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The Harbor Column:

How far should skipper licensing go?

August 10, 2006|By MIKE WHITEHEAD

The third group requires that everyone attend a boating class with a final exam similar to the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Power Squadron programs. I like this group; however, I would like to see a scaled-down version. This group consists of the heartfelt boaters who answer at least 80% of the boating quizzes in the magazines. This group is comfortable with testing and understand performance standards to operate a vessel.

The final group is a minority on the extreme side in any activity, whether boating or baseball. This group believes that if boating law and boat handling was not your minor in college then you should not be at the helm. This group wants to see extensive testing above the required testing for a Coast Guard Master's license, and uniforms are required by the skipper. Unfortunately, this group will get its way if boaters do not speak up.

There is one special-interest group that I did not purposely mention in this list. Those that want to ban any form of boating on the water, plus they want to ban automobiles, too — go figure.

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I have not included skippers' proficiency on the water as this is a very difficult test. Does someone have to skipper a varied of different boats and sizes to obtain a license? What if I have a 25-foot boat that I can dock with inches of the cleat, do I have to prove proficiency on a 45-footer too?

Safe Voyages.


  • MIKE WHITEHEAD is the Pilot's boating columnist. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to mike@boathousetv.com or visit www.boathousetv.com.

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