Massachusetts proposed bill to promote litigation in kayaking

Wednesday, 23 July 2008
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James Moss over at the Recreation Law Blog has posted another great article about the proposed bill currently in front of the Massachusetts legislatures...

James Moss over at the Recreation Law Blog has posted another great article about the proposed bill currently in front of the Massachusetts legislatures.

According to James, the bill is rife with poor recommendations and inaccuracies. Here is an example of a quote by bill sponsor, Rep. William M. Straus, "beginners are most at risk when they are fully strapped into a kayak...."

Hmmm

If the bill passes, kayaking schools will be required to teach wet exits as well requiring certification including first aid, CPR training, certification from the American Canoe Association and water rescue certification from the American Red Cross.

On the surface, it all sounds like a good idea. For some schools, it might mean the staff will need to get certified. That's a good thing right? From a different perspective of looking at it, maybe not.

James makes several interesting points as to why he feels that the bill is a huge mistake:

"[This bill] ...will create lawsuits. We now have rules that will give anyone injured kayaking the opportunity to start a lawsuit. The first aid card of the instructor was out of date, the class did not fully cover wet exiting, the ACA certified instructor left the class for a minute and the non-ACA certified assistant was the only person there. I was not taught correctly therefore I can sue.

We will also have more government regulation. We have a state agency sticking their nose into kayaking schools and telling them how to do things. Again, another group of people who know nothing about what they are talking about, telling someone else how to do it."

It really makes for some great reading. Thanks James!

More info: Recreation Law

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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