Friday, January 11, 2008

Orange County Calif. Sheriff gets an ear full

How timely is this??: The News

NEWPORT BEACH — Representatives from Sea Tow and Vessel Assist membership towing companies came together in a Dec. 5 meeting to discuss their concerns with the Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol that boaters might be getting “free tows” in cases that are not emergencies..

When you read this and contrast it to yesterday's post about a city charging for police response to vehicle accidents....well, its night and day.

Here is my suggestion; don't try and get the OC Sheriff to stop towing, just convince them to start charging for it....say, $200/hour? Hey, they are just rich boaters, right? I mean, this is recreational boating. Its not like the guy with a dead battery 2 miles offshore was commuting to work. If the Sheriff was to charge (and they can by law), I think they would see a drop off in the amount of calls they respond to.

Look, contrast this situation to offroad recreation. If a guy runs out of gas 20 miles out in the desert with his ATV, is the Sheriff gonna tow him home? Sure, they might give the guy a ride to the nearest gas station, but more than likely, they will call a tow truck for the guy. How is a boat any different?

Here is my other pet peeve. When the Sheriff does tow a disabled boat, do they conduct a safety boarding? Almost never. Spend an afternoon at the launch ramp and ask the boaters who get towed in. The issue here is that Orange County gets most of their marine safety money to buy boats and stuff from the state. And that money is earmarked for boater safety.