Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dark Secrets: Tillerman is a motor boater! . . . . . . . . . . . . (and so are most of the rest of us, ouch!)

Recently, the well-networked sailing blogger Tillerman was musing (perhaps half in jest) on whether he needed to carry signal flares in his commodious Laser sailing yacht and whether a Coast Guard inspection party would be able to get their muddy booted feet upon his fine sailing machine.

In response, I thought to research and compare safety and equipment requirements for sailing dinghies in Rhode Island and New Mexico. Some of the results were not so surprising, but some of my other findings led me to a shocking and horrible discovery.

Tillerman and I are both really motor boaters.

Even when we never touch a motor... outboard, electric, diesel, whatever. Even when the boat doesn't have a motor. Even when we're gliding silently along under sail only, even when there's no propeller within a hundred yards of our craft.

You see, the State of Rhode Island says so. And so does the State of New Mexico (via tortuous definitions). And so, too, I suspect do many other states say. Yes, my friends, it's a conspiracy; a dark, sinister plot to smudge every sailor with the tarred brush that would label us all as stinkpotters.

Don't believe me? Read the law. Specifically, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management implements title 46 of the Rhode Island General Laws. In describing which boats are registered and regulated under the law in Chapter 46-22, Regulation of Boats, Section 46-22-2 clearly states....

(2) "Motorboat" means any vessel whether or not the vessel is propelled by machinery. For purposes of this chapter, motorboat shall not include houseboats as defined in ยง 44-5-25.1, canoes, and rowboats twelve feet (12') in length or less.

So, if the Great Tillerman rents or buys a houseboat, it's not a motorboat (for these purposes). But, his Laser is a motorboat -- and more so a motorboat than a houseboat! Now, if he could just deform the Laser and make it skinnier, he might get it to qualify as a canoe, just maybe. Or, he could try to mount oarlocks, cut off two feet of the bow, junk the rig, and add oars to qualify as a rowboat.

Confused? Wait until I show you a law that may prohibit Tillerman from sailing on one morning of the week!

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At 9:39 PM, June 24, 2009, Blogger Tillerman said...

Is my motorboat a Daddy Motorboat or a Mommy Motorboat?

At 4:51 PM, June 25, 2009, Blogger Maybe said...

You realize that this definition of "motorboat" is coming from the so-called "Island" state, which isn't an island.

I see a pattern here.


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