I've been monitoring various 'threads' on our website chat forums...

I?ve been monitoring various ?threads? on our website chat forums ( www.mby.com/forums ) recently on the subject of acceptable behaviour. Specifically, about the behaviour of PWC riders, but also concerning Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who shot two burglars, one fatally.

The consensus of opinion is that it is perfectly acceptable to kill someone if they are trying to steal your VCR, and that it is perfectly acceptable to attempt to injure or kill someone who might pose a threat to the integrity of your gel-coat or who is doing something you don?t like.

Apparently, some of our readers genuinely feel this way. And that?s okay. I personally don?t share their feelings, but we?re all entitled to our opinions. What does concern me, however, is the increasingly loud call for PWCs to be banned or legislated against. Traditionally, it has been the sailing fraternity that has called for bans, compulsory licensing, registration and so on for PWCs (and motor boats too). But now a significant section of the motorboating world is taking up the rallying cry: ?Stop this PWC menace!? It seems that everyone has a story to tell of antisocial PWC users spoiling it for the rest of us.

But before we start shouting too loudly, maybe we should consider the knock-on effect that anti-PWC legislation might have. After all, some RIB owners are pretty damn antisocial at times, as are speedboaters. And before long, we?re all being
registered, licensed, taxed and banned, even though we know that licensing and
registration hasn?t eliminated bad behaviour on our roads.

The fact is, the vast majority of PWC users are sensible, considerate and law-abiding people who merely want to enjoy the water in a more up-close-and-personal way than the rest of us. In my experience, the worst behaviour comes from those who aren?t actually PWCers at all ? they?re people off large motor boats who have got one in the tender garage as a toy, or they?re people having a go on a mate?s just for a bit of fun. I?ve sat in anchorages, from the Channel Islands to the Balearics to the Caribbean, and watched big motor boats unload a PWC, which has then wanged round for hours, annoying the hell out of everyone else. All the ?real? PWC users I know ? and having spent several years as the editor of a PWC magazine, I know a few ? prefer to have their fun a long way from crowded beaches and busy anchorages.

Ultimately, no amount of legislation will stop inconsiderate people behaving inconsiderately. We should remember that or we might find ourselves losing the liberties we currently take for granted.