Too Fast ?????

Old 05-30-2002, 10:56 AM
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Too Old (and others), I am in firm agreement with your arguments. I am absolutely the last person that would call for more government regulation (the federal govt could be cut in half, but I digress).

But I think that this discussion is missing the point. Yes, fishing boats may cause more accidents. Yes, alcohol is the single biggest factor in accidents. Yes, the most bang for the enforcement/safety buck could be gotten here. However, that ain't the way it works...

Here's a prediction - some day, a guy in a "racing" boat is going to cream a dock or run over a family out in their bowrider. Some Senator or Representative up for re-election is going to catch wind of it and decide to "do something!" about the "racing boat" problem. It's much easier for the govt types to target a small population of "rich guys" that run those "racing" boats with their loud exhaust than it is go after the thousands of middle class guys out fishing and drinking beer.

Altenate scenario - same situation, but now we get the trial lawyers involved, and they decide to go after not just one builder (negligence in producing a boat that will run X miles per hour, yadda yadda yadda - use your imagination, I'm sure the parasites will), but the whole industry. Cost of doing business skyrockets, some of the smaller companies go under, insurance costs soar and/or insurance becomes unavailable at all.

The question is, what can we as a community do to prevent this action and to mitigate it when it happens? There are dozens of companies that build and sell performance boats, and Wellcraft is the only one I know of that offered any type of training. Maybe the industry needs to hold 1 or 2 day seminars (in conjunction with the big boat shows, perhaps?) that could give some guidance and seat time to prospective buyers and/or new owners - charge a $100.00 a seat, maybe.

The way I see it, you've got 4 basic types of operators:
  • Experienced folks that know what they are doing and drive appropriately.
  • Folks moving up to a performance boat from some other type of boat.
  • First time buyers
  • The idiots

If we look at it this way, the first group needs little or no attention - they are the ones going to Skaterfest, surfing OSO, etc.

Likewise, the bottom group is a write-off - some people are beyond helping. 40 year old adolescents and the like - all we can do is damage control.

The key, as I see it, is to move the people in groups 2 and 3 into group 1, rather than group 4. A good dealer will help, but we all know how many of those there are in this industry. When we bought our first performance boat, I was handed the keys to a boat that would hit almost 70 mph with almost no orientation or training; I guess I was lucky, the salesman rode from the ramp to the marina with me.

Most people are not even that fortunate. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I fear that unless "we" come up with a solution (makers, dealers, experienced boaters), we will have one imposed on us from the outside. Remember the most frightening words in the English language: "I'm from the government, I'm here to help."

As always, your mileage may vary....
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Old 05-30-2002, 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by vtec
More people get hurt in "jon" boats because there are many more "jon" boats than Skaters.

If these people with Skaters are so intelligent why are they not wearing seat belts? It seems foolish to drive 100+ and not be belted in.

Your first statement is true as far as it goes. It is also true that MOST fatalities on the water involve drowning after falling out of a boat (usually alchol is involved). The point here is that legislation is likely to be aimed at the low incidence high visibility (100+ MPH Skater) boat than at the beer drinking fisherman's boat. We are merely bemoaning that fact.

On your second statement - do YOU have any statistics that would indicate they would be any safer with seat belts? Getting knocked unconcious and dragged to the bottom doesn't seem too conducive to survival. Wearing a PFD will at least allow you to come to the surface, improving dramatically your chances to be rescued. Much as I personally dislike them I am beginning to see the value WEARING a life vest.

Just throwing a little gasoline on the fire . . .
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Old 05-30-2002, 11:23 AM
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I have read this thread and have thought about this myself. I, for one, do not have a "fast" boat. I have a sport boat that runs in the upper 50s. When I go to the lake, I see alot of boats zipping around the lake, everything from tunnels, big Vees, and please don't forget fishing boats that really can fly. In addition, jet skiis are also achieving very fast speeds of 60 and 70 mph plus.

There are many factors that come into play when trying to answer this question. Some problems that I see are that the following:

1. More boats on the lakes and oceans. Boating is becoming more and more popular. In general, the economy over the last 20 years has done very well. This means more $$$ for toys. In addition, the population of the USA is increasing tremendously. Look at Atlanta, the population of my county, Gwinnett, is one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S.A. This means more people with more money means more boats on the lakes and oceans. Lakes and such are almost becoming over crowded. Anyone who was on Lake Lanier this past Memorial Day weekend can verify this statement.

2. More boats that go fast. Sport boats, deep Vees, tunnel, fishing boats, and jet skis all have vehicles that go over 60+ mph. Was this the scenario 20 years ago? Others can verify this.

