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Old 02-04-2019, 07:39   #46
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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You guys should move to Lake Woebegon where everyone is above average intelligence.


At Lake Wobegon, it's only the children that are all above-average. Then they grow up, get motorboats and their cognitive abilities decline, I guess...
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:42   #47
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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Heck - in the USA all drivers are licensed. This includes a driving test and well as a written. But how many of us yield to the car on the right when in an intersection?

Some how we got it into our heads that I was here first so I get to go first.....
Am I supposed to wait for a car on the right to come to the intersection, so I can let him go first?

If you get there first, you do indeed get to go first. The 'yield to the car on the right' rule comes into play when you both arrive at the same time.

And I no longer wonder why people don't follow the rules, they either don't know them, or misunderstand them (maybe willingly).
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:11   #48
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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I honesty don't know what those who are negative about some form of mandatory pleasure boating safety education are afraid of?

We are not talking about anything more than a primer on safe operating guidelines

An ilustrated booklet that can be read in a few days similar to a First Aid and CPR course followed up by a multiple choice test of each section.

COLREGS
MARINE EMERGENCIES
RADIO PROCEDURES
CHART READING
SAFE SPEED
MARINE WEATHER WARNINGS
Etc...etc..

Completion does not give you a license, but the privilege to operate a boat near others.
I’m not opposed to an effective licensing system, much like we now have for auto driver license in most Canadian provinces. Here we use a graduated system with multiple written and practical tests that stretch over many years. I’ve seen data that shows clear benefit to this kind of extensive licensing system. It is extensive and costly, and most of it is operated by the private sector (which I don’t think is a good model), but it clearly improves accident rates.

On the boater side Canada has had a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) for around two decades. This is a licensing system along the lines you outline. I can find no clear evidence of actual benefit to accident rates or deaths. Rates have decreased and increased year-to-year, since it was put in place, with no clear improvement (or decrease) in incident rates.

So my point is, if you’re going to do it, do it right. But my secondary point is that according to accident data, there really is no problem to solve here — at least not with cruising-level boats, and certainly not for sailboats. The accident rates in these categories are insignificant. So if a licensing system is to be instituted it should be targeted at the boater categories where there are real problems: mostly open powerboats.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:17   #49
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

Do you enjoy paying taxes? The Coast Guard would be much less busy with search and rescue tasks if boaters were a bit more competent.

We pick up the tab for all those rescues. I can't count how many times I've heard distress calls because the skipper was drifting aground -- with a perfectly good but undeployed anchor.

There are two reasons for licensing: to assure a minimal level of knowledge, and to have something to take away from idiots.

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Old 02-04-2019, 09:44   #50
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

A friend's boat was T-boned while on a mooring, by a vessel operated by a USCG-licensed captain. The offending vessel sailed off with no attempt to ascertain damage.
Having said that, the number of "mariners" out there who don't even know that there ARE rules is really frightening. The number who know but don't care is about as bad. IMO, we must all do our best to be good examples, and teachers when possible.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:44   #51
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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Am I supposed to wait for a car on the right to come to the intersection, so I can let him go first?

If you get there first, you do indeed get to go first. The 'yield to the car on the right' rule comes into play when you both arrive at the same time.

And I no longer wonder why people don't follow the rules, they either don't know them, or misunderstand them (maybe willingly).
I agree with you "they either don't know them, or misunderstand them".

The right goes first rule applies to all vehicles in the intersection.

So you get to the intersection first and stop then another car gets to the intersection after you and stops. If you have not started by the time they stop then you are both are in the intersection together and the right hand rule applies.

There are variations state by state that determine when you are both in the intersection....
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:59   #52
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

NO mandatory licensing would not change things.
We have mandatory licensing and training to drive a car and that hasn't prevented stupidity on the roadways.
I will put in a plug for the "Tire Rack BMWCCA Street Survival" skills class. It actually teaches young drivers how to handle a car in emergency situations.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:08   #53
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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I think the answer would depend on the licensing scheme. One with high standards, including a practical exam, has a better chance of upping the competency level of operators. But this would require significant resources, and the political will to weather the inevitable storm of protest. I really can’t see it happening.
This! Mike and several others correctly point out that almost assuredly a licensing scheme would NOT improve things. New York State now requires a mandatory safety course. It was not terribly useful. Let's consider, again as a few others have pointed out, auto licensing. The standards are pretty low as to be almost useless.


If on the other hand, we considered a program like Finland has, then that would be very different. They have some of the best drivers in the world. In the auto racing community the phrase is "If you want to win, hire a Finn." I don't recall the exact details but it can ta,e several (possibly three) years to get one's full license. They also have to demonstrate proficiency in many varied conditions such as in the marbles, on dry as well as wet pavement, snow, etc. Germany is also like this.


A program such as this is not gong to happen in the U.S. and probably most other countries. Perhaps it really isn't necessary either. Incidents are few and generally minor, and as Voltaire said, Perfect is the enemy of good enough.


If we had such a program, would insurance rates go down? If we had such a program, would the government keep fees low? If we had such a program, would the already low accident rate really decrease? If we had such a program, would it benefit recreational boating or would we sell less boats, have fewer jobs, fewer marinas, etc?


I think all can agree that such a program is not going to happen.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:13   #54
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

There are 2 general ways to legally keep bad drivers off the road:
-one system is to grant everyone right to drive but take away, invariably by a messy procedural process, the right from infractors
-the second second is to get everyone sign a form (license) stating that they will familiarize themselves will all applicable laws (a library full) and abide by them....it's procedural expedient to process infractors with this system

In a circumstance where bad drivers remain on the road anyway and the average person commits like 3 felonies per day, there is reason to be skeptical about the license process as a means to keep dangerous activity off the road.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:26   #55
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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There are two reasons for licensing: to assure a minimal level of knowledge, and to have something to take away from idiots.
Actually, there is a third reason. To collect fees, which are then spent checking to see if you have a license, which is really all that state programs are.

