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Captain's Corner

Responsibility Is Your Responsibility

The biggest concern that I have with the boating public is the lack of responsibility. What does that mean? When you sit behind the wheel of a boat, or on a personal watercraft or in front of the tiller of a sailboat, or in other words, at the helm, you are the skipper or the captain of that vessel no matter what size, shape or configuration that it is.

That means that you have taken a position of responsibility. Just because you cannot see a traffic pattern, a white line, a yellow line or a stop-and-go signal, it does not give you the right to zigzag all over the waterway, go in circles, go the wrong direction, or go as fast as you want.

Rules Need To Be Understood

There are rules and regulations that need to be understood.

RULE 2 – RESPONSIBILITY: Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seaman, or the special circumstances of the case. NAVIGATION RULES COMDTINST M16672.2D

What the heck is that? This is the book that tells you what is right and what is wrong. The average boater, I am sure, doesn’t even understand that there is such a document. It is available anywhere books are sold and online.

Arizona Has Its Own Set

And, by the way, Arizona has its own set of laws. Now boating is not just the wild frontier that you can do whatever comes to mind because there are laws that must be obeyed; this is taking responsibility for your actions.

Under Age On 200+hp

A couple of weeks ago while patrolling Saguaro Lake with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, I had a chance to talk to a very nice, competent young man who was nine years old. What was he doing? He was riding a personal watercraft alone.

This watercraft was a 200+ horse power machine capable of doing 60-70 mph. Do you think that the average nine-year-old has the knowledge to understand all of the rules and regulations of maritime law or have the capabilities of handling such a high horse-power machine? Even most adult boaters don’t understand maritime rules and regulations.

When I confronted the young man’s parents, they had no idea they were doing anything wrong; they stated they do it all the time.

Learn And Live

It’s a shame more people don’t get a proper or even basic boating education to understand the rules of boating. There is so much enjoyment, such relaxation, and fun with the family to be had on the water, but each and every one of us has to be responsible.

Does anyone know the age limit for riding a personal watercraft in Arizona? If you would like to know the answer to this question, look it up, be responsible, don’t put your child or someone else’s child or family in danger because you didn’t know.

So, let’s hear it for responsibility, seek out and take a boating class, be a responsible skipper, understand and learn the maritime laws of our state. If you do this, it will make your boating safer and much more enjoyable; make it a family event of learning and having fun together.

See you on the water.

Captain Dave


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