Quick Update on the Massachusetts Kayak Safety and Instructor Bill. The ACA Responds [Law Stuff]

Wednesday, 25 November 2009
American Canoe Association LogoA quick update to the post from late last week which generated some really though provoking comments related to the new Massachusetts Kayak Safety that is currently at committee review.

The American Canoe Association was very kind to send me a copy of the letter that they sent to the members of the House of Representatives in Massachusetts with their comments on Senate Bill 974.

Here is the opening paragraph:
[blockquote]The American Canoe Association applauds the efforts of the Massachusetts Legislature to increase paddlesport safety. However, several elements of S.974 concern us because they are inconsistent with the U.S. Coast Guard regulations and unfair to paddlers. Although the ACA is mentioned in this bill, we were not consulted on its language, and we do not endorse the bill.[/blockquote]

Their key concerns the have centre around the following themes:
  • The bill will be inconsistent with the U.S. Coast Guard regulations on life jacket wear.
  • The life jacket requirement unfairly targets kayakers.
  • The new requirement of wet exit training for all kayak courses. The ACA feels that their certified instructors are able to make sound judgements in regards to appropriate course content. They do note that on several of their courses, wet exit training is already a requirement.
  • Their concern that they are specifically mentioned in the bill and suggest that there are other good certifying bodies like the BCU that should be recognized under the “equivalent water training” provision.

I have attached the letter  here for your reading pleasure.

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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