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    Re: Interaction with big vessels.
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2005 Jun 18, 00:30 +0100

    This is a response to messages from Carl Herzog and Lu Abel.
    They both seem to think that in Britain, boaters are more closely
    regulated, but that is not the case at all.
    For example, I have never ever passed any sort of test or exam about my own
    marine proficiency. Completely unqualified, am I competent? Who can say?
    In Britain, anyone with enough money and arrogance can buy a power cruiser
    and take it to sea without having learned anything at all about it. He can
    even allow his teenage son to take it to sea. I don't think there's any age
    limit at all.
    Some of them do just that, and it shows. The rest of us suffer the
    We have our share of idiots, who mostly cavort around inshore harbours and
    approaches. Those making crossings of the Channel, and mixing it with the
    big vessels in the busiest shipping-lane in the world, tend to know what
    they're doing. With exceptions, I should add. Out in mid-Channel, they have
    left most of the idiots behind.
    In general, most of the small-craft community take a responsible attitude.
    The majority work their way through a series of qualifications with the
    RYA, mostly by way of winter evening classes and then on-the-water
    practical exams. Even though there's no compulsion to do so, it would be
    difficult to charter a craft without some such evidence.
     From what I hear about the problems with recreational boaters in the US,
    it appears that the British boatowning community, in general, takes
    seagoing more seriously. One possible difference, it seems to me, is the
    extensive American system of sheltered inland waterways. Here, you can't
    travel far without getting into a tideway and into some potentially rough
    I should add that there's no system of inspection or regulation of the
    boats, either, and no registration is required unless a vessel is to visit
    foreign parts..  In spite of the obvious drawbacks, I hope our freedoms
    continue. In France, and many other European countries, matters are very
    Contact George at george@huxtable.u-net.com ,or by phone +44 1865 820222,
    or from within UK 01865 820222.
    Or by post- George Huxtable, 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13
    5HX, UK.

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