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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Licenses for small boat owners


Reported by the Christian Science Monitor Got a boat? You may need a license.:
With some 17 million boats on the water, as many as 70 million boaters, and 95,000-plus miles of shoreline, America has a coastal vulnerability that extends beyond the few miles of range around major ports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has secured so far.

While the federal government will spend $178 million next year to attain a goal of placing radiation monitors at 98 percent of US ports, many experts say a jihadist cell would be less likely to ship a nuclear device in a container and more likely to deliver it in person in a recreational-style boat.

The attack on the USS Cole, for one, showed that small boats such as bowriders and cuddy cabins can be used to ram large ships and to launch mortar attacks, terrorism experts say.
A part of a proposed solution is to license boaters, just as we license automobile drivers.

Some people seem - uh- a little defensive in arguments countering licensing:
"What concerns us is that [DHS] is trying to basically use boating safety as a fig leaf to cover their real intention, which is to identify recreational boaters and get them licensed," says Mike Sciulla, spokesman for the Boat Owners Association of the United States in Alexandria, Va. "For the government to suggest that boaters should be required to take classes for national security reasons is ... unwarranted."
Identify boaters? Get them some minimal training? The horror...

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