The origin of Messing About In Sailboats

  • The original quote is from Kenneth Grahame's Wind In the Willows: "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

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April 07, 2011


Carol Anne

New Mexico requires that all boat operators born after January 1, 1989, take a boating safety class. I'm not sure exactly why the people who crafted that law chose a date of birth as a cutoff rather than an age requirement, but when the law was first enacted, it applied to 17-year-olds, and now it applies to 22-year-olds. I guess the idea is that eventually it will apply to all boaters.

I have no idea, however, whether any studies have been done to show whether the law makes an actual difference.

Colorado has a requirement that all boaters under the age of 18 take a safety course; Gerald took the Colorado course when he was 15.

Texas was the first state in the U.S. to require a safety course for operators of PWCs. I know I've seen statistics that show Texas' program has made a difference, but I don't remember where I saw those stats.


In the Netherlands one has to take an exam before operating a boat with a length of 15m or more and for boats *capable* of going 20km/h or faster (including jet-skies). And yes, I think it makes a difference.

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