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  1. #1
    My Boats:
    1999 36' cutdown Skater
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Glens Falls, NY

    Post Safety again...long but important.

    A recurring thought is emerging as a “let’s discuss this” topic. I’m not on solid ground with any of this but I would love some thoughts.

    From time to time we get reminded of safety issues. There is a safety thread after every disaster, the latest being after the tragic HTM crash.

    Tell me what this all means:

    1) There is no question you can buy a car that will go say 160 mph on the highways. Some faster.
    2) How much engineering has gone into that 160 mph car to protect the occupants?
    3) How often can you use that car to its capability?
    4) How much engineering has gone into the highways that that car travels on?

    I think the answers to those questions are 1) Sure, 2) A lot, 3) Seldom, 4) A lot.

    Now let’s assume that a 160 mph car is roughly the equivalent of a 100 mph boat and ask the same questions.

    I think the answers are 1) Sure, 2) Very little, 3) Every run, 4) None. In fact, less than none as we don’t have a clue what the minute-to-minute conditions will be.

    I am not criticizing boat manufacturers. What you can afford when you produce millions and what you can when you produce 50 is entirely different. Your R & D is different and your experience is different.

    Racers have an assumed risk; passengers in a 100 mph pleasure boat do not. They expect to “come back” 100% of the time.

    Boats are getting faster, better too but accidents happen. Doesn’t “safety” really mean that we, as the pilot in command” (aircraft term) have to be aware of the potential that a part of the “system”, us, the boat, the equipment can fail. And don’t we need to protect ourselves, our passengers, and our equipment in the best way we know?

    Is it out of the question to run a 100 mph boat at 50 if everyone doesn’t have a lifejacket on? Give me a break…we can’t even swim to help our friends if we have to dive for them! Isn’t putting a lifejacket and a helmet on part of the “fun” of performance boating that sets us apart from the crowd? Can’t we reserve 100 or 140 for our properly attired and instructed passengers?

    Sorry this is long. I’m hoping that thinking about the above, criticizing it, getting your thoughts etc. will give us an insight on why safety is special to us and how best to handle in real situations.


  2. #2
    Were doomed! Charter Member Wally's Avatar
    My Boats:
    Chris Craft Stinger 222
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Chicago, IL


    all good points Ted but, you have to realise that most people when boating are there to enjoy them selfs. To escape from the everyday word to something they enjoy. Not everyone wants or is willing to put that cumbersom lifejacket on. Most if not all boaters are out there to enjoy the weather and get some sun....who wants that farmer tan going from a life jacket!
    Dont get me wrong here cause i do agree with everything you mentiond. But how do you enforce it?
    What it all comes down to is common sense. Alot of people have it when it comes to boating (most of the time) and probably just as many dont have it! Baisicly it will take education for people to learn properly.
    It amazes me that we can buy a $30k car that will do 150+mph but we need a license to drive it. But go and drop $250K+ on a water missle that will hit 100mph and its anyones game that can fork over the green. Most times its the idiots who have the money you read about inthe papers cause they were partying with all their friends doing stupid things. I personaly think they should not issuse any registration for water vessels untill the person passes atleast the coast guard aux baisic class. my .02

    Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy horsepower. And I've never seen a sad person hauling a$$!

  3. #3
    Registered seanclong's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Chesapeake Bay


    What about training for hi-performance boaters? I know Wellcraft offers it with a Scarab purchase. My feeling is that if it were available to everybody, the vast majority of new performance boaters (and others) would take advantage of it. No one wants to look like an idiot with their brand new, shiny go-fast let alone kill themselves and their buddies.


    [ 01-25-2002: Message edited by: seanclong ]

  4. #4
    Registered 26scarab's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    st. clair shores mi ,us


    Good points. You can see the same thing happening in the snowmobile industry.
    Right now anyone with the money can by a 170hp snowmobile, no questions asked. People are dying, sure a high percentage of the accidents are caused by alcohol. But some are
    legitimate accidents caused by lack of experience.
    But what can you do to stop it ? Not much. horsepower sells and as long as it does all things are going to get faster and faster. It relies on the end user to have the smarts not to kill himself or others. That's the way it is.
    I've been guilty of running my boat WFO (80) in conditions that I shouldn't have with passengers and no lifejackets. Stupid yes. I really don't have an answer to why I did that other than it was fun. But sitting here looking back I can say i risked the lives of my passengers , how stupid can I be.
    It all falls back on the person with the throttles.

  5. #5
    Registered Advantage_Rob's Avatar
    My Boats:
    1999 32' Advantage Victory
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Lake St Clair, Michigan


    I dont know about this comparison from a saftey standpoint, cars arent engineered to be safe in a crash at those speeds either, they are designed to pass tests conducted at 40mph, they are engineered to be able to achieve speeds in excess of 100mph, but not engineered to pass any saftey measures at those speeds, high speeds in a car are an assumed risk that the driver accepts, and the passenger has to deal with. it all comes down to the driver. On my cat,(100+) I dont let anyone go for a ride without a jacket on, on my 32 advantage (80+) nobody wears them cuz it's a completely different animal and safe at 80, should they wear them, I dont think its necessary, but when the gov tells me they must or I'm in trouble that'll piss me off.

