The speed of the ship is ascertained by means of the log-line, which is a cord knotted at equal distances of 51 feet; 120 of these lengths are equal to a geographical mile. At one end of this line, the “log,” More
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The speed of the ship is ascertained by means of the log-line, which is a cord knotted at equal distances of 51 feet; 120 of these lengths are equal to a geographical mile. At one end of this line, the “log,” More
Mooring Fields and Marinas as Businesses
Although mooring fields have been around in Florida for decades, most of them today have been created since 2000. They are a relatively new idea in Florida. Anchorages, as we all know, have been around wherever there’s water for a few thousand years. But they, and mooring fields, sure create a lot of controversy.
In St. Augustine, in 2008, they cut back the number of moorings from 369 to 227. In one of the two fields planned, residents complained that it would still be too big and would look like a “parking lot” (unpaved, of course). The city responded that if they cut it back any farther, there would be a lot of boats anchored in the same area, reminding many that communities cannot regulate anchoring outside of mooring fields. So you might as well have a mooring field you can control. Some of these waterfront property owners, thinking the water is theirs, don’t want to see any boats in front of their homes.
This is typical of what is going on, but it is really the same old story. Waterfront property owners want to control the water in front of their homes. They complain that there are lots of boaters, and they all pollute and make noise (ignoring the fact that waterfront property owners are a much larger source of water pollution than boaters). These landowners just don’t want them there. They forget: They did not buy those waters.
From the boaters’ side, they don’t want mooring fields. They want to still anchor, because many have been doing so for years—for free. Why should they have to start paying now? Next, the communities want to charge them to come ashore—something else they have been doing for free for years. CHARGE MONEY TO COME ASHORE? There’s a new concept.
We boaters might as well accept the fact that mooring fields are here to stay and be thankful that the courts are on our side. What we need to fight for is to hold onto these rights (because the landowners want them) and also to make sure we get good fields with good services. What we must do is fight for good reasonable services—at reasonable prices. Cruisers visit towns just like other people. They just come in boats, but towns want to charge boaters for every step. Charge for mooring, charge for bringing the dinghy in, charge for going to the bathroom. Run it like a “business” (the new fad word in “modern” government).
In another news piece in “Our Waterways,” we report that Plantation Key Yacht Harbor wants to run their marina like a business. Why do they think that way? Do we run the cars that come through our towns as a business? If we did, there would be a toll gate at every town entry, and a toll would be charged for the cars’ pollution, noise, pavement, paving, curbs, maintenance, stop lights, signs, police road patrols, etc. I say let them park on the edge of town and walk in—or rent them an electric cart (call it a “land dinghy”). How much money would towns make, er—save, that way? How much quieter would towns be? How many drunk drivers would we have? How much healthier would people be walking everywhere? How much green space would towns have?
And charge them to walk in. Run it like a business.
A few years ago, a contributor wrote an article on the “Free Table” that is commonly found at places around the world where cruisers roam. I’ve run into many “free tables” in all sorts of places. I bet man people, especially cruisers have a “free table” story. I remember a related experience I had several years back.
I once spent a week at a dive resort (called CoCo View) on Roatan Island, Honduras. This was a great resort—very casual and informal. Accommodations were excellent, and you could dive from the beach. It had an ol’ style feeling about it, but it was also very clean and modern with great dive boats and equipment. It also had a very unique dining and menu experience of real good, healthy food. I can’t say enough good about it.
It didn’t have a free table, but it did have a free paperback book exchange. One day, I was checking them out, and one of the books I picked up was hollow—just like you’d expect to find in an old prison movie where someone used it to smuggle in contraband. The edges were intact, and you couldn’t tell it was hollow till you opened it. I found several books like that and discovered that they were all books that most likely had been sitting there a while untouched. Eventually, termites found their way into them and ate out the insides. Termites avoid light and will always stay away from it. All they needed was one point where the wooden bookshelf was touching the wall and they could eat through it and reach a book, and—instead of reading it—they ate it. I learned that the termites were so bad on the island that just about everything had to be made out of pressure-treated wood—or they’ll eat it.
The owners of the resort were a couple of sailors who had come down to the island years before and found the resort partially completed and for sale, so they bought it. The husband was a builder from Florida and introduced pressure-treated wood to the island and used it extensively in building the resort. For example: The door frames, jambs and casings were all
pressure-treated—even the wood trim around the bathroom mirrors. I found this out because I used to sit at the small bar with the owner, and since I was a builder at the time, we talked about building.
