Monday, June 14, 2010

Sailing safer than driving?

Probably many readers know the story about Abby Sutherland, a 17 year old "American" who just got rescued from her boat the "Wild Eyes" in the Indian Ocean. Earlier, she was trying to become the youngest circumnavigator of the planet, but she had some problems earlier near South Africa or something, which somehow disqualified her, but she decided to continue the voyage.

Of course, billions - including sailing experts - are complaining about this, some saying it is child abuse.

So, the first question to ask is how safe are different types of boating? Quite obviously - so obvious that I will not provide a reference link - the two best things to do are to wear a life vest and take classes. However, the unavoidable still happens, so probably the best thing to do is to not mix sailing and war. (Once when I went sailing --- okay at the risk of sounding unadventurous or poor, I will state more accurately: the one time I went sailing was in Long Beach harbour in 1982. At the time the USS New Jersey was being retrofitted there, destined for subsequent service in the Lebanese Civil War.). In other regards, well, think about it, boats have huge permanently-installed airbags in-between them called "water". Boats for the most part do not have brakes -- this also means that they are safer, because if you don't have brakes you don't need them.

On the other hand, cars are relatively much more dangerous, whether you are drinking sea water, milk or caffeinated drinks, and slightly more if you are drinking alcohol.

But comparing boating to driving? Perhaps traveling on the Congo River vs. driving a car (are there equivalent roads?) is possible. If someone can do it, I will make a link to it here.

In the meantime, I will start to end this voyage with a quote by Abby Sutherland's father, taken from the UK Guardian:

"I never questioned my decision in letting her go. In this day and age we get overprotective with our children," Laurence Sunderland said. "Look at how many teenagers die in cars every year. Should we let teenagers drive cars? I think it'd be silly if we didn't."

In closing, while I would support driving age and voting age being the same in USA, I think a great supporting measure would be massive investment in ocean and fresh water boating for transport (and e.g. floating "boat ins" for movies) and not just de-paving of the roads of the world, but their transformation into canals.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Todd. Driving a boat is MUCH more dangerous then driving a car BECAUSE boats does not have brakes. Not having brakes you have to behave differently. Maybe it could help to remove brakes from cars.

...and believe me, water does not work as air bag at all.