For all you licensing advocates, here how about this example of a boat driven by a fully licensed by the Coast Guard Captain...



I used to teach sailing professionally. I had one young lady as a student who had a license from Germany to sail a boat. From what I could see, the German license exam was about as rigorous as the USCG Captain's exam. She passed. She had no idea how to sail a boat. (Note: Good on her she recognized it and took lessons!)
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:35   #56
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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I've been boating now for over 20 years in the U.S. and the level of poor seamanship that I see year in and year out often has me shaking my head. I know many never bother to pick up a book or learn about the various rules of the road and it shows in how improperly some operate their vessels. For a while I had thought the bad behavior was just a reflection of the fact that manners seems to be a thing of the past but as I have gotten to know more people that are in the "I have no idea what I am doing but I had the money and I wanted a boat" camp I am thinking more and more that it is simply a lack of education. Simple things like understanding the give-way rules, simple knot tying, basics of anchoring, basic navigation, etc are just not understood.

I saw this most starkly when my father had to go through the process of getting a license in Washington to operate his little 16 foot fishing boat after having cruised around the waters of New York for well over 30 years. He was amazed at just how much he had been doing wrong for so long and just how little he really knew.

So, do you think mandatory licensing would help reduce poor seamanship? For those in places where this is in effect what are your thoughts on how it has affected the operation of boats in your area? I'm not a fan of having to ask for government permission to do things but I fear as the more money than experience crowd grows the waters around here will just get more dangerous.
oh my, yes, we need more government intervention into our lives so we can all feel safe. so many unsafe boaters and all because we don't have licenses. I mean, just look how licensing motorists has kept unsafe drivers off the road?

I think last year a mere fifty thousand deaths happened on the highways. maybe licensing boaters we can hit similar safe numbers out on the water.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:46   #57
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

If a required license would not make a difference: How about we try that with airplanes:
Any idiot could go at and buy a jet: Would you want to be flying in the same airspace as these newbie pilots with no training but with too much money? (Credit Card Captains)
Aaaah, you say: Boats are different because...
Not any difference for us boating in South Florida: So much stupid stuff going down every weekend that we cut way way down on our week-end boating, too risky. Really.
I own 3 boats, on the water almost every day except weekends, and especially long weekends when people really celebrate, get lubed up and go to the “sandbar” playing music, showing of bikini bimbos, drinking and snorting all day, then motor home with the music at full blast and only 1 braincell left to run the boat. Not pretty.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:47   #58
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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I agree with you "they either don't know them, or misunderstand them".

The right goes first rule applies to all vehicles in the intersection.

So you get to the intersection first and stop then another car gets to the intersection after you and stops. If you have not started by the time they stop then you are both are in the intersection together and the right hand rule applies.

There are variations state by state that determine when you are both in the intersection....
I'm sure there are differences, but NY law says "At intersections not controlled by signs or signals, or where two or more drivers stop at STOP signs at the same time and they are at right angles, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right."

please note the "where two or more drivers stop at STOP signs at the same time" which would mean if one car stopped first, the rule does not apply, and defaults back to first come, first served
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:49   #59
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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This! Mike and several others correctly point out that almost assuredly a licensing scheme would NOT improve things. New York State now requires a mandatory safety course. It was not terribly useful. Let's consider, again as a few others have pointed out, auto licensing. The standards are pretty low as to be almost useless…..
Well, to be clear Dave, I said that a licensing scheme that is rigorous, such as the one now found in most Canadian provinces for drivers licenses — this likely would improve conditions on the water. I guess it is similar to what exists in Finland and Germany, according to your description. It indeed takes a minimum of three years to become fully licensed to drive in Ontario now. And accident rates HAVE decreased.

A boaters’ license system that is similar in approach likely would improve accident rates. It is expensive, and bureaucratically cumbersome (even though much of it is outsourced to the private sector in Ontario), but it is likely worth it b/c it addresses a real problem: carnage on the roads.

Any examination of boater accident rates reveals that the problem is many factors less than auto accidents. AND, the problems are largely focused in a few categories of boat types; small open motorboats being by far the major one. The rate of sailboat accidents is two magnitudes lower, and the rate of accidents and deaths involving cruising level boats is essentially insignificant.

So a widespread boater licensing system is really a solution in search of a problem, at least here in North America (where I’ve seen the stats). But the data does support a tough licensing system for operators of these problem category boats; mostly small open powerboats.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:52   #60
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Re: Would mandatory licensing change things?

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I agree with you "they either don't know them, or misunderstand them".

The right goes first rule applies to all vehicles in the intersection.

So you get to the intersection first and stop then another car gets to the intersection after you and stops. If you have not started by the time they stop then you are both are in the intersection together and the right hand rule applies.

There are variations state by state that determine when you are both in the intersection....

Ummm. "Intersections?" On the water?

The rules is: the vessel on the right side of the intersecting courses should stand on (maintain course). But if they collide, chances are both vessels will be found at fault if both were underway. And in complex situations, such as involving three vessels,the rule is to slow down or stop, or even move astern if necessary (difficult things to accomplish under sail).

The whole point of the rules isn't to ascribe blame (unlike driving rules) but to make movements of the other vessel(s) more predictable. That whole scheme breaks down when the other helmsman doesn't know the rules.

I have red-over-green lights on my mast according to rule 25(c). I've had many sailors -- only sailors -- come up and ask what they mean. I sigh, pull our my inland and international navigation rules book, and show them the picture. The next question I often hear is: "Where did you get that book?" (Sigh.)

If you really want a conveyance that has no rules, get a horse. They rarely run into each other.
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