Many years ago, I obtained a very slender volume about "seamanship". Unlike, say, Chapman's, it wasn't intended to exhaustively cover all elements and phases of the topic, but just give the most basic, elementary notion of what seamanship involves--which is not getting you and your boat into trouble. Don't let your boat run aground or crash into things. Don't let it catch fire. Be careful about having holes in the hull. Know (always) where you are. Keep an eye on the weather and the weather forecast. Avoid sea conditions that seriously threaten your boat. And if you find yourself in those conditions, how to get out of them, or to survive them. And so on--basically, Don't Screw Up. The basic premise was that the idea of seamanship, of boating, of being a mariner, was to get from place to place on water, or to just go out and have fun, but to do it in a way that minimized risk of boat, life and limb. Refreshing idea!
This ties in with my notion of sea kayaking being the most basic and primitive form of marine boating, and the kind that is closest to the fine line between safety and danger. But the activity is very often presented as yet another way in which the supreme individualist can pit him/herself against the elements or against their own limits, or whatever--all very romantic and 19th-century. The result is going to be a certain number of deaths, hospitalizations, search-and-rescue episodes--and the resulting tales, in SK and elsewhere. I'm prepared to accept the deaths, etc.; the question, as Doug suggests, is to what degree is law enforcement prepared to allow/tolerate a continuing stream of clearly preventable "accidents" on the water, without taking action to curtail the activity?