How do you describe your on water programs? Are the described as safe?

Thursday, 03 July 2008
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James Moss who runs the Recreation Law Blog posted a really interesting article yesterday where he looked at the lawsuit between Robert and Patricia Rizas and Vail Resorts, Grand Teton Lodge Company and Tauck Inc.  They are suing for loss of income, earnings, medical expenses, pain and suffering and physical disability and loss of enjoyment of life and hoping for punitive damages from a rafting accident that occurred back in 2006 where three people died...

James Moss who runs the Recreation Law Blog posted a really interesting article yesterday where he looked at the lawsuit between Robert and Patricia Rizas and Vail Resorts, Grand Teton Lodge Company and Tauck Inc.  They are suing for loss of income, earnings, medical expenses, pain and suffering and physical disability and loss of enjoyment of life and hoping for punitive damages from a rafting accident that occurred back in 2006 where three people died.

The article looks the case and breaks down their major arguments. One of the cornerstone arguments in the case is that the trip was described to them as a "safe" trip with a "serene float through magnificent mountain scenery". In fact at the time, the water levels were very high.

Below is an interesting quote on his opinion on the use of the word "Safe" when used to describe your programs:

When people hear the word safe it is not a word that brings up a comparison of how safe, but to most people means absolutely risk free. So when any person, website or brochure states an activity is safe, that activity is risk free. Families take safe trips, they do not take dangerous ones. Fathers and mothers do not take their kids on risky activities.

Yet safe is a relative term. The most dangerous place in the US is the home bathroom. It is more dangerous, in most cases, to drive to the river than to raft the river. Although who knows based on the description of the shuttle ride in this case.

However here, the defendants are going to have an uphill battle if the statements are proven that the river trip is safe. People were injured, people died and people did not have a good time, therefore the river trip was not safe.

Safe is not a word that you should use in any communication with a possible client. Life is not safe.

More info: Recreation Law Blog

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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