Letter to the Editor
I’m sorry your correspondent Gary Manch was not party to the whole conversation.
I am certainly in favour of having and wearing lifejackets most of the time.
Certainly, for most people, most of the time, in most situations, wearing a lifejacket does give a far greater chance of survival. I have never argued with that. I usually wear a lifejacket or bouyancy aid, and I promote the wearing of lifejackets.
I agree with Gary, that any death is a tragedy. I have had three cousins die by drowning, and about 20 other people that I have known quite well. I have been an avid boaty most of my life, and had 17 years commercial fishing. I understand that the ocean is dangerous. Even walking on the beach I don’t turn my back on the ocean. It is dangerous, always, in all situations, and it demands respect and awareness. And that is precisely the issue I have with blanket rules.
If people just follow rules, rather than using their awareness and intelligence, then I am certain more people than necessary will die around the ocean (and everywhere else).
Yes the ocean is dangerous, and it is also beautiful. One needs to be as aware as possible of all the dangers of boating, of waves, of vessel stability, of swimmers, of currents, of winds, of as many as possible of the thousands of hazards that exist; and to adjust one’s behaviour accordingly, moment by moment.
Sure learn the guidelines, and no guidelines, no set of rules, can ever replace the learning one gets from experience.
No rule will ever work 100% of the time.
Our law used to acknowledge that, now it doesn’t.
We need to promote the responsible use of intelligence at all levels, not penalise it with blanket rules.