I read Mr. R. Tibbetts Dec. 3 letter with great interest. As a retired Coastie (Coast Guardsman), I've responded to and seen many boating accidents, one type of which Mr. Tibbetts refers to that is called "bow riding."
When a vessel is anchored, yes, go ahead and sit wherever you can. But when a vessel is underway, nobody, not children or even adults, should be bow riding. It's just way too easy to slip over the side and get run over by the props, even with a bow rail.
And, if you're a boater, we all know how some people operate out there, not giving a tinker's damn about their wake and just simple common courtesy let alone "The Rules of the Road."
One of the most horrific accidents involving boats that I saw was when I was stationed in Miami. Two vessels, in broad daylight, collided bow to bow, shearing along their port sides. On one vessel a young girl of 14 or 15 was bow riding with her legs over the side. Her legs were caught between the two vessels, and the result was one leg almost completely torn off below the knee and the other mangled almost beyond recognition.
Recreational boating is just that, recreation, and Coasties keep that in mind always. But if they see someone operating with unsafe conditions aboard or in an unsafe manner, you bet they will check it out to make sure everyone onboard is safe so that you can truly enjoy the day on the water without anyone getting hurt or worse.
Be safe out there. If something happens, unlike a vehicle, you don't get out and walk to the nearest gas station or store for a phone.