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Just read the thread about the six year old boy run over by the 11 year old boy in Key West. This seems to beg the question of licensing anyone who steps behind the wheel of a boat. Might be an unimaginable uphill battle to get legislation, but one that could provide great funding for numerous marine programs and make the waters safer to boot. Whadya think?
There are tons of boating classes available; but they are by choice, and as you know nearly everyone knows too much for their own good and decide not to take these classes. I think they should be mandatory, but sadly I'd hate to admit that more than likely it would end up a joke much like the car driving test.
The most annoying part is having to sit in line at the ramps waiting for the genius who decided to pull his 25 footer out with a two wheel drive soccer mom suv during low tide. Or the yuppie father who just bought a waverunner for the family but has no idea on how to back the trailer into the water, I had to offer my services in putting that thing in... I guess you can say I have no patience, heh.
Don't get me started on idle speeds and right of way.
Ahhh yes, the stories of idiots and boats. I have often thought of mounting a video camera at a boat ramp and filming the antics and selling it as a comedy DVD.
Yes there should be a license program with a class but it dosent work with drivers of cars so why should we think it will work with drivers of boats?
Along the lines of what you are all saying I will drop a couple of things I have learned.
There are already states that have requirements in place.
Most accidents on the water involve two things, PWC's and alcohol, and almost 80% of fatalities didn't involve a PFD. Trying to mandate that people take a class will not keep them from being stupid. I've been in the marine business for over 15 years, currently own two marine businesses and I'll let you in on a well known industry secret: some people are too stupid to own boats
That said, MOST boaters are well behaved and safe. We only hear about the ones that aren't. Compare the number of boats to the number of accidents and fatalities and we as an industry are doing pretty well safety wise.
I live in MA. The law here says if you are under 16 you need to get a special license to drive a boat. I got one years ago. I never used it because I bought my first boat in my mid 20's.
The ifo I learned in the class I think all boaters should know. Unfortunately most of the don't.
I don't see why the couldn't pass a law that required you to take a simple boating safety course to get a boating license.
A few years ago they decided to make all the Firearms licenses in MA (That were good for life) expire. To renew them, or get one in the first place, you have to take a gun safety class. It's only a couple hours long. They should be able to do the same for boats.
This weekend while on my boat, one of my passengers asked me how a large motor boat trimmed very nose high (to generate a very large wake for their jet ski buddies to jump) could see where they were going. My response as I was attempting to predict where they were going and maneuver out of their way, was "they can't". Idiots.
I would support, at a minimum, boaters having to pass a written test to ensure they have a working knowledge of rules of the road, illegalities of mixing alcohol and boat driving, what a dive flag and alpha flag are and mean, etc.
A class may be asking a bit much, but reading a manual and passing a test to demostrate you acquired the knowledge in the manual is not asking too much of a prospective boat driver or owner.
Personally, I am really tired of morons on personal water craft buzzing my dive flag, driving over to get a closer look at it or even pulling it up to see what it's anchored with. The PWC idiots tend to be the worst of the bunch as they just buy the thing, jump on it and then go fast without having any clue what they are doing. And when they get tired, they loan it to their even less knowledgeable freinds.