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No cure for stupidity, but what’s the industry’s role in safety?

By By Jonathan Sweet

Elsewhere on the site today, you’ll find the unfortunate annual ritual of the reporting of the series of Independence Day boating fatalities.

As most of us who spend any time on the water know, there’s a lot of stupid/inexperienced/drunk/otherwise intoxicated people out there, and alcohol is apparently to blame for many of the accidents reported this past week.

My family is lucky enough to have a place on Lake Vermilion, a northern Minnesota lake that’s far enough from the Twin Cities to not be a total madhouse even on its busiest weekend of the year. Still, I saw plenty of idiotic behavior this weekend from fishing while lightning was on the horizon to PWCs cutting in front of speeding boats to the tubers that passed within mere feet of our dock.

There’s no cure for stupidity – but education can help reduce the problems that are caused by ignorance. On the other hand, car dealers don’t worry about training their buyers.

Of course, the argument there is that many states still don’t require boater safety training. So where does the industry fit in? It would seem to me that the best dealers would and manufacturers would want to help their customers and potential buyers feel comfortable on the water. These frequent accidents also don’t inspire confidence in people considering boating as a family activity.

What’s the boating industry’s responsibility?

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