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Daysailor or Terrorist Threat?

In an effort to step up national security, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announced plans last month for a new anti-terrorism initiative that would screen and inspect small recreational boats for bombs. "I haven’t heard anybody talk about small boats," Chertoff said, "and a nuclear bomb on a small boat can do just as much damage as one in a container." Of the country’s 17 million small rec boats, it wasn’t clear exactly how and which boats would be inspected. We’re certain we won’t be the only ones closely watching the pilot program in San Diego.

The Coast Guard is also looking for a new federal requirement that all boat operators – and we now know from the Clear Lake case, that means anyone on board who might ever have the tiller in their hand – carry ID so they can keep track of who enters restricted zones. They’re also pushing for mandatory boater education – not a big issue since 46 states already require it. Even the Boat Owners Association (aka BoatU.S.) isn’t opposed to the plan, as long as operators don’t have to carry separate ID or install expensive tracking devices.

What do you think about these plans? Big Brother run amok or a necessary precaution? Shoot us an email with your thoughts.

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