|Messing About On the River|
|Topic||Government and the Economy|
|Key Words||Social costs, tax|
Accidents on waterways are increasing at a fast rate. In 1999, there will be approximately 8,000 accidents, up approximately 33 percent from six years ago. The fundamental cause is that there are many more boats today than in the past, caused by a strong economy and the elimination of a 10-percent tax on boats priced over $100,000. Also, people are buying bigger boats than before. More boats mean that waterways are crowded and water rage results.
In addition, problems result from drunk boating and inexperienced and uneducated boat users. In most states, licenses are not required: even children can drive boats. The U.S. Coast Guard has cut its staff and its expenses, making policing of boat traffic more difficult.
As a result, some harbors are increasing their patrols and sobriety checks. Certain states are considering requiring licenses and liability insurance. However, there is concern that additional regulations may deter tourists.
(Updated November 1, 1999)
|Source||Nancy Keates, "No Smooth Sailing," The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 1999.|
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