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are pleasure boats running too fast?

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Old 03-02-2004, 03:18 PM
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good point, mr. velocity. i had NYC poker run in mind when I made my comments. Some stuff i've seen there made me really think about these issues. And I am not saying government should regulate our lives and I sure am not going to tell Too Old what to do with his life. And I would also like to preserve water as the only place of absolute freedom that we have left, where we can decide on our direction and on our speed. But the best way to preserve this freedom is to behave responsibly because at some point, when someone gets in trouble at 140 with his family as mr. velocity put it, it's going to be one too many and that freedom will be taken away from us.

So we need to do something pro-active about it. Is common sense enough? Can peer pressure do it, if you tell someone "that's not cool dude" when you see him taking too many chances? Or maybe it would be a good idea for the industry to get together and start providing training courses, included in the boat price. I for one would love to spend some time with the test driver if I was taking delivery of a new boat. Someone who over the course of 3 to 4 days would spend good 10 hours in the boat with you, teaching you to trim correctly, telling you what that particular boat can or cannot do. Get him to show you where the limit of that boat is so you don't have to look for it yourself and run a chance of going over it.

I don't have all answers and nobody does but what I'm saying is that one of these days, there will be an accident which will be one too many. And then, it will be too late for voluntary, pro-active action because somebody will take care of it for us. Somebody who is sitting in his office far away from action and who possibly never set foot in an offshore powerboat. And that my friends, would be a shame...
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Old 03-02-2004, 03:24 PM
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T2x has said it best on all counts. Speeds are increasing to a point that drivers expertise and hull designs have a hard time keeping up.
"Poker Runs, not a race"....... gimme a break. While technically not a race everyone runs flat out, each year more and more "pleasure boats" run flat out over 100 mph! At least with a race, you have a course, a handful of boats, safety regulations, and professional drivers.

Someone eluded to the fact that we are only wiping ourselves out so I guess they think that's OK. That's not always the case though, the recent accident in FL unfortunately killed the driver but two female passengers were injured as well. In my mind it was the boat owners responsibility to make sure those girls were in life jackets, in this instance it was lucky they were running with another boat, what would have happened if no one was around to fish them out of the water. Do you really think those girls understood what could happen at 100 MPH in the ocean.

Shane you take exception to the article in the paper, but what was printed was directly paraphrased from the ITS web site, it was clear that the owner and company's mission was speed. The question of speed is a tough one and would be hard to regulate and enforce, like most of you even with my concerns I am not sure I want to see the govt. doing it for us.

The fact of the matter is that no matter what sport your in; boat racing, free diving, mountain climbing, extreme skiing, hang gliding, car racing, etc the best of the sport will most likely continue to push the envelope. If you are an extremist and you and your family are at peace with it and you put no one else at risk then so be it. Me, I am happy to be a moderate.
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Old 03-02-2004, 03:36 PM
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I believe T2X did a good job of summing up the problem along with most of you. Yes this is a touchy subject, but its not going away. Every time there is a accident with a fatality or major injury the question comes up again. So we might as well just deal with it or go hide our heads in the sand and pretend the problem does not exist.

I believe that one of the major aspects that is causeing the problem and the confusion towards what to do is that these speeds are relatively new. I say that in the sense that, as a common buyer of powerboats, you can purchase speed simply by throwing down enough money. How many of us knew of boats that were capable of speeds in the triple digit club 10 years ago. How about 5 years ago. Within these years, technology has really progressed. Possibly faster than the knowledge of what to do with it.

Now, I am not in any way advocating getting the government or any other third party invovled into this matter to tell us what to do. I certainly do not want some person, sitting in an office, who never has stepped onto a boat in their life to tell me what I am capable of doing and what I am not capable of doing. What I do believe needs to happen is a "Grass Roots" type action started and conducted by those of us in the boating industry and lifestyle. I think that there should be sanctioned high performance driving schools for people who want to partake in them. I think it should be self imposed constraints that people would get the proper training before deciding to run at 150 plus even by themselves, in the middle of the ocean. We can set the standards ourselves and enforce it ourselves. Its time for us to excercise restraint before some beaurocrat decides to stick their nose into our business. Granted we are a small number of individuals that probably do go under the radar of legislation for the most part, but the day WILL come when we are in the sights. If we take steps now we can fend off most of the outside regulations. We can also form a legal committee that can lobby against any outside intrusions into our sport and can also help establish these self imposed regulations and restraints. But make sure its comprised by "US".

