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Author Topic: Licensing boaters created an industry  (Read 1669 times)

troutbreath

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Licensing boaters created an industry
« on: April 14, 2009, 01:24:33 PM »

Licensing boaters created an industry -- but for what purpose?
 
No evidence exists that investment of millions has made boating safer, but documents will soon be required for most powerboat operators
 
By Craig McInnes, Vancouver SunApril 14, 2009
 
Boaters, especially old boaters like me, can be a cantankerous lot.

So when Ottawa tried to make boating safer in the mid-1990s by licensing drivers, it hit a storm of protest.

Some came from old salts, who bristled at the notion that bureaucrats should interfere with the freedom of the seas.

The boating industry feared that new restrictions would hurt sales and rentals. At the time the regulation was being drafted, you could still walk into a boat dealer and launch a water-rocket capable of blasting down the lake at 100 kilometres an hour with no training whatsoever.

To mollify the critics while still trying to save lives, Ottawa turned to the grand tradition of a committee designing a horse. The committee came up with a camel known as the Pleasure Craft Operator Card.

The PCOC, is not, Transport Canada continues to insist, a licence, even though by Sept. 15 of this year, most Canadians will need to carry one to operate a powerboat in Canada. That fine bit of hairsplitting is emblematic of a program that will finally be fully implemented a decade after the licence -- sorry, Operator Card -- was first introduced.

You may have noticed I said "most Canadians." From the beginning, the PCOC program, however, well-intentioned it may have been from a safety point of view, has had serious loopholes, including the fact that even today, if you were born before April 1, 1983, you can still buy that big, fast, powerboat and zip down the lake with no training.

As part of its attempt to please everyone, Ottawa phased in the licensing requirement so that the people with the clout to complain effectively would not be affected for the first several years.

They started with the kids, reasonably limiting the horsepower children under 16 could control. People 16 and older when the licensing regulation took effect in 1999 could carry on as before, with no licence required until later this year.

An exception was a rule designed to capture personal watercraft -- Sea-Doos and the like. Effective in 2002, everyone, including geezers, had to pass a test and get a PCOC if they were in control of a boat less than four metres long.

That provision made sense in terms of trying to control high-speed PWCs, but it also created the bizarre situation that has existed over the past seven years in which adults needed a licence to drive a dinghy, but not to operate the big power boat it was being towed by.

After Sept. 15, it will still be legal to drive a power boat without a licence if it is a rental or you are an American who brought a boat with you to Canada. Try that with a car.

Transport Canada says that 1.5 million operator cards have been issued through approved distributors, representing about a quarter of the more than six million Canadian boaters who it believes ought to have one.

At $50 per licence -- the average price charged by the entrepreneurs and boating organizations that offer the simple course and test required -- that would represent a $300-million investment in safer boating by Canadians if they all come aboard,

Is it worth it? Transport Canada points to statistics that show a decrease in boating fatalities since the program began. But fatalities were also decreasing in the years before it was implemented.

The only sure winners so far are the dozens of companies that issue the licences.

cmcinnes@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
 
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another SLICE of dirty fish perhaps?

huntwriter

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2009, 06:31:28 PM »

Very good article. Boating licensing hasn’t saved on single live or made for better boaters but it sure has made a lot of money and so will the soon to come and equally useless ATV license requirement.  It’s all about creating revenue.

Quote
“Transport Canada points to statistics that show a decrease in boating fatalities since the program began.”

Never believe government statistics. They espouse the same lie about hunter safety. Hunting ALWAYS has been save and hunter education has NOT made it any safer. The accident statistics hovers for decades around 0.2% per 1000 participants, which is nothing compared to accident statistics of other recreational activities.
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Rodney

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2009, 04:05:42 PM »

Is that higher than 0.2% per 1,000,000?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 04:07:23 PM by Rodney »
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Johnny_5

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 02:54:11 PM »

Is that higher than 0.2% per 1,000,000?

Roughly the same  ;)
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Rodney

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2009, 03:20:44 PM »

;D

Did they teach you that at stats 101? ;D

odesseus

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2009, 09:27:25 PM »

Long gun registry=Boating license=Well intentioned, useless meddling
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bcguy

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2009, 09:10:08 AM »

It might actually mean something if you were to do testing uinder a controlled enviropment, how many people know someone at work doing the tests on line for others for $20.00?
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Min

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2009, 08:15:35 PM »

Sort of seems a bit like the 'air care' thing. 
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dspot

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2009, 01:00:21 AM »

I agree with a lot of what has been said here... some type of licensing seems like the politically correct thing to do, while also being a nice money grab.
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SmokeyRiver

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2009, 05:31:37 PM »

How about the new stablity test for boats... heard from a buddy who just had it done that its the biggest joke... just another bill to pay to be a boater.
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speycaster

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2009, 02:59:36 PM »

Gees i hope i do not get tested for that. I have been unstable for years, just ask those that are around me for any amount of time. ;D ;D
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lude98r

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Re: Licensing boaters created an industry
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2009, 08:55:23 PM »

Its a good thing that people will learn from having to take the test, I don't know if it will make much of a difference from a safety standpoint.
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