LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An open letter to all amateur power boat operators

July 6, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

To the Editor:

Professional captains with a U.S.C.G. license are required to pass a rigorous exam demon, demonstrating their knowledge of the rules of navigation. Since Florida does not require such knowledge for amateur boat operators, anyone with the money to buy or rent a boat can operate a vessel.

The rules of navigation state, “Power-driven vessels, unless constrained by draft or the ability to maneuver, must yield to vessels under sail.”

This does not mean that a 40-foot sportfish can continue on an intersecting course with a 20-foot vessel under sail, passing so closely to leeward that the alignment of the slots on the rub rail screwheads can be observed.

What this does mean is, it is but another example of foolish and unprofessional boat operation.

Be courteous, slow down, pass astern. Know and abide by the rules of navigation.

Capt. John Foster

Boca Grande