Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How big is big...?

A French male caller from Québec wanted to know if there were any "length regulations", with regards to someone taking their boat out onto the Ocean. When asked as to what they meant specifically, they reiterated that they were looking for information on whether their boat had to be a certain minimum length, for them to be allowed to take their boat to sea.

I'm betting that what prompted this call was a conversation this chap had with a friend of his and in all likelihood, it probably went something like this:

"Yeah...I'm thinking about taking my boat out to sea...".

"What? That little 16-footer you got out there?"

" Don't look at me like that...".

"Are you serious? Have you looked at it? You've got a friggin' 9.9hp motor on it... You couldn't outrun the smell of your own farts, let alone a wave...".

"Ben non... I got all the gear. I know what I'm doing, 'ostie!"

"No, seriously Dude... You can't do that. You'll just end up feeding the fish."

"You're saying I can't do that? Who says I can't do that? The government?"

"I dunno, man... Maybe. There must be some kind of law that would prevent people from doing something so stupid...".

" wait there. I'm gonna find the number and phone the Coast Guard. I'll ask if there is a law that says my boat has to be a certain size to go on the océan!"

The rest as they say, is history. I'm here to tell you that the ocean is huge. How huge? Your mind would have a hard time registering it's immensity. It should also go without saying that something that large, is bound to be incredibly powerful. And it sure the Hell is!! I have sailed on ships that were over 300 feet long and there were times when I felt my ship was far too small to be out there. There were times when caught in some sizable storms, I actually feared for my life. Subs (God love them...) are different... you just dive and it's like you're in your living room at home, by comparison. "Happiness is being at 500 feet , in a Force 12 storm."

I have also seen aircraft carriers that were 1,000 ft long, wallowing like they were corks. No, there is no law here in Canada, or anywhere else to my knowledge, which would prohibit a person from taking their boat, regardless of it's size, out to sea. I'm going to have to go on the assumption that nobody, regardless of nationality, culture, race or intellect, would have thought that such a law would actually be necessary... That means that you're just gonna have to go out there and find out on your own, sonny.

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