3. Younger drivers. More Yuppies going fast. In addition, younger drivers on jet skiis. Economy doing well, more money, more toys, more boats, more speed, younger drivers = bad results. I should change this to inexperienced drivers.

4. Alcohol. Number one reason for vehicle and boat accidents. This is not a disputable fact. I can't tell you how many post and threads that had the statements, "we were so wasted", " we were throwing back a few cocktails". Personally, I do not drink when I boat or anytime on the water. Get a DWI and you will see why. I only drink responsibliy.

If you combine the above factors you get a very dangerous situation on the water. Especially, with closed lakes. I believe this will get worse. As more accidents happen, guess who will step in to "save us from ourselves". UNCLE SAM. Wearing a life jacket will not stop an accident from happening but it will save a life. Wearing a helmet will not stop an accident but it will save a life.

How do we stop these accidents from happening? You don't and you can't. They will happen for various reasons. All we can do is try to minimize them and their effects.

I believe the voluntary safety course is a great idea, especially if I can get a discount on insurance.

Drive responsible. Do you really need to go WOT when the lake or area that you boat is crowded? Be smart about how fast you go and where you do your runs.

Stop frickin' drinking and driving on a boat. Almost everyone on this forum is guilty of this. Look at Lutz and Ms. Amy's pictures from LOTO. Did every boat have a designator driver? If you drink and drive a boat/car, stay the F&%$ away from my self and my family. I learned the hard way 11 years ago when I was 21. NOT A GOOD EXPERIENCE. It can change peoples lives FOREVER. I see so many threads about people drinkin and then driving.

I am not preaching to anyone, just giving my thoughts. I have 2 small boys and a wife that I love and who need me. Do not come closer than 100 feet of my family when we are sitting on the boat having a picnic at 60-70 mphs. (Happened Friday. Jet boat spraying 100 foot long rooster go so close that we felt the spray from his rooster.)

Just my thoughts. We need to "police" ourselves. Be responsible, don't drink and drive and be careful where you run fast.

Sorry for the long post.

Eric Tupper
Old 05-30-2002, 11:36 AM
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Eric, you make some very valid points. You should be encouraged to know that fatalities are decreasing in spite of all the factors you cited. Look HERE for more detail.
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Old 05-30-2002, 12:01 PM
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Please dont fry me for this
I agree with alot that is posted up here and all good arguments with good solutions to them.
BUT I believe this

For say a wave runner, there should be a course and a class of license,
then for fishing boats with up to ??? Hp there should be a license
Then in the perf world, you want a boat with say up to HP 300, a certain class license, then to go higher say to HP 500+ another license, then if you want twins over 500HP then another license
and so on and so on

Problem with the whole skater thing (dont get nasty) is that they are really reserved either for the flat out racing outfits (not pleasure skaters) which is fine and they too have accidents and deaths ect
But the flip side is basically for the very well off individuals
Not many of us can just go to a dealer and say Yeah I want THAT one, 36 with twin 1200's for 570 thou
Come on, most of us are lucky to even see 2-3 skaters per year up close and personal let alone buy one.

I have seen people possessed by an idea with no real information at all and just jump into something without having seat time, experience or anything else.

Hell Ill admit it, I had a 85 bayliner 20 ft with a 125 outboard, I ran that thing aground, bashed up about 5 props, trimmed iit out too much and basically beat the snot out of it, Once I took a course (which was not THAT worthwhile but okay on the basics of seamanship ect) I all the sudden did not ding props, knew how to go through channels and avoid any low spots ect.

What we have here (and this is not pointing to the accident in NJ on Monday) is people that have no concept of physics, boats in general or anything else they just think it is cool to have a "cigarette boat" (i hate that term) and dump 300-400 g's on something and just go go go

I DO think it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to at least PROVIDE a course (not mandatory for smaller run abouts) that is mandatory for the big guns if you have little or no experience.
If the purchaser refuses to take the course, the manufacturer could never be liable in the event of a fatality or issue or what not.

Personally to me 100+ mph in a boat is nuts, How fast is fast enough? Where the HELL do you need to go that fast?
Hell Mine runs 70 with 40 gallons of fuel, no back seat, no engine hatch down wind down stream on its best day and I was in smooth water and I was freaked scared to be going that fast.

