Typically kayaking can be viewed as a relaxing experience, washing away the stress of the day including your boss (or kids) yelling at you.

Sadly it looks like it might have had the opposite effect on a gentleman from Westfield, Massachusetts who, according to court records pleaded not guilty to a host of charges (including attempted murder) after he allegedly attacked another man with a kayak paddle and held his head underwater. All while out kayak fishing one evening.

Wait, what?

Published in General News

Jim Moss from the highly educational Recreational Law Blog posted an internal memo that was sent out to all OEC Instructors. Hopefully it's not real!

To: All OEC Instructors
From: Nat OEC Program Director
Subject: Training Practices
Date: 9/19/11

It has been brought to my attention that during some of the refreshers being held this year, individuals are being injured as a result of two much enthusiasm being projected during practical exercises. This is not acceptable. We need to insure that during the practical exercises, the students demonstrate that they know how to perform the skills but not to the extent that their volunteer patients sustain real life injuries.

A few examples would be:
Don't perform real CPR on a pretend patient
Don't tighten a tourniquet on a pretend patient
Don't apply tension when demonstrating the Posterior SV dislocation reduction on a pretend patient...

You can read the rest of the memo over at the Recreational Law Blog.

Flickr Photo Credit: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License by las - initially

Published in Business

What, are we in grade 5 now?

Barry Richardson of Madison, Wisconsin was arrested recently for disorderly conduct when he tried to impress the girls at the beach by swimming out and dumping a non-swimming canoeist into the lake.

A 61-year-old man (who couldn’t swim) and his son were paddling in separate canoes coming back in towards shore. They were about 15 feet from the beach when Barry Richardson decided to jump into the water fully clothed and help the older gentleman out. In the confusion he dumped the canoe over and the gentleman started to panic when he couldn’t touch bottom. Thank goodness he was wearing a properly fitting PFD.

[blockquote]The suspect told police he grabbed the victim's canoe but didn't mean to topple the canoeist into Lake Mendota.

When the son saw his panicked dad trying to get out of the water, he jumped in and confronted the suspect as he got out of the lake.

"The suspect said it was just a funny prank and offered to buy both a drink," DeSpain said. "Socializing with the man who just sent his father into deep water was not what the son had in mind."

Instead, the son pushed the suspect to the ground and waited for police.[/blockquote]

What a jerk.

You can read the full story here.

Flickr Photo Credit: Pulling Dad from his sinking canoe / Ryan Brooks / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Published in General News

Palm Equipment LogoHere is a quick tip to business owners out there. If you are thinking of sacking one of your staff do it at the end of the day and watch them like a hawk until they are out the door.

Something happened at Palm Equipment this past winter and Lewis Day found himself getting called into the boss’s office where he was told that his time at Palm was done.

Somehow he was able to ship two packages to a friends house (on the companies courier account btw). The packages contained approximately 12 dry suits.

His super genius plan was foiled when somebody noticed that the eBay market was flooded with new suits and notified Palm; but not after £3,189 of gear was sold-off.

Palm was able to trace the missing gear back to the fired staff after checking through their shipping manifests and discovering the shipments with no payments received.

Police quickly tracked Lewis Day down and this week he was given a 12-month community sentence including 240 hours of volunteer work. He also ordered to pay back £2,023 in compensation and £85 in costs.

Full story: thewestonmercury.co.uk

Published in Industry Stuff

Somehow this doesn’t surprise me at all.

Last week Oregon State Police arrested a man from Wyoming after discovering 95 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle. A large part of the $380,000 worth of pot was stored in duffels in the trunk but of course a large amount was stored (you guess it), in the bow of his kayak up on the roof.

The dogs found the stash in his boat...

You can read the full article here.

Photo credit: Oregon State Police

Published in General News

In this Saturday, May 21, 2011 photo, Bruce Crawford and Grace Nash pass out water safety brochures at the International Cuisine Festival in Painesville, Ohio. Photo Credit: AP Photo/The News-Herald, Michael Allen Blair

An Ohio couple got in trouble last month after they decided to raft down a flood-swollen river without PFD’s on. They compounded the problem when they lied to officials when they were found hours later.

