According to “Coast Guard Considers Mandating Adult
Life Jacket Wear” (June 2011), “the U.S. Forest Service estimates that 82 million people participated in boating in 2010
and Coast Guard statistics show 736 people died in boating accidents that year.” If these figures are quoted correctly,
that is a fabulous safety record of one fatality in more than
100,000 person-outings. Any fatality is obviously to be regret-ted, but if these figures are correct, requiring the Coast Guard
to enforce more invasive life-jacket rules is not worthwhile, and
makes life less enjoyable for the rest of us. John Morris
Carol Stream, IL
The idea of requiring adults over 18 to wear life jackets is
another case of government overstepping its authority. As an adult
I can decide when it’s prudent to wear a life jacket. I’ve been out
on an 8-foot boat without wearing one when I felt safe. I’ve also
put one on when aboard a 50-footer when I felt it was the wise
thing to do. This is not a decision the government needs to have a
voice in. Greg Lewis
Last year I installed a Garmin GPS on my Hunter 27 and connected it to my Standard Horizon VHF radio. Having a BS and MS
in Electrical Engineering I was able to do this, though as noted in
the article, “Changing ‘Please Try To Find Me’ to ‘Come Get Me’”
(June 2011), understanding how to properly connect it was a bit
of a challenge. Fortunately technical support from the respective
manufacturers helped answer my questions.
I was therefore appalled, though not surprised, when I read
Chris Edmonston’s statement that “the connections are different,
and not just from manufacturer to manufacturer, but between
models from the same manufacturer, and even from year to year.”
My lack of surprise stems from my past professional experience in
creating standards for computer hardware and software to inter-
operate where the oft-quoted joke was that “the wonderful thing
about standards is that there are so many to choose from.”
What appalls me is that, considering that people’s lives are
at stake, the attitudes of the Coast Guard and marine electronics
industry seem incredibly cavalier. That those involved in this only
got together earlier this year to develop an “action plan” to create
“more emphasis from these organizations on explaining the prob-
lem through training materials, courses, and courtesy inspections”
and that the Coast Guard and NMEA plan to “encourage manu-
facturers to better standardize interconnection fittings and color
coding” is the equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.
Based on my many years and experiences trying to get companies competing in the same industry to cooperate in order to adopt
common standards, I can guarantee you that it will be many years,
and probably many lives lost, before the problem is resolved.
1 Enjoying The Sound: Cousins Skylar Diehl ( 8), Riley Diehl (6),
and Cole Cantin ( 9), enjoyed a day trip to Fire Island, New York,
aboard the Hurricane last year.
2 How Am I Doing? Maya Hill is all jacketed up and ready to go
sailing with granddad Ed “Wonka” Hill aboard Muki 3, at Erie Basin
Marina in Buffalo, New York. “This is the home port for our cutter-rigged Bayfield 29,” says Ed.
3 Not Now Dad, I’m Busy! Although he’s just two and a half,
Andrew Tate looks like a natural in the captain’s chair on Lake
Hiawassee, North Carolina. His dad John Tate from Smyrna,
Georgia, sent in the shot.
4 Looking To The Future? Dave Walser from Lusby, Maryland,
says his 10-month-old grandson Steven has been a regular on his
boat since his conception! He already looks ready to take the helm.