I had an experience first time out on mine where engine started to sieze the crank bearings and took a wicked turn to the right on me and almost ejected my wife
No warning, no nothing. I have been boating for 17 years and let me tell you twin bravo';s and one cuts out on you at 3/4 throttle with no hydraulic steering your ****ED!!!!!
You cant hold on tight enough
I was suprised my boat did not roll
and that my wife was still in the seat next to me (oh man did I get an ear full for that)

Control is an illusion, you think you can control something as wild as a skater at 150+mph your freakin drunk.
You go that fast, it is only a matter of when.
It does NOT have to be driver error, what if your prop shaft snaps, or your input shaft to your XR drive breaks at that speed

It is plain and simple YOUR DEAD

If you want to , yes you can be in that position if you have something that is that wildly fast and yes you can take out other people in their bowrider if too close

Personally boats that are that fast
Classess and what not SHOULD be mandatory
Honestly, NO offence to anyone with a skater, Stay the HELL away from me
I dont want to be anywhere near you guys out on the water
Love your boats, love to see them run but dont want to be anywhere near them when they are really moving

Ill keep my 60-70 mph boat that cruises around 45 -50 and Im nice and happy
I personally have NO NEED to go 100+ mph and dont want to
My opinion, take it for what it is worth
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Old 05-30-2002, 12:38 PM
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Originally posted by Too Old
Rarely does someone buy a Cigarette, Apache Skater, Motion etc as an introduction to performance boating............But the truth is that guys new to performance boating will by and large be in an entry level performance boat.
Watch out! Those are the guys to steer clear of.
Very good point.....that is indeed the case.
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Old 05-30-2002, 01:36 PM
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Originally posted by Too Old
Just some thought's on your comments Jay.

1. 60 to 70mph may be plenty fast for you. But it's not for me and many others. Frankly I find those speeds boring. Does that make me a dager to you and your family. No. I'm going to go fast only when conditions permit. I'm certainly not going to endanger you, your family, myself or my passangers. I have never had a boating incident that required an insurance clain in 35+ years of boating. I don't think there is a correlation between speed and reckless driving. It's not the boat, it's the driver.

2. I'm never particularly concerned boating around fast boats such as a Skater. What scares the hell out of me is new boaters in entry level performance boats and little experience. Rarely does someone buy a Cigarette, Apache Skater, Motion etc as an introduction to performance boating. I could list the boats I'm talking about but there's no need. Again, it's not the boat it's the operator. But the truth is that guys new to performance boating will by and large be in an entry level performance boat.
Watch out! Those are the guys to steer clear of.

You are aware that you don't need $300,000 to go fast. You can buy a used STV, Allison, Talon etc for under 25k.
I find your opinions and thoughts always wise. However, I take exception to a couple of points you are making.

Having someone go 60-70 mph does scare me when they drive within 100 feet of my floating boat. I was not in a channel, I was in the middle of the lake. I definetely agree, this is driver error or driver being stupid.

Boaters new to performance boating may or may not be in "entry" level performance boats. You say to "Watch Out!" for these guys. Why? Because they have a smaller performance boat? I believe I know what you are trying to say, I disagree. The person who we need to watch out for is the EXPERIENCED driver who has been boating for years and years and gets CARELESS. Boaters new to performance boats may tend to be cautious and probably a little nervous going fast and especially going fast around others. Its the guy who has been going for fast for years who may tend to get careless.

I can name a few people personally who went from sport boats to 30 foot boats. The size of the boat a person buys has more to do with $$$ and lifestyle than experience.

Just my thoughts,

Old 05-30-2002, 01:36 PM
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I freely admit to "gawking" at a few of the lovely women in attenance though.

too old:

Can we get photos of that on darren's page?
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Old 05-30-2002, 02:03 PM
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Hey Risk Taker. You are absolutly right. What I meant was I cannot afford to put my Life at risk. I too know that for every accident by someone else the Insurance company will "spread" the loss over all policy holders. I just cannot afford to injure myself of worse.
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Old 05-30-2002, 02:16 PM
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Originally posted by laster

On your second statement - do YOU have any statistics that would indicate they would be any safer with seat belts? Getting knocked unconcious and dragged to the bottom doesn't seem too conducive to survival. .

I agree.

The only time seat belts make sense is if you are in a boat that WILL NOT capsize, roll or flip.

If you have ever been ejected from a boat at 80 or 90mph, you'll know that the water feels just like concrete -- and you'll likely bounce off the surface three or four times before, releasing the energy of the impact each time, before you finally stop.

Now if you are seat belted-in, and your 90mph 26 footer decides to do a barrel roll...imagine how much force your belted-in body will have to endure. Your neck will probably snap first. You'll not only be rammed face first into the 80 mph water, but that boat is going to come down on top of you too, ramming even more force against your body. Being belted in -- you won't get a chance to 'bounce' around - the forces will hit you all at once. If you do survive this crush, you will most likely be knocked out at the first blow -- now your are strapped into an upsidedown sinking boat -- who is close by to rescue you?

It would be rare for anyone to survive something like that. If you are belted in, you ought to have a canopy that will eliminate the extreme forces of the 80-90mph water pressure you'll encounter --- AND a rescue crew too!
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