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Thread: Proposed mandatory boater education for Kenai River users. . .

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    Default Proposed mandatory boater education for Kenai River users. . .

    According to a member of Kenai River Special Management Area's Kenai River Guide Advisory Board (the same subcommittee that put the 50-horsepower proposal before the KRSMA board):

    "One of the topics we (the Kenai River Guide Advisory Board) and KRSMA have discussed in our meetings is the possibility of requiring all people operating a motorized vessel on the Kenai to successfully complete a boating education course. At this web site: http://www.nasbla.org/education_requirements.htm you will find the requirements for all 50 states. There are presently only four states with no boating safety requirements. A number of them only require a course for personal watercraft operators, but most have requirements for operators of any powered vessel. Many states have gradually implemented their requirement based upon age like Washington:
    January 1, 2008 - All boat operators 20 years old and younger;
    January 1, 2009 - All boat operators 25 years old and younger;
    January 1, 2010 - All boat operators 30 years old and younger;
    January 1, 2011 - All boat operators 35 years old and younger;
    January 1, 2012 - All boat operators 40 years old and younger;
    January 1, 2013 - All boat operators 50 years old and younger;
    January 1, 2014 - All boat operators 60 years old and younger;
    January 1, 2015 - All boat operators 70 years old and younger;
    January 1, 2016 - All boat operators over 12 years of age will be
    required to have a card. Persons born before January 1, 1955 are exempt."

    Questions arise:
    1) Why single out the Kenai for special education? Some area residents are interpreting this proposal as another effort to disenfranchise private anglers on the Kenai River.
    2) Where would such a course be offered? Here at the Kenai college only? The Kenai college is the only place where Kenai River guides, regardless of their place of residence, can take their mandatory education course.
    3) Would Alaska residents in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Wasilla, etc. be required to come down to the Kenai college to take such a course?
    4) Would nonresidents, without such a course, be able to rent a boat, fish from their own boats, or be required to resort to a guide?


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    First they push for increased speed and horsepower. Then turn around and want everyone to take special Kenai River boating safety ed?

    Of course this is another effort to disenfranchise private anglers on the Kenai River. It's not a state-wide proposal. The ensuing discussion that followed that comment clearly targeted the private angler, who the guides feel are "beginner boaters", and "inexperienced operators" who "don't have a clue".

    I guarantee this one will bring the public to new levels of outrage.


    http://www.nasbla.org/education_requirements.htm you will find the requirements for all 50 states. There are presently only four states with no boating safety requirements.
    It appears the guides and KRSMA are already tainting us with misinformation, trying to make it look like Alaska is behind the 8-ball.

    This was e-mailed to me tonight...

    "The majority of states do not require adult boater safety education:

    12 states do not require boater safety education: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, North Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

    15 states require only youth boater safety. No requirements for adults: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

    23 states require some type of adult boater safety education: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

    http://www.boater101.com/Course/StudentManual.aspx"

  3. #3

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    I cannot see why you guys are complaining about a safety course. I think that that is one of the best ideas that has been brought up.

    Everyone needs to stop being so closed minded to change. Especially when it comes to safety. If this boaters safety course could prevent one injury or fatality, then we should do it.

    Instead of fighting the change, why not help the change. You must accept the fact that society is changing and that some sacrifices must be made.

    And if you have such a problem with these proposals, talk to your representitives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmo1977 View Post

    And if you have such a problem with these proposals, talk to your representitives.
    This has nothing to do with our representatives. Parks could do it via regulation - just to set the record straight.

    Second, this is another attempt to restrict non-residents who may use their own boat or a rental boat. It would force non-residents to fish with a guide more often - thus a growth in the guide industry.

    Third, it makes it more difficult for private anglers to access the river. It is being proposed without any context - who are the trainers, who pays for it, what happens if you fail the first time, and finally what evidence is there that it will make the river more safe?

    Fourth, it is being proposed on the word of guides who say the river is not safe and yet these same guides said the river is safer with 50 hp - no mention that the general public with 50 hp would make it less safe - shows a pattern of reduced public participation and increased guide business.