Above the bar, there was an old ship lamp about the size of a football. It was held up by a hawser (a thick rope used on ships) that was about four inches thick. It was supported at both ends and held the lamp up—quite artistically—in the shape of a “U.” One evening I came into the bar area and the whole thing was gone. The bartender told me the hawser just gave way in the middle of the previous night, and the whole thing came tumbling down. Turns out the hawser was completely hollow. Termites had eaten the inside out over a period of time to the point where all that was left was just a thin shell of a rope, till it gave way.
And that’s my free table story.
If you have a free table story, please email it to email@example.com.
This article was originally printed as an editorial in February 2010 in SOUTHWINDS.
Recently, the owner of a Florida charter company told me business was doing well—in spite of the slow economy—and that many boaters were giving up on a charter in the Caribbean, or some other far-off spot, and instead chartering in Florida to save money. I thought: This is a great opportunity to turn Florida into a cruising dream destination. After all, it is the only subtropical area in the continental United States, and the state has some great cruising grounds.
Strike while the iron is hot, as they say. Florida also just passed a law which forbids local communities from restricting cruisers’ anchoring rights.
In these slow economic times, I have thought that charter companies would benefit. After all, there can be big savings in chartering over boat ownership—and today many cannot afford boat ownership. On top of that, many just go chartering annually. With fractional sailing and sailing clubs, there are even more opportunities today to save money and still go sailing. So why not target charterers from all over the country to come to Florida, cruise down the ICW and visit all the various chartering grounds in the state, including the tropical Florida Keys?
So, I thought: What would it take to make Florida a major cruising/charter dream destination?
First of all, it must be boater-friendly. Cruisers must find Florida at least as friendly as cruising in other popular places in the world. Yes—we do not have the tropical waters like the Caribbean, but if we can’t be at least as friendly as places like that, then why come to Florida? Are the savings in these slow times worth it for someone to come to a spot that isn’t as cruiser- friendly as some tropical island?
Where do we start? Here are some ideas to make it more friendly. Although not a complete list for sure, it could be a start.
Create a Boater-Friendly Atmosphere. No more police raids at night just to inspect people. Let’s face it: the Florida Keys, the most tropical destination in the state, is where the police have been known to come up to your boat late at night shining floodlights in your eyes, asking to inspect your boat. If we can’t end this practice, then give up on the whole idea of a dream cruising destination. This is a necessary, although not a sufficient, condition to create a cruiser-friendly atmosphere. Stop the practice of stopping boats without probable cause just to inspect them. Get the water police to hire some sailors and cruisers.
Let’s get the police to become friendly and helpful instead of inspecting everyone. If they see cruisers, how about if the police sometimes go up to them and ask if they have any questions, or can they help them—maybe even reminding them to put their anchor light on at night in all anchorages. But no asking for papers and an inspection unless they see a law being broken. (You know—the same laws police face when stopping automobiles.) How about making a real effort to help and welcome cruisers and not make the main effort inspection. Keep the policing function aimed at where the real problems are statistically—like drunken powerboaters speeding. While we’re at it, let’s eliminate victimless law enforcement. And let’s get the police to jump on those officers who get a little out of hand and give the rest of them a bad reputation. Don’t just work on the image, change the reality.
Make Pump-outs Commonplace. Although everyone in government likes to think that getting a pump-out is easy and convenient, cruisers know different. Although there are many exceptions, pump-outs are few and far between, and many of them don’t even work. This needs to be fixed. To ensure that boaters do dispose of their
waste properly, how about an alternative to waste inspections, like a law requiring an annual inspection to register the boat each year. Use the inspection to remind boaters of the law and proper waste disposal, maybe even hand out a list of local pump-outs. Be more lenient with alternatives like Wag Bags, perhaps suggesting that they be used when their tanks are full and they can’t get a pump-out. In other words, help the situation to improve. Educate boaters more on waste disposal and educate the landlubbers (and the water police) that they are the real source of pollution of our waters, not boaters. It will hopefully humble them a little.
Dinghy Access. Why do many boaters find no place to bring their dinghy ashore, never mind a convenient, friendly spot? Then they often get charged as much as $10/day, as though some huge concrete parking garage had to be built to park them for a few hours. For $10, you should get at least some assurance that it won’t get stolen. Make it as easy as it is for a car to come into town and park and shop, although the automobile’s strain on the environment and economy is about a thousand times greater. These people aren’t coming ashore to take money, but to give someone some. If they came to get a boat part, remember this: They’ll probably spend more money locally on one boat part than a meal in a fancy restaurant.
