There's no doubt that moving to the new system has required a lot of compromise and readjustment. Both commercial and non-commercial boaters had to cede important points under the current plan. And so varying degrees of disapointment in the new system are inevitable. But private boaters now have more than double the number of launches available, and I think that for the private boating community as a whole, that is a tremendous improvement.
In putting this system together, the Park had to satisfy a large number of constituencies with widely varying interests and influence. Tough job. But it may be helpful for us to take the long view here -- beyond the doubled number of launches. Last month's lottery awarded less than 200 launches, with about 2,600 applicants. Once the five years pass (in which the residual transitional launches were awarded) a total of 503 launches will be lotteried -- greatly increasing the chance to get a trip.
Fact is, nobody really knows what the actual demand for trips will be after this all settles down. So it's just as possible that the long-run outcome may be that once current demand has stabilized, the odds will be even better then than now.
Leftovers and cancellations will be handled by secondary lottery drawings -- and possibly for very short cancellations -- a call-in system.
As I understand the system, when you go on a trip (either commercial or private), your chances are re-set to one for the next lottery.
To kind of summarize, there are a lot of moving parts to the new system, and it can be confusing. But I think that a doubling of private launches and a system that focuses on awarding real launches to real people who are really ready to do a trip in the coming year, is better than the old way of awarding a much smaller number of launches from a waiting list that no-one really believed represented actual demand.
Best to you.