Thread: More BS
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:44 AM
Alan Bates Alan Bates is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 841

Yes, Bruno, the USCG does certify that a boat is safe to operate. The SOLAS law was passed by Congress after the burning of the Yarmouth Castle, a ship flying a "flag of convenience," (Panamanian) which means little or no inspection or crew control. Wood burns, therefore it is unsafe, is a simplistic notion. They ignored many factors well-known to firefighters and actuarial societies, the primary one being that wood frequently is safer in a catastrophic fire than steel or aluminum. They ignored such other safety factors as means of escape, whether the wood is protected, sprinklers, alarms, etc.

[Look up the Yarmouth Castle on Google or Wikipedia for the full story of that disaster.]

My basic premise is that the USCG is so oriented to the oceans that they are ignorant of the river facts of life. They are not stupid - they are ignorant. I have dealt with all sorts of USCG officers. Most of them are highly intelligent. A few are downright obstructive in the military sense: the way to promotion is to never, ever commit one's self to any proposition. Their academy is immutably dedicated to ocean navigation and safety and little thought is devoted to the special problems of the rivers. A very few USCG officers come from the rivers. One is Capt. Jim Blum. I know no others.

I once asked a USCG naval architect how a change can be made. He told me, "Design the boat and let it be rejected. Then appeal. If the USCG finds in your favor the change becomes part of the rules." I then asked, "How long does that take?" He replied, "A minimum of two years!"
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