Create a Welcoming Atmosphere Around the State. Start a campaign on what cruisers bring to the state, with an emphasis on how charterers bring money into the economy, not just in paying for the boat charter (which is the biggest expense), but they drive or fly in, stay in hotels before and after the charter and then spend lots of money buying food and other services and items they need. Publicize how much money a couple or family would spend on a typical charter, showing the public how much money boaters really do bring in. This could be coupled with friendly mooring and anchorage services. Allow services at shoreside facilities for those anchoring, like bathrooms, water, pump-outs, supplies, etc. Don’t treat them like leeches who are trying to get something for nothing but as fellow citizens who are enjoying their lives and trying to be prudent and thrifty, just like those on shore. The more people get to know cruisers, the more they will realize how many are really good, honest, hard-working people who just want to spend their time dealing with the adventure, fun and challenge that comes with cruising around.
Just think of it—a cruiser-friendly Florida. It’s possible.
Anchoring Off a Lee Shore
Somebody recently recounted a story about friends who spent a worrisome and windy night anchored off a lee shore. This brought to mind one night I spent on a charter trip in the Sea of Cortez off La Paz, Mexico. It was in November 1996, and my wife and I and another couple had chartered a 43-foot sailboat for seven days from the Moorings in La Paz. I had already spent a bit of time around Baja California in all sorts of ways, but it was always on land. We chose November because it was borderline peak season, saving us some money, the water was still warm from the summer, and November was known to be a great month for cruising.
We set out fully stocked with food, beer and rum (or was it tequila?). Conditions for sailing and cruising north up into the Sea of Cortez could not have been more ideal. We never had any clouds overhead, and the wind was always real light to maybe up to 15 knots. Nights were calm and warm, but it never got too hot. After a week of these idyllic conditions, we headed back for our last night’s stay at an anchorage that the charter company recommended as a convenient last night stop only hours from their docks.
All of our anchorages up to this point were well protected from three sides in small bays, but this last one was off a long beach that was open to the north. But after five nights of calm, we didn’t bat an eye—just dropped an anchor and settled in for some rum drinks (or was it tequila?). As the evening wore on, the wind started to increase from the north, and by nine o’clock, it was in the 25-knot range. I—the captain—started to worry since we were anchored off a lee shore. I made the decision that we must put a second anchor out. I have many times put a second anchor out from the sailboat—and many times in a dinghy—but it was always in calm conditions, and in daylight—but never in a dinghy with this kind of wind.
We started up the dinghy and motor, and I and my friend John headed out into the wind with a second anchor—no easy task, mind you. You must point the dinghy into the wind, and since we decided we would pay out the anchor rode (I am not sure I would do that again), which was attached to the sailboat, as we worked our way into the wind and choppy seas, it became real tricky to make sure it did not get fouled in the prop. Our wives yelled at us over and over—from the moment we left the boat—to be careful—a thought that had crossed our minds, also. The motor seemed to barely push us out there in the winds and seas, but we made it without incident and returned safely to the boat. I couldn’t sleep all night, though. The boat was moving about like crazy in the wind and waves, as I was constantly getting up and checking to see if we had dragged anchor. Fortunately, we didn’t.
Ever since then, I have decided that I will always put out two anchors off a potential lee shore right from the beginning—no matter what the weather looks like.
Going cruising motorless. To many, this is inconceiveable.
A while back I read Cruising in Serrafyn, one of the many books by cruisers Lynn and Larry Pardey. I remember several things about the Pardeys: They built their own boat, a wooden 24-footer; they cruised around the world many times; and they sailed without an engine.
Before I read their book, I cruised the Bahamas in 1979 on my first liveaboard boat, a beautiful, seaworthy, wooden, 26-foot Folkboat, named Trifid. I sailed the waters of Lake Worth in Palm Beach County, FL, for about five months before I decided to take it offshore. My girlfriend was coming out from California in June, when we were planning to leave for the Bahamas for three months. But before we left, I wanted to make a two-week shakedown cruise to the Bahamas with a friend of mine who had been there before.