    [ 01-25-2002: Message edited by: advantage_ROB ]

  6. #6
    Member #2 ....Jeeezz Charter Member cigarette1's Avatar
    My Boats:
    Toy Boat - Toy Boat - Toy Boat
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Kicked to the curb


    Question: If the Gov't said you didn't have to wear seatbelts any more, would you stop wearing them? and why?


  7. #7
    Registered seanclong's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Chesapeake Bay


    No. I wouldn't stop wearing my seatbelt. I like my teeth too much. Seriously, it's now a habit. I just feel more secure buckled in. Recently, I rode in a friend's classic vehicle (no seatbelts) and I felt naked.


  8. #8
    Registered Shane's Avatar
    My Boats:
    2009 FORMULA 292
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Lake George, NY it's not called "Queen of American Lakes" for nothin'!


    Excellent topic. I do not think that safety equipment should be mandated interms of what is required to be worn. I CHOOSE to wear my helmet and life jackets and require all those running at high speeds with me to do the same. I also wear my seat belt all the time. However, it is not anyone elses responsibility to MAKE me wear any of these devices. Why? Because I am not endangering anyone else by not wearing them. Just like wearing a helmet on a motorcycle should not be a law. It is your right to choose because you are not endangering nayone else by not wearing a helmet. Me, I would not ride without one. MY CHOICE!

    I take all the safety precautions I can in my boat and go over where all the safety equipment is with eveyone when we go for a rip.

    I do think that MORE ENFORCEMENT of the laws relating to alcohol and boating need to be enforced! I have ZERO TOLERANCE for someone who thinks they can drink and then go operate a highperformance boat at high speed. I don't care if it is one beer. If you cannot wait till after you are done running to have a drink then you are in serious need of help. I have lost several members of my family due to alcohol and being a firefighter have seen the horrors of what these accidents are like first hand. I know this may piss some off but oh well.


  9. #9
    Registered Tantrum's Avatar
    My Boats:
    Stray Cat Statement Marine
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    USR, NJ


    Ok I agree with the direction you are going in "safty is key". I completely agree that it is the responsibility of the driver to look after his crew and even think for them if they are unfamilar with the sport.
    Now think about this;
    CBR900RR; I bought it because it was the best balance of handling, performance (IMHO)and is capable of 169.8mph (on GPS). NEVER rode without a helmut, doesnt have a seat belt and Im the crumple zone!
    930 RUF Turbo; (450+hp), I think its the best looking car out there and it is FAST. 145+mph (wants to keep going) and wear my seat belt moving it outta the garage to wash.
    MXZ670; I bought it because its fast and its yellow. Minor motor and clutch mods to make it faster than it already is. 100+ in the trees always wear a helmut has no seatbelt.
    Husqavarna WXE250; Bought it for its handling and wide power range. 50+mph in woods and rocks with helmut and full gear no seatbelt.
    25 Active Thunder; bought for its biuld quality, high freeboard (sense of security?),
    and look. Modified the 502MAG to go FASTER, 75+mph. I did add hydrolic steering for SAFETY.
    Tahoe Z71; because it looks good and tows all my really dangerous toys SAFELY! Oh yeah, its governed at 98mph and it pisses me off, rarely wear my seatbelt and even enjoy a nice massage from the GF from time to time.
    Now I would think my chioce in toys is not unlike many other OSO members. Safty was not the priority when purchasing any of these vehicals, if it were Im sure of would have choosen differently. Its not that I have disregarded safty, Ive choosen to trade off some safty for performance.
    The "disaster" in CA with the HTM is very saddening. My thoughts are with the friends and famillies left behind and it surely makes me think about the risks I take. Unfortunatly the calculation of risk was not in their favor. Dale Earnhart pushed one two many times and he will be missed as well. High Performance Boating is dangerous and there will be accidents.
    What does all this mean? I dont know.
    Wearing a life jacket will increase the odds in your favor, so would going 30mph.
    Wearing a helmet will increase the odds in your favor, so would not riding a motorcycle.
    Wearing a seatbelt in a car will increase your odds and never exceeding the speed limit.
    Im not trying to be sarcastic but everyday we make decissions, I would like to live life while Im here. Some could argue they where here longer, Ill argue I was here faster. Ill also try to live as smart as my dumb ass will let me.

  10. #10


    From the limited amount of reading I have done regarding the HTM tradegy, I have noticed that the press has eluded to the fact that they were exceeding the speed limit. Without debating that issue, I will say that the press coverage of events like this serve to fuel the average "non-boating" citizens belief that laws to restrict our activity should be in place. The results, higher insurance rates, more speed limits, etc. Its an unfortunate situation and I'm not sure what or if an answer exists.

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