I dont have all the answers. I do hope that maybe some of these suggestions help. You will never be able to make the sport 100% safe or risk free. Thats part of the attraction. Even the best of us can get surprised. Look at what happened to Mr. Nunez when he was out in one of his 28 footers which rolled. Here was a guy that we can all agree knew what he was doing, knew his boat and still got involved in an accident because, the water surface is unpredictable. So maybe we can at least start taking steps to safeguard our sport from outside intervention.
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Old 03-02-2004, 04:07 PM
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5 years ago most of us would never have heard about this accident. Might have a read a blurb on it in one of the magazines in a couple months. Today, we know about it before the boat was out of the water. I read about this, the HTM accident, the Tampa Bay accident, etc. and start to think that this is getting more dangerous. Do the statistics really show that it is getting more dangerous or are we just more aware of the danger? With sources like OSO and others, maybe we just here about it more.
 
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Old 03-02-2004, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Demeanor
5 years ago most of us would never have heard about this accident. Might have a read a blurb on it in one of the magazines in a couple months. Today, we know about it before the boat was out of the water. I read about this, the HTM accident, the Tampa Bay accident, etc. and start to think that this is getting more dangerous. Do the statistics really show that it is getting more dangerous or are we just more aware of the danger? With sources like OSO and others, maybe we just here about it more.
You bring up a good point:

The Internet has made information accessible that years ago most of us would have never heard of...

I have had VERY fast motorcycles my entire life....and they have gotten faster and faster each year...still no regulation on them...hell...we don't even have to wear helmets in SC if we choose not too
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Old 03-02-2004, 05:38 PM
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Originally posted by clearcut3

I have had VERY fast motorcycles my entire life....and they have gotten faster and faster each year...still no regulation on them...
i believe the speed limit in SC is 75mph. I'd call that regulation. I'm not proposing speed limits but bikes are definatly regulated.

maybe to call it a "regulation" isnt; the right term perhaps highly adviseable high speed operations guidelines might be a better term.
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Old 03-02-2004, 05:46 PM
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All motorcycles are now limited to a maximum speed of 187mph. This started as of 2001. It was brought about by the european consortium much like the U.S. NTSB who forced it down the throats of the manufacturers. Eith comply with the limit or have your bikes blacklisted from being sold. Suzuki has choosen to make the limit easily bypassable with a resistor from Radio Shack. Kawasaki's are limited in the ECU. The limits apply to bikes sold in the US as well as the manufacturers sell their bikes worldwide.
 
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Old 03-02-2004, 05:50 PM
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Is this the future. I doublt it as it doesnt involve public roads but who knows?

REDUCED SPEED AHEAD ''A voluntary top-speed limitation, spurred by the threat of European regulation, ends the top-speed race for good,'' reports Aaron P. Frank in the August issue of the motorcycle industry publication MOTORCYCLE PRODUCT NEWS.
According to Frank, following the public release of the much anticipated Kawasaki ZX-12R, rumored to top out at 197 mph, independent testing revealed a much slower 187 mph. Meanwhile, the 2000 Suzuki Hayabusa, supposedly unchanged from '99, was 6 mph slower than the previous year's model.
Although motorcycle manufacturers have refused to officially comment on this slow-down, ''it has become apparent that this year's largest-displacement superbikes have been electronically restricted to limit their top speeds. While representatives of the American branches of Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda declined comment and deny knowledge of any restrictions, numerous sources have reported that the major Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers have signed voluntary limits and have agreed to end the top-speed race,'' claims the MPN article.
Buckling under to pressure from European safetycrats who threatened to regulate top speeds, motorcycle manufacturers reportedly met and agreed to set the voluntary speed limit at 185 mph for 2001, with further reductions over the next few years leading to an eventual 155 mph limit which is currently adhered to by automobile manufacturers.
Even most motorcyclists would agree that nobody really needs a 200 mph crotch rocket, but groups like the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) have been warning American riders for years of impending European regulations aimed at harmonizing vehicle standards worldwide, and speed governors may be the ''first shot'' in a long battle. Stay tuned, and keep your powder dry.
 