We made all the preparations and were pretty much ready to go, when, the day before our planned departure in early May, Trifid’s outboard motor’s driveshaft broke. There was no getting it repaired in time, but my friend and I decided to go anyway. I had sailed the boat all over Lake Worth and along the coast on day trips many times and felt I knew her quite well. So, one morning, we sailed out the slip, out Lake Worth Inlet and south on an overnight trip to Miami, where we anchored for a day before leaving from Fowey Rocks one evening, heading across the Gulf Stream for Gun Club Key, just south of Bimini in the Bahamas. All was going pretty well, although leaving the slip with almost no wind was slow going, but otherwise, we felt pretty confident in being able to maneuver the boat, as in an anchorage, without a motor.
We did have a bit of problem crossing the Stream. In the middle of the night, we lost all wind and started drifting north. After several hours, we decided to raft the dinghy with its 2-HP Seagull to the side of the boat and aim southeast—in hopes of escaping the Gulf Stream’s grip. We succeeded (read about it online in the January 2006 SOUTHWINDS), and eventually made landfall much farther north in the Bahamas. We spent a week cruising the Berry Islands—maneuvering everywhere without a motor. It was not only easy enough, but fun and challenging. When we finally made it back to Lake Worth, we sailed right into the slip like old salts.
In June, my girlfriend and I took the same route to the Bahamas—with the outboard—making landfall in Gun Club Cay, as originally planned, and spent three months cruising the islands, going as far south as Staniel Cay in the Exumas. With all that experience behind me, we never used the motor whenever we came into an anchorage or left, although we would sometimes have it running—out of gear—as a backup when currents were strong and threatened the safety of the boat in some tight passages through reefs. We became so good at going motorless, that we powered up the engine just to check it out more times than for any other reason.
I’ll have to admit—as this was the smallest boat I ever cruised on—that the bigger the boat, the more unlikely it is to me that going motorless is an option. And I wonder about all the explorers who went motorless for a few thousand years on boats a lot bigger than Trifid.
But even still, I loved it. So, here’s to going motorless—fun and challenging. Not only that, it’s quiet.
Which is it? The Intracoastal Waterway or the Intercoastal Waterway?
I once wrote about an experience I had on the Intracoastal Waterway. I had someone recently mention it in conversation, and they called this waterway, the “Intercoastal” Waterway. Which is it? Let’s settle this once and for all, and maybe we can increase sailors’ knowledge of our waters by a couple of notches.
In the last few years, I have had many people send me scores of articles mentioning the “ICW” (until this discussion is over, we will call it that) by its longer name. I would say about half call it the “Intercoastal,” and the other half label it the “Intracoastal.” Most people who send me articles and letters are pretty intelligent, but intelligence has nothing to do with whether they call it one or the other. Ignorance certainly does. I can tell you right now: The ICW as we know it, which runs down the East Coast of the United States, around Florida and along the Gulf Coast to Texas, is officially the Intracoastal Waterway (we can get more technical about the Gulf ICW and the Atlantic ICW, but another day). This is labeled as such whether it is misnamed and misspelled or not. Its official name includes the word “Intracoastal.” Period. End of Discussion.
Except—I did a Google search on it, as I wanted to know how it got named that way. This is all because, way back in my high school civics classes, I remember learning about the U.S. Constitution and that the federal government has power over interstate commerce, meaning commerce between the states, and the states had power over intrastate commerce, meaning commerce within a state (this is also consistent with interstate versus intrastate highways). In my Google search, I found some discussion out there about the two spellings and what they mean, but no one mentioned the Constitution/commerce situation or the highway situation. The search didn’t come up with much, and I believe I have the correct interpretation.
I have therefore come up with this theory and reasoning: The Intracoastal Waterway, by all rights and definitions, should technically—to be correct by the use of the prefixes inter and intra—should be named the “Intercoastal” Waterway, as it is just like an interstate highway, being used to travel between and among the states. It would be proper to call a waterway, like the Okeechobee Canal that crosses the state of Florida—and provides travel within the state—an intracoastal waterway.
But the name of the ICW is the Intracoastal Waterway for one simple reason: BECAUSE THAT IS ITS OFFICIAL NAME. Maybe in the beginning, someone labeled it the “Intracoastal” because it was providing travel within one state, and it just evolved to its present name, but it is today, officially named the Intracoastal Waterway.
So writers, sailors, boaters, philosophers and others who have been labeling it wrong over the years: You learn something new every day.
Our “Clean” Waters?
