any true Kiwi male, I feel it is my God-given right to treat my liver as I see
fit, get totally, paralytically legless when I feel like it, climb on board my
300hp 5-ton floating gin palace and terrorise the rest of the boating population
if I so wish. If someone dies, maybe even me, well, thatís life (if youíll
pardon the pun).
for these control freaks who want to breathalyse boaties, make us learn things
and get licences and register our boats, well, thatís the closest thing to
Fascism I can think of. Who the hell do they think they are? Our fathers (oh all
right - and mothers too I suppose) fought for freedom in two world wars, and
thereís no way Iím gonna let anyone take that freedom away from me.
boaties? Who are they kidding? For a start, who is going to perform this
operation? The Police? Get real.... thereís not enough of them on dry land to
do the job theyíd like to do let alone out on the briny, and they are the
first to admit it. And how do they judge who needs breathalysing? I can just
imagine the conversation on our lone Police boat.... ďOh, look, thereís a
boat weaving from side to side, letís get him.... Oh, thereís another...and
another... damn me if theyíre not ALL pissed...Ē I know the argument is to
save lives, but letís face it, with so many lives lost on the roads in spite
of breathalysers, one or two more on the water really isnít worth all the
aggro, and anyway, every sport has its danger element. Being run down by a
pissed boatie is all part of the excitement, isnít it? I read somewhere that
30% of road accidents are caused by drunk drivers. Do you realise what that
means? 70% of accidents are caused by
SOBER PEOPLE. Pissed people
have less accidents! If thatís not the best reason for getting legless Iím
damned if I know what is.
for Registering boats - well, we know thatís just another way of raising
money, another form of Tax. And by what right do they make it more difficult for
an honest thief to steal a boat and have some chance of getting away with it? I
suppose this is going to mean that we all have to have those ugly and
unattractive numbers plastered on the front and back. How tacky. And I guess
they will have to be illuminated at night too? And will the dinghy need to be
registered ? Or is that to be treated like the spare in your boot? Itís all
just too difficult to think about.
finally, the license thingy. How dare they imply that the good old kiwi bloke
(and blokesses I guess) doesnít know how to handle a boat. As a Nation we are
BORN with that ability, just like Rugby, Racing and Domestic Violence, er, I
mean Beer, and anyway, whatís to learn? The rules are simple - just start the
motor, stick it in Ďgoí, push the Ďgo fast knobí as far forward as you
can shove it, and do your best to miss everybody else by twisting the wheel
thingy violently from side to side. Simple. The difficulty of the task reduces
in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed - another damn fine
reason for getting legless. I can never remember which side of the channel to go
down, so if you stick to the middle or follow someone else youíll usually be
OK. And as for those red and green things that they stick in the channel - well,
theyíre never anchored right ON the shallow bit, so as long as you pass close
by youíll be OK whichever side you go on, yeah? Actually theyíre bloody
handy for hanging a rope on to when youíre fishing, too.
I learned it all from my Dad, and he only had the one accident and sure
he lost the boat and damn near killed himself too, but that only happened
because he actually got so drunk he passed out at the wheel and well, you
canít blame a bloke for what happens when heís unconscious now, can you.
donít you dare question the Kiwi macho image, or force some people to admit to
being a bit frightened that they might not be as capable as they think they are,
or that they might not know as much as they think they do, that they may might
be too old to learn, or that they might just have to start being responsible and
accountable for their actions, their own safety, and the lives of others.
Thatís just too much to ask.
Ok, now letís be seriousÖ
Iíve done my best to paint a picture of the macho
kiwi mind set that goes along with opposition to licensing, registration and an
attempt to limit drink-driving at sea. The
Maritime Safety Authority supports these initiatives, as does every other
skipper Iíve spoken to. Iíve
yet to hear someone make any kind of rational
argument against licensing and registration.
The only such arguments Iíve heard have been from anti-control freaks
shouting about ďBig BrotherĒ - and thatís just not rational.
I remember how proud I was when I passed my Road Test and earned my driverís license. I never saw it as control. It was a necessary part of life. I felt the same when I passed my skipperís ticket. A group of my peers had judged me and found me competent. Licensing will lift standards of knowledge and competency and that has to be a giant step towards improving safety of life at sea. I will be interested and intrigued to see any rational contra argument.
Steve Punter ANZIM,
Dip Bus (PMER), FHRINZ
Staff Training Associates Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand.
© Steve Punter 2001 All rights reserved by the author.