    Fifth, it is proposed in the absence of a comprehensive plan - we can improve safety by removing half the boats out there in July - guides are pushing this since they know that alternatives for safety may restrict their numbers. Lets have a plan which defines how the river will look in 5 to 10 years and see how this safety course fits in, if needed at all.

    Sixth, other rivers in Alaska are more dangerous than the Kenai and yet no mention of this for all river users - why not? Because the guide committee of KRSMA knows that they can get this pasted as a regulation and not a statue - that means no statewide examination of the issue.

    I guess I will stop but that is why people are questioning this recommendation. Piecemeal approaches to this river will fail everyone.

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    Question Need some help . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by cmo1977 View Post
    . . . a safety course. I think that that is one of the best ideas that has been brought up.

    Everyone needs to stop being so closed minded to change. Especially when it comes to safety. If this boaters safety course could prevent one injury or fatality, then we should do it. . .
    1) Should such a course cover only the Kenai River or should it cover all the state's waters?

    2) Should such a course be offered anywhere besides here in the Kenai/Soldotna area (consider Alaska residents who use the Kenai but live elsewhere in the state)? If so, where? How many times per year?

    3) Should nonresidents be required to take such a course before renting a boat or using their own watercraft?

    4) Should such a course be more than, say, a one-day, one or two hour affair? If so, how long?



  6. #6

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    Marcus,
    #1. No, it shouldn't be for Kenai only. I think that it should be required for the entire state.

    #2. It should be offered state wide. The number of classes per year is difficult to judge, but I am sure there would be a large number needed at least in the begininig.

    #3. Yes, resident and Non-Resident should be required to have the certification.

    #4. As far as the length of the class, I cannot determine that. But one option would be keeping it similar to the Coast Guard training.

    Here is the link to boaters safety for the USCG
    http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/courses.htm

    Maybe that would be one option to require every boater in the state to use the Coast Guard for the basic boaters safety course. This would allow non-residients the chance to be trained prior to visiting. And it is a proven saftey coure that is well developed.

    Nerka,
    As far as some of your comments. The KRSMA does have there own agenda, but this one would also help the general public. Change is difficult, but it is needed. I do agree that there are too many boats on the river. I would love to see it go to drift only, that would solve almost allt eh issues. But with every proposal, someone is going to loos something. I just don't think tightening up to keep safety out is the one thing to fight. Boating accidents happen too often, and many are avoidable. You are right that the Kenai is safer than many of our rivers, that is why I think we should make it a state wide regulation.

    I have no problems with people questioning these proposals. But just think what could be gained by increasing safety awarness on the water. I work in th eoil industry, and one of the most important things I have learned is the safety culture. If there is a way something can be done more safely, do it, cost shouldn't have an impact.

    On a final note, even if the parks could do it by regulation, doesn't mean there could be politacal pressure behind it.

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    cmo1997, if there are safety issues on the Kenai then those issues should be identified and addressed for what they are.

    Educational requirements are a band-aid approach, at best. And after reading the ensuing comments by the guides who proposed the requirement, it was clear that their intent was not safety, but rather to further restrict non-guide users. I was extremely offended at their comments about "beginners", "inexperienced operators", and "folks who have no clue".

    If the intent was to prevent injuries and fatalities on the Kenai, like you say, then efforts would be better spent requiring safety courses for all Russian River fisherman and any boater using Skilak or Kenai lakes. That's where the injuries and fatalities happen.

    By the way, I'm all for "change" and making "sacrafices". But I prefer change in the right direction and sacrafice by all. So you tell me how increasing to 50 hp and the ever-increasing limitless guide numbers are a "change" in the right direction and a "sacrafice" by all....??

    This was proposed by self-proclaimed safety experts, who not only fail to address the real safety problems or look at their own contribution to safety problems, but who have their own special interests in mind. This proposal will do nothing for addressing the real safety issues on the Kenai. It will only cost us money and make it harder for the average fisherman to access the Kenai.

    After the 50 horsepower fiasco, I wonder how this one would go over with the public....