By Steve Morrell
Over the years, I have become more interested in boat waste and how it affects the waters we sail and swim in, although for years, I have known how non-point source pollution (pollution that you cannot pinpoint its exact origin) and sewage overflows have been spoiling ocean waters and causing beach closings for decades. In the ’90s, I had a boat in San Diego, CA, and was aware of frequent sewage overflows by the county into the ocean. On top of this was the enormous impact that water runoff had on ocean water quality after a rain. The county of San Diego has a standing advisory to “avoid contact with ocean and bay waters for a period of 3 days…” after more than 0.2 inches of rain falls.
With all the claims by waterfront landowners that anchored boats are polluting their waters by dumping human waste, I became interested in what causes beach closings in Florida—besides the red tide. After very little investigation, it appears that many beach closings are caused by legal public sewage overflows. With all the controversy about liveaboards in upper Tampa Bay, it turns out that no beach closings have ever been attributed to boaters’ waste there. They have been the fault of sewage overflows in Hillsborough County and water runoff after heavy rains. In August 2003, a main broke on Davis Islands and dumped two-million gallons of raw sewage into Hillsborough Bay. That’s a lot of holding tanks.
I began to look into the reporting of sewage overflows by public utilities—and found they don’t make this information easily accessible. I read a recent report by the Clean Water Fund, which was an update of a 2005 report the Fund did on sewage overflow and its reporting in Florida. They found the reporting was pretty much non-existent and difficult to access by the public. They made recommendations. The 2006 update found nothing had changed much.
How much raw sewage is Florida dumping into our waters? The original report focused on all Florida counties in 2004 and found that over 55.8-million gallons of sewage were dumped. The 2006 report did not examine all the counties, but did a sampling and estimated between 44.6 and 50.3 million gallons of sewage were dumped in 2005. But these figures were very difficult to obtain. This is partly because approximately 2000 of the 2700-plus treatment plants are privately run and the sampling was only taken from the public facilities, as obtaining overflow data from private companies is difficult. Although the law states that all overflows must be reported by phone (you read it right), there is no enforcement of this requirement. Therefore, data is very limited.
One thing is for sure: Fifty-million gallons of raw sewage dumped into our waters is too much. This along with polluted nutrient runoff from rains is destroying our waters. Beach closings have increased in Florida in the last year, not decreased. And this is not just from red tide. Most beach closings are from these sewage overflows (which are legal), nutrient runoff, and—particularly in the Florida Keys—leaking septic tanks and old cesspools. Although waterfront landowners constantly claim cruisers anchored off their properties are dumping sewage in their waters, it is the landowners—along with all the rest of us who live on land and on the water—who are allowing millions of gallons of sewage to be dumped into our waters—and legally. We need to put a stop to it. With all the current growth and lack of funding for improved treatment facilities, the problem will only get worse before it gets better.
Let’s not get to the point where we have standing advisories against swimming after every rain. I’d hate to see the day when a crew overboard wants to get back on board quickly because the water was unsafe.
We have over a 100 boatowner’s boat reviews on our website that are compilation of reviews printed in SOUTHWINDS over the years. One is on a Westerly Centaur 26—and I have to admit, I am impressed with this couple and their boat. Here is how boatowner Jack Mooney begins his boat review:
“Many readers of SOUTHWINDS are cruising wanna-bees, who can’t see their way clear to spend tons of money for a “cruisable” boat. Then, there are others, like Sandy and I, who are willing to make compromises that allow us to enjoy the cruising life on a limited budget.”
This boat review brought me back to the late ’60s and early ’70s, when I first started reading about cruisers, I remember the average boat length chosen for long-distance cruising was in the low 30s—meaning 30- to 35-feet long. World-famous cruisers and authors Eric and Susan Hiscock sailed their 30-footer, Wanderer III, around the world in 1952. They eventually moved up to a 47-footer when they could afford it, but they thought the boat too big.
I also remember that Lyn and Larry Pardey cruised extensively on their 24-footer for many years, eventually moving up nine years later to a boat barely under 30 feet.
This is to name only two of the many early cruisers in those days who sailed small boats, and most chose that length so they could get out on the water sooner rather than later. Later meaning when they had a lot more money and could afford a bigger boat. But small boats also have lots of other advantages. Compare cleaning a 30-foot sailboat compared to a 40-footer. It’s two to three times the work—a geometric increase in time for just 10 more feet. The cost of maintenance makes a similar jump. There’s also sailing and motoring advantages. Sail or motor a 30-footer into a dock and then try it with a 40-footer. Big difference. But the one that bugs me the most is the idea of scrubbing the decks on your hands and knees on a 40-foot boat—unless you are wealthy and can hire someone else to do it.
