing

Calif: You make some moderate, reasonable points. Of course, I hope not to adopt Singapore's laws wholesale, as tempting as it might be to cane teenagers for spitting in public!

Seriously, the question is not whether we can institute a workable licensing program, or whether "old salts" can get over their pride. Neither is the question how much it costs to rescue sailboats, since by that argument we should also license skiing, swimming, back country packing, obesity, etc, etc.

The real question is whether unlicensed sailors pose a threat to others, and does this danger justify the cost, time, and loss of freedoms that accompany increased government regulation? I'm willing to say maybe, and I'm keeping my mind open, but I am not yet convinced by the arguments or evidence in this thread.

Driving and aviation licenses are a good idea because of the immediate danger posed to others as you navigate large machines at speeds between 60 and 600 miles per hour. Moreover, the safety record for automobiles and aircraft was dismal in the days before licensing. I can see a parallel argument for licensing high speed powerboats. For a sailboat travelling at 8mph the argument is less compelling. Yes, I understand that sailing is far from risk free. It's just that I don't see evidence of unlicensed sailors causing frequent and/or significant harm to others. In Maine we have no licensing requirement, yet boaters are reasonably competent and tend not to harm each other.

If we create a more rigorous licensing system for sailors, we should realize that the track record for government licensing is less than impressive. Here are a few of my licenses / certificates, and my personal assessment of their utility, ie, the trade off between public good and public burden:

Airline Transport Pilot - good - enhances public safety, requires training, experience, and practical exams, doesn't guarantee competence but it's a starting point...

PADI dive certificate - good - teaches some important safety concepts that you don't want to learn by trial and error (not required to dive in the U.S. but a good idea)

Pistol Permit - so-so - required safety course and live fire a good idea for public safety, though nothing I didn't learn from my old man or the Navy, and I resent needing a government permit to exercise a constitutional right

Connecticut Commercial Driving License - poor - little enhancement to public safety compared with the standard driver's license, with more paperwork and cost

Connecticut "Safe Boating" License - poor - a long, boring course about basic rules of the road, types of PFDs, etc. Exam is a joke. I don't feel any "safer."

FCC Radio License - ? - really just a government user fee

Ship's Radio License - ? " " " "
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Old 31-12-2011, 12:08   #59
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Re: Licensing

cfarrar, most of what you write is more a function of poor implementation or poor course design

IN my case where I come from cars now require significant of mandatory course time and logbooked miles as a leaner

as to radio licenses, a VHF license take a full day of training and a practical exam, you must demonstrate DSC capability etc,

SSB, requires a long range ticket, 2 days intensive course, higher pass standard and full examination of all functions of a SSB radio

ICC, doing it by direct assessment, 2 day course carried out on the boat, including theory , rules etc, boat handling, basic nav ability, chart understanding etc

PS: In my case for a pistol license, I just apply for my license, wait three weeks and away I go.

All your comments conclude that its a matter of designing an implementation thats strikes a balance between simplicity and allowing novices to pass, yet retaining a degree of difficulty to remove those that cant or wont learn anything.

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Old 31-12-2011, 12:22   #60
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Re: Licensing

cfarrar, most of what you write is more a function of poor implementation or poor course design

I agree, but unfortunately that's the way with governments and large institutions. Just ask any American teacher about No Child Left Behind, the College Board, and standardized testing. Before we embark on the path to more rigorous oversight we should ask if the problem really justifies a government solution.
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