Columnist’s call for PFDs is ‘misguided’ 

I enjoy reading Captain’s Table each month in WorkBoat, but Capt. Alan Bernstein’s call for personal PFDs for all recreational users of waterways is ridiculous, intrusive and misguided (“Rowing safety and PFDs,” April 2014).

Accidents with rowers and swimmers are usually caused by operators of motorized craft that are inhibited by alcohol. Why create new laws against recreational rowers, paddleboarders, and swimmers because laws that prohibit the use of alcohol while operating motorized craft go unheeded by the public? Open the cooler of any recreational fishing vessel on any river or coast and you have a good chance of finding beer and maybe some fish.

When is enough enough on the waterways? Where I live there are over six local, state and federal police forces riding up and down at high speed harassing boaters. Do you want to hire more police to harass rowers and paddleboarders?  Do you want more taxes and more regulations? What data is this based on?

What flotation devices are you proposing for open water swimmers, freedivers and fisherman? How many police and Homeland Security officers will you hire with tax money to harass and investigate all of these swimmers as well?

Maybe Capt. Bernstein should write articles asking people not to operate motorized craft on the waterways while drunk. Maybe he should ask people to follow existing laws rather than calling for a new layer of police bureaucracy. Perhaps he should also try swimming in open water for five miles with a life preserver. That may help him reconsider the call for police harassment of swimmers and rowers.

Tom Gilmore 

Panama City Beach, Fla.