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Old 03-02-2004, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by super termoli
So we need to do something pro-active about it. Is common sense enough? Can peer pressure do it, if you tell someone "that's not cool dude" when you see him taking too many chances? Or maybe it would be a good idea for the industry to get together and start providing training courses, included in the boat price. I for one would love to spend some time with the test driver if I was taking delivery of a new boat. Someone who over the course of 3 to 4 days would spend good 10 hours in the boat with you, teaching you to trim correctly, telling you what that particular boat can or cannot do. Get him to show you where the limit of that boat is so you don't have to look for it yourself and run a chance of going over it.

...
All good points...... Especially when you consider that peer pressure is the primary cause of these accidents. So much of what is done on the water is the result of challenges laid down at bars....or claims about someone's boat....or driving ability. There is so little humility evident in our sport that it makes me cringe.

The point about training is excellent...as long as you realise that anyone performing as a "trainer" will automatically be dragged into a lawsuit, if the "trainee" forgets his lessons and has a calamity.

Finally on the subject of pride. I've been driving race and high performance boats for 45 years....and I'll put my driving credentials and experience against anyone on this board or in the sport of offshore racing. I am at least as qualified as most people driving the big guns today. The point?..........Everyone makes mistakes....even with a LOT of credentials. (see below)
...and I'm not too proud...(or self deluded)..to admit it.

Nobody's perfect and at 150 mph+....you have to be!

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Old 03-02-2004, 06:35 PM
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Let it be the future because it's only a smoke screen to prevent more severe govt. action. In France, all sports bikes are limited to 100hp +/- 6% tolerance. Which means that all super-sports over 600cc show 106hp, right on the legal limit. This effectively limits the top speed to between 240 and 260 km/h (approx. 150 to 160 mph) depending on bike. However, it is estimated that over 90% !!! of super-sport bikes have this limitation taken off before they hit the road for the first time. It is actually the dealer who will propose to do this and they usually use this as a bargaining tool: "we'll throw the de-restriction and a helmet in for free if you buy it". Reason is two-fold and quite simple: primo, people want to get what they paid for and secundo, power limiters also affect acceleration, torque and in some cases (Triumph) cause electronic injection problems in certain RPM ranges. And this is so embedded in the culture that even insurers and police are doing very little to stop it.

This happens even with mopeds. In France, you're allowed to ride a 49cc moped or a scooter when you turn 14. Those are supposed to be limited to 45 km/h, just under 30 mph. But the limiters are once again taken off before you ride out of the showroom. When I was into this kind of stuff, neither I nor any of my buddies had the limiter on past the break-in period and we were going over 50 mph. Whoa!

Finally, if you look at German cars, this was not enforced by the government. This was a voluntary action taken by BMW, Mercedes and Audi when they felt some heat coming from behind the official desks. Porsche refused to be part of this. But even on the other three's products, the limiters are only effective on cars which would be close to 250 km/h top speed (155 mph) anyway. Something like an M5 has been clocked more than once at 275 km/h. If you buy an AMG-version Mercedes, you can have the limiter taken off on simple request.

So there is really no effect on the consumer. Cars and motorbikes are still getting faster and more powerful but governments are not really nervous about it anymore because the manufacturers give the impression that they are cooperating in a politically-correct manner. This will in turn prevent what BMW, MB and Audi feared and what is the reason for their smoke screen: governments slapping a strict 130 km/h speed limit on all cars since this is the highest speed you are supposed to reach on motorways.

And the offshore world should do the same. We should do something about it, try to educate boaters about speed and at least give the impression that we are doing more than we actually are. Saying who cares about the careless few is not going to cut it with govt. officials. When **** hits the fan and media blow stuff out of proportion, we as a community need to advance proof that we are commited to improving the situation and to making our hobby safer. Maybe seminars or classes during poker-runs, maybe training and instructions by manufacturers before delivery, I don't know. But the worst thing is saying who cares, it doesn't concern me and govt. please stay out of it because this is when they become heavy-handed...
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