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Boat Crashes and Licensing

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by 993RSR, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    Do you think it is time we require a federal drivers license for boats? Maybe even on the state level as an endorsement on your drivers license like a motorcycle. As boats get faster and electronics more precise things go wrong quickly. Seems every week we hear about another boat on the beach, jetty, hit a trolling or sail boat. The news travels faster today but the multi outboard center consoles seem to have visibility issues after dark. Guess what happens when you set your plotter/auto pilot to a day marker?

    49 EB bow damage.jpg
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Have you driven on a public road lately? Guess what... all these idiots are licensed

    Most states already mandates some sort of course or class, look at what it covers. Nothing that would prevent accidents. Lots of regulatory stuff that has nothing to do with learning.

    and don’t get me started on the existing federal license program: OUPV and Masters. I see licensed captains running charters who drag anchor, run too fast at night, etc all the time. The critical concept of night vision isn’t even addressed once in USCG classes
  3. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    What if operators who receive moving (reckless) citations get points against their license? I would hope licensing and points (insurance consequences) would calm down the wild wild west boat handling.
    Sooner or later the at least a few of the bad operators would be weeded out.
  4. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I hold a US 1600T Oceans, with endorsements for MCA 3000T Oceans, Jamaica 3000T Oceans, and Marshall Islands 3000T Oceans. The only time I've ever had to show I can drive a boat was for a Fast Rescue Boat certificate; I had to retrieve a coconut with a RIB from a pond!
  5. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    How did the coconut fare?
  6. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    That wasn't my problem. Handed it over to the First Aid/CPR class and went for a rip around the pond!
  7. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Again, how does this work on the road? Not very well...

    And you d need actual enforcement something that pretty much doesn’t exist, at least in south Florida.
  8. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    Fortunately you are not part of the problem :)
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I do like the states requiring now a minimum licensing. Beyond that, I have a couple of thoughts. The only real effective licensing on the average recreational boater is the insurance industry. I do think insurance should be mandatory. Then the insurer takes the risk and they manage. As it is now, they're the ones preventing someone from starting out in a 70' boat with no experience.

    I also think far more needs to be done about operating under the influence as well as other unsafe operation. So many of those boats you're complaining about have operators who are drinking. But then we're one of the few countries that doesn't take driving a car under the influence seriously.
  10. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    This is an interesting subject. On its face, the notion of licenses sounds great. But then I factor in the reality that even with a license requirement they have to make it so easy any idiot can pass. Then you get to the enforcement part. Do we want water cops stopping us to check for a license? Maybe we should, I don;t know. Do you only get checked if you are boarded for something else? Maybe we have mandatory safety inspections with a license check and they put a sticker on the boat to identify you are licensed and inspected?
    And then there is the reality that there are far far more accidents and injuries in small craft and jet skis then on yachts.
  11. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    Regulation is not popular and I understand that however when I am 10 miles offshore on a beautiful day and a 35 knot S/F almost cuts me in half something needs to be done. These incidents are so common now the operators need to be held accountable. Some are just stupid like the guy who approached the Great Bridge lock on plane zipping by the waiting traffic and not responding to the lock operator. Yank his ticket for a period, up his insurance and get him to focus on the rules.
    Slowly weed out the reckless or uninformed.
  12. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of licensing. I would even be willing to spend the money and time for a mandatory class. It just needs to be effective and work to resolve the issue. My concern is it will not solve the problem. Hope to be proven wrong.
  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    But law enforcement has to see him do that and all the licensing in the world doesn't accomplish that. You have so little law enforcement on the water compared to the huge area they have to cover. If an LEO observes they can ticket but the odds of them observing are extremely slim.

    While ever automobile driver says "Oh I never speed. I don't know what got into me" when they're stopped, the reality is they do it all the time, just got caught once. We don't catch 1% of the violators on the road. The odds of catching more than 0.1% on the water are slim. You'd need 50 times as many agents as we have. You can't yank a license if no one catches him and you don't count, must be law enforcement.
  14. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    I introduced this topic at a Maryland boat dealers meeting in the early '80's. The wounds on my neck are still visible.
    AIS with alarms should be mandatory equipment on boats over say 40 feet.
    The problem of crashes boat to boat and boat to stationary objects has reached a dangerous level.
  15. jsschieff

    jsschieff Senior Member

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    I'm surprised that there aren't more boating accidents. I overlook a waterway called the "crossroads" where the ICW/St. Lucie Inlet/St. Lucie River intersect and on nice weekends it is a maelstrom of center consoles, pontoon boats, jetskis and other craft playing dodgem cars at 25 knots. I have yet to see a collision here, although a small powerboat rammed into a channel marker nearby at speed in an accident that killed two people including an infant and the driver's wife. The boat driver has just been charged with murder I believe.
  16. YachtForums

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  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    For decades I've been calling for state (NOT federal) boating licenses. The test should be one question: "Have you taken a basic boating course?" Insurance companies should require proof of experience (and maybe it needs to be through law) as boaters move up in footage, tonnage and speed. Right now they generally will when boats get over about 50', but a guy can buy a 35' boat that'll do 70mph and all he needs is enough money.
    Boat owners also need to get educated. Like Ken, in 30 years as a captain I've only been asked to show my license when I did commercial work. Personally I'd never hire a captain on his 1st issue. I've met too many 1st issue captains whose only qualifications were that they had a 26' boat registered in their name and were good at taking tests..
  18. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    One impression some are attempting to give is that this is somehow a new and worse problem. You've had this since the beginning of time. You may have more fast boaters, but at one time you had more boaters without any equipment, more running at night without lights. I've seen this on a thirty mile lake stretch with three game wardens on a weekend day and they still could only see a small portion of the dangerous activity. I've seen a bass boat cross there at night at 60 mph with no lights. No LEO on duty then to see it. We still have, as we always have, the man who heads out to the Gulf in his jon boat or small skiff with his two kids.

    Most states now have some form of licensing. I am sure it's helped in some way, but it won't solve the problem anymore than it has on the roads. Most of them require an online boating course. They don't require any on water proof as there are no people to administer such and no one wants the cost, plus who can't drive ok one time for a test.

    We have all the laws needed except one requiring insurance, but we don't have the enforcement. Are you willing to increase your taxes to have ten times the LEO's on the water?
  19. ChiTown

    ChiTown New Member

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    Why not licensing based on minimum written standards, and either annual or bi-annual mandatory online course work that features practical safety, navigation and handling issues and examples. Education works, corporations do it all the time for ethics and it makes a difference. Tie the registration to the license as well as insurance. Low cost and a lot easier to implement than policing every lake, river and coastal body of water.