Originally Posted by Polwart
But then you are back to relying on someone else's judgement again (who tested the candidate when they were fully expecting it, in probably artificial circumstances, around a relatively predictable range of possibilities - such is the nature of exams, that you can learn/train to pass them).
Fair point, but my experience of powerboat trainers and advanced examiners is that they are normally extremely well qualified, and judge who they’re examining very fairly.
With reference to my previous post, I'll give you some of the examples of stupidity I've come across over the course of this summer. Some were working for me, some were at other charter companies:
-2 stroke oil put in a 4-stroke outboard
-4 stroke oil put in a 2-stroke outboard (oil bottle was later found in a locker on the boat, it even had a photo of a moped on it)
-boat run with bilge (and I don't just mean the bilge well) full of water (someone hadn't put the bung back in the bilge-well.) If a boat feels sluggish would you not look behind you to see if there was any water in there. Result was about £200 of fuel being used on a short job.
-Skipper couldn't start boat, asks for advice. "Is there fuel in the boat" I asked - they confirm there is definitely fuel in the boat and they've primed the engine. I drive 50 mile round trip to go and investigate the problem only to discover there is no fuel in the tank; switch to spare tank, prime bulb, engine starts. Skipper couldn't tell the difference between a priming bulb that was pumping air instead of fuel (fuel gauge was also reading empty but I can forgive that as the gauge was as reliable as, well, the skipper.)
-Skipper told not to trim the engine up in the chop. Skipper trimmed engine right up in the chop, saddle bracket broke, engine left dangling by assorted hoses/cables.
-Skipper tied hard boat to harbour wall with bow line at high tide, tide went down, boat didn’t. Boat found at 90 degrees with outboard underwater.
This ones not so relevant as it could have been anyone really, but is probably the best one so I'll put it anyway -Commercial skipper/instructor borrows boat off duty. Brings boat back drunk in the dark, and runs out of fuel. Anchors, calls coastguard for assistance. Decides he's going swimming to pass the time until the lifeboat arrives. Safety first.
All of these incidents happened as a result, in my opinion, because of the incompetence of the skipper. Of course, we all have a bad day sometimes and make mistakes (buy me a drink and I'll tell you a story involving a jaffa, a denim skirt and an Isle of Wight ferry), but I think when you are supposed to have an advanced ticket or are a PBI, knowing the difference between things like 2 or 4 stroke oil is fairly fundamental.