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    cmo1977, Dating back to Statehood, Alaska has never had a requirement for boating safety education. This is consistent with 27 other states (excluding youth programs). Alaska's boating accident numbers are down. And Alaska already provides boater safety education programs and other educational opportunities for all.

    Per State of Alaska: "The State of Alaska does not require vessel operators to complete a boating safety course, but
    does highly recommend them. In addition to a basic boating safety course, new boaters
    should continue their education by taking a course on boat handling and operation. Boaters
    must also be aware that state boating safety laws are updated annually, and boaters must
    stay informed of any changes to state boating safety requirements."

    I fail to see what has changed in our State to now require boater education. I fail to see why the problems of the Kenai River should suddenly become a burden and expense to others throughout the entire State? The question is, why aren't these safety problems unique to the Kenai River being addressed for what they are? And how, in such a sad state of safety, can we possibly increase horsepower?


    Quote Originally Posted by cmo1977
    #2. It should be offered state wide. The number of classes per year is difficult to judge, but I am sure there would be a large number needed at least in the begininig.
    Do you realize how big and remote Alaska is? Who's going to pay for it? And better yet, who's going to enforce it for the 3 guys living in Ambler who run the Kobuk River?

  9. #9

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    For everyone's information, nothing has been proposed. This topic was discussed within a subcommittee of the KRSMA board. The issue of Boater Education is presently not an item of business for that subcommittee, nor should it be. The proper place for such a discussion is with the KRSMA Board general membership and currently no such item is on that agenda.

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    Default Thanks for clarifying. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by akkona View Post
    For everyone's information, nothing has been proposed. This topic was discussed within a subcommittee of the KRSMA board. The issue of Boater Education is presently not an item of business for that subcommittee, nor should it be. The proper place for such a discussion is with the KRSMA Board general membership and currently no such item is on that agenda.

    That is entirely correct, akkona. . . thanks for the clarification. That said, it has been discussed within the Kenai River Guide Advisory Board, which was created last year as a subcommittee of the KRSMA Advisory Board. It takes the place of the commercial operator's committee that dealt with many of the guide issues on the river. The KRGAB provides advice to the regular KRSMA Advisory Board and normally meets every month on the same day as the regular KRSMA Board meets.

    According to one KRGBA member, "One of the topics we and KRSMA have discussed in our meetings is the possibility of requiring all people operating a motorized vessel on the Kenai to successfully complete a boating education course."

    It's good for the public to be kept informed about such discussions at whatever stage of development they occur.

    Here are the names of KRGBA members:
    2006- 2008 KRGAB Members are:
    Joe Conners, KRSMA Advisory Board Representative, three year term. Seves as Chairperson
    Cliff Chamberlin, Kenai River Guide At-Large, two year term
    Greg Brush, Kenai River Guide At-Large, three year term
    Mark Glassmaker, Kenai River Professional Guide Association, two year term
    Monte Roberts, Kenai River Professional Guide Association, three year term
    George Heim, Kenai River Large Business/Rental Boat Business, two year term
    Gary Turner, Citizen At-Large, three year term—Mr. Turner is a KRSA board member and president of Kenai college
    Jacques Kosto, Kenai River District Ranger, or Jack Sinclair, Park Superintendent, DNR/Parks agency representative
    Robert Begich, Area Fisheries Biologist, ADF&G/Sport Fish agency representative


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    Quote Originally Posted by akkona
    For everyone's information, nothing has been proposed.
    By the time it's "officially" proposed, the discussion has already taken direction, the issue has already been shoe-horned, and the public gets blind-sided....Just like the way the 50 hp proposal came about.

    The KRGAB brought (proposed) this to the KRSMA. The KRGAB appears to be widening its scope and shifting its objective to public safety rather than guide related issues. So to be equally fair, maybe we ought to have a KRSMA subcommittee made up of private anglers, whose's scope is focused on regulating guides rather than public issues.

    KRGAB:

    Gary Turner - Guide
    Joe Conners - Guide
    Cliff Chamberlin - Guide
    Greg Brush - Guide
    Mark Glassmaker - Guide
    Monte Roberts - Guide
    George Heim - Guide

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