This holds true for day sailing or cruising. How do you want to spend your spare time while anchored in the Bahamas, diving for lobster or maintenance?
In today’s economy—and in recent years—we see middle-class Americans getting squeezed out of the cruising market, with everyone always thinking of larger boats. Maybe it’s time to rethink this bigger boat issue and get out on the water. The biggest boat I ever owned was a 38-footer, although I have chartered boats up to 44 feet (which was fun with all that room for two couples), but the most fun boat I ever owned was the good ’ol Catalina 30—small, manageable and roomy. Not an ocean cruiser, but a great fun boat for short trips, day sailing, etc. Quick to clean, too.
Many will say, as they get older, that they like that extra size and comfort. You’ll have to read Jack’s boat review to see how he looks at the age issue. Go to the “Sailboat Reviews” page on our website to read Jack’s review, or go to the article in the issue online.
Wear Your PFD Full Time on the Water?
I received two FWC e-mail press releases recently that made me think about PFDs. The first e-mail was about Florida’s boating fatalities, which have declined. In the press release were several suggestions to prevent accidents. One was that most boating fatalities are caused by inattention and going too fast, so the suggestion was to stay alert and slow down. Another comment was to be especially careful when consuming alcoholic beverages. Sounds smart to me.
Then there was a comment that most boating fatalities are from drowning, and most of those victims knew how to swim. This was followed by the following comment: “The greatest way to ensure that you and your passengers make it home at the end of the day is to get into the habit of wearing a life jacket.”
I then received another press release on Mother’s Day. The e-mail suggested that one of the new styles of comfortable life jackets is the “perfect” Mother’s Day gift. I wasn’t too sure about that. Flowers might beat a PFD for the perfect gift. But these e-mails sparked an old thought in my head about wearing life jackets, also bringing to mind the periodic push by police and the Coast Guard to make PFD-wearing mandatory: Why do people promote something that will never happen voluntarily as the cure-all answer for boating safety? Plus—if the mandatory wearing of PFDs ever does happen, it will be about as popular as prohibition.
Personally, I have no intention of ever getting into the habit of wearing a PFD full time, and I would guess that about 99 percent of the people I know who have spent time on boats would agree with me (taking children out of this discussion)—although there are situations that I could be in that I would wear them 100 percent of the time. I can think of several right offhand: alone in high winds and rough seas; sailing with others at night in rough seas; leaving the cockpit on a boat deck at night in any conditions. I could go on, but the point is clear: I would advise people that the first thing for getting back to a dock alive and safely is good judgment gained from experience and boating knowledge. Good judgment tells me when to wear a PFD. Are there risks in not wearing one? Of course. So what?
I have a 17-foot center console powerboat that I will often take out alone. On a beautiful day in calm seas, I won’t even consider wearing a PFD. When I go faster than idle, whether it is calm or not, I will automatically put the strap around my wrist that kills the engine if I leave the helm. If it is rough, I will put on a PFD. But there is not a chance in hell that I will wear one in calm, beautiful conditions. Anyone who thinks that, I will unequivocally and unapologetically declare that they are out of their minds or from another planet. So why promote it?
Good judgment also tells me when someone on my boat must wear a PFD. When I get passengers on board who are strangers, I will first ask them if they are comfortable being on a boat and around the water and if they can swim. If they are not afraid of the water, then half the battle is won. If they are afraid, then I talk to them about being on the boat and PFDs. Everyone gets instruction on where the PFDs are. Of course, there are people who should wear a PFD all the time. Good judgment will find those.
So why promote the use of PFDs full time as the answer for all boating safety? It doesn’t exactly make one look reasonable. Yes—Coast Guard personnel wear PFDs full time on the water, but they are in the military and working. We are out there recreating. Do Coast Guard personnel wear PFDs when they are on the water with their friends and family while off-duty or after they are out of the service? How about the FWC police and other water police?
Do we want to promote good judgment or do we want to promote: “Wear your PFD all the time”? Will the latter create a mentality where everything will be okay if you have a PFD on?
When we promote good judgment, then we promote the belief that people can learn to make good judgments; when we promote blanket actions, then we promote the belief that people can’t learn to make good judgments. (Yes, I know. Some can’t. Those people should wear PFDs.)
How’s that saying go?
Success comes from good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.
Hopefully, good judgment will be gained before a bad accident.