Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2016

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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63 Spring 2016 Proceedings adequate practice, new and less experienced operators don't get the hands-on experience necessary to learn how the ves- sel will react to throttle and steering changes. Personal watercraft are unique, in that throttle is usually necessary to steer the vessel. This characteristic is often cov- ered in new rider orientations and helps to explain why the PWC operator continued to increase the throttle application as he attempted to steer out of the situation. Acknowledgments: Proceedings would like to thank Mr. Tim Smith at the Offce of Inves- tigations at Sector Ohio Valley, MSSE3 Jay R. Willimon at Sector St. Petersburg, Ms. Susan Weber at the Offce of Auxiliary and Boat- ing Safety at USCG headquarters, and Mr. Ken Olsen at the Offce of Investigations and Analysis at USCG headquarters for contributing to this story. About the author: Ms. Sarah K. Webster is a public affairs specialist at the Bureau of Recla- mation. She was previously the managing editor of the USCG Proceed- ings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine, a beat reporter for Micromedia Publications, and a news reporter and feature writer for Gannett Company, Inc. She has a Master of Arts in communication from Kent State University, a B.A. in communication from Monmouth Univer- sity, and an A.A. in humanities from Ocean County College. Endnotes: 1. 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard Offce of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, COMDTPUB P16754.27, 2014. 2. Note: At 60 miles per hour, a personal watercraft can travel 1,000 feet in approxi- mately 13.6 seconds, and a half-mile in 30 seconds. fve-hour van ride prior to becoming the operator and sole lookout of the towing vessel. While western rivers tow ves- sel operators commonly operate as the steersman as well as their own lookout, this incident occurred over Memorial Day weekend, when recreational vessel traffc on the water- way was known to be heavy. Story 2: Excursion Gone Wrong The watercraft operator on the rental lacked the boating skills required to operate a personal watercraft effectively. According to witness testimony, the man who rented the PWC indicated he had operated one in the past, but the extent of that experience was suspected to be limited and not recent. In situations where an inexperienced PWC renter may have to pass through a heavily navigated channel, a check ride in an isolated area is recommended. Further, Florida law requires PWC liveries to provide an on- the-water demonstration and check ride to evaluate renter profciency. The PWC rental company personnel may have believed they met this requirement by requiring a guide to instruct and escort all renters. However, with the business' location set in a busy marina, renters were immediately exposed to high levels of commercial and recreational traf- fc before they could demonstrate or learn vessel profciency. In this situation, the rental company did provide an orienta- tion describing PWC controls, characteristics, and handling. However, until they actually climb aboard a PWC and get

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