Commenting on a proposed need for mandatory boater education for users of the Kenai River:
"Good work, ——!
This is useful info, and with the amount of usage that the Kenai now sees each summer, very much needed. I know there were several accidents last summer (one quite serious) and LITERALLY HUNDREDS of near-misses! Personally, I rubber-necked and drove defensively all day-every day due to inexperienced operators who don’t know the basic rules of the road.
In all honesty, it’s become quite scary out there during peak season. For this reason, I believe that starting with a requirement that only targets younger operators, even though it would be easier to get initially implemented, is not the answer. The bottom line is that operating a water craft on a fast, shallow river that has intense traffic on it is not for the beginner boater, regardless of age.
Eager for the thoughts of others on this committee, ——"
"I'm with —— on wanting everyone to be required to take a boating safety course and would add all boaters - even those running oars. Many drift boats are now fishing the middle and the same problems exist there with folks having no clue about the rules of the road.
Even the Upper Kenai is having issues with boaters lacking the skills to operate safely and getting into trouble. We had to rescue a boat off an island this summer when a guy slammed a tree, broke an oar and washed up on the island. He hitched a ride out and called us to go get his boat for him. We see folks cartwheeling down the river every day and it is a daily occurrence to have to rescue someone at the take out because they can't land their boat safely at Jim's. Then they back their trailer way out*into the river right in front of a boat coming in to land. There have been many accidents - fortunately no serious injuries so far.
So, yes, let's try to implement a required course for all users on the entire system.
If we have to phase it in to make it a go, then let's do that. Mabye in 10 year instead of 5 year increments starting with the largest age group."
How, in the name of common sense, can anyone, let alone DNR seriously propose raising horsepower limits to 50 on the Kenai? If the river is as dangerous as described by the guides above—both members of Kenai River Professional Guides Association—at 35-horsepower, how much more dangerous would it be at 50-horsepower?