Education - not legislation
Firstly, it has not yet been made clear whether during the tragic incident in Padstow the kill-cord was or not deployed - switch and other failures are not unknown.
However, in the wider context of making any water activity safer, this is a debate which is likely to rumble on.
If compulsory, how on earth is it to be policed and enforced - and it will add significant costs to the sport to cover administration, bureaucracy and so forth. How on earth are all existing powerboat owners to be incorporated - can they even be identified? Training should impact the way people think and act, however, it will still NOT prevent such tragic incidents occuring - just look at the various Road Traffic Acts for a comparison. These factors are likely to have a negative effect on the development of this sporting sector
If Voluntary, more likley that participants will take pride in their skills and knowledge, and ownership of their vessel, and show greater responsibility, respect and understanding for other water users.
A different tack may be for local harbour byelaws to be amended such that certificates of competence to be produced as well as insurance proof before any vessel allowed to be slipped/craned-in/allocated a mooring etc. Insurers could subscribe too.
Current powerboat training is carried out in the UK by the RYA to a standard dictated/approved by the MCA, who would seem not to see a need for compulsory training or it would have insisted on such measures before now.
With compulsory legislation, bottom line could still be this - get your PB2 on a RIB with 25hp on the back - then buy an 8m RIB with 300hp with NO additional training in how to handle additional power and corresponding boat handling skills. Take your mates out for a "drive" - no lifekackets, no kill cord - tragic accident waiting to happen. How does legislation help?
As an RNLI Sea Safety Advisor and an RYA Powerboat Instructor, it is depressing to see so many with such a cavalier attitude to safety, risk and responsibility. It is this which must change - people's attitudes.