They pleaded guilty to misdemeanour misconduct during an emergency and the judge gave them their choice of punishment. They could either spend 60 days in jail or stand in a tiny swimming pool while wearing life jackets and hand out water safety brochures at a local festival. You can guess which option they choose.

They told the local paper who interviewed them that they had learned their lesson.

Photo credit: AP Photo/The News-Herald, Michael Allen Blair

Published in Funny

Transport Canada LogoOf course my prediction yesterday was way off but the announcement was great news non-the-less for canoe and kayak instructor/guides across Canada.

Today in Calgary, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Chuck Strahl announced that effective immediately canoes, kayaks and small sailing vessels will be exempt from commercial vessel registration. This is good news for both non-profit and commercial operators.

According to the press release on the announcement:

Owners of human-powered vessels, such as canoes, kayaks and small sailing vessels, as well as small vessels with motors less than 7.5 kilowatts (10 horsepower) will not have to register their craft with Transport Canada.

"We do not believe Canadian boaters should face onerous regulations to go canoeing and kayaking, which is why registration requirements for all human-powered vessels, small sailing vessels and small motorized vessels will not be required," said Minister Strahl.

This registration will continue to be required for commercial river rafts, government vessels and for any vessels where registration is necessary for safety reasons.

The other new small vessel regulations are still in effect which we have talked about before a couple of times.

This is great news. I will post more updates as I get them.

Update: Tony Palmer, friend of the site and owner of the Calgary paddling shop Undercurrents, was there at the announcement and was able to have a quick conversation with the Minister after the announcement and specifically mentioned that it was the well reasoned emails that really caused the change. Way to go to all of "us"!

Published in Issues

I just got word that Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Chuck Strahl will be in Calgary on Thursday, March 17, 2011 to make an announcement related to small vessel regulations and canoe/kayak registration.

There is no word on what the announcement could be but as somebody who loves to follow Apple product rumours and personally making poor predictions as to what the iPhone 5 will feature, I’m going to go out in a limb and give an educated guess.

Here it is: I predict that they are going to announce a freeze in the implementation of the new regulations across the board while Transport Canada is tasked to amend the regulations to make them clearer for everbody.

Here are my reasons why I think this will happen:

  1. We all know there is a pretty much a 100% chance that an election will take place this spring and I will guess a conversation took place in the Minister office along the lines of this:

“Sir, the press are asking questions about people not being allowed to go canoeing this summer!”

“Oh no, tell them that isn’t our intention. We love people out paddling.”

“But Sir, we have an election coming up. What if it becomes an issue and somebody starts asking questions at one of our town hall meetings along the election trail?”

“Yikes! Ok, freeze the whole thing. We will sort it out after the election.”

  1. The Minister addressed the issue to the press back on February 24th. At the time he mentioned fixing the “ambiguous legislation” and it was never the intention that Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and other non-profit groups get caught up in the commercial regulations.

That was only three weeks ago. If they are making an announcement this fast, there is no way they would have been able to make the significant changes required to clear the confusion and controversy surrounding the regulations. Maybe but highly unlikely.

The only other possible announcement that I can see is that they will exempt Girl Guides and Scouts from the regulations and vessel registration. That would be fairly easy to implement as they could make an amendment to exempt the two groups from it. The only problem with specifically exempting them only is that it doesn’t really address the perception that joe public, church or non-profit youth groups will be forced to register before going out on a camping trip.

In an election year, public perception has soured election results in the past and keeping everybody happy really is the key. Between now and ballot day you can bet that everyone will be walking on egg shells and it’s much easier just to put a freeze on it for now and sort it out later.

Could I be wrong? Probably, we will see tomorrow but to not guess would take the fun out of it!


Update: Did Canada's Minister of Industry, Tony Clement hint to MooseFM today that the whole thing is dead in the water? Maybe. Though 99.5 MooseFM isn't exactly known for their hard hitting investigative journalism, there is a quick snippet of an interview he did on local television recently. He says that nothing is going to go through and the regulations are all going to change.

Published in Issues

Back in the fall of 2010 Transport Canada formally released an update to their small vessel regulations which; for the first time in a long time impacts canoe and kayaks.

Transport Canada Logo

The most controversial element of the new regulations centers around the idea that any type of paid or volunteer leadership on the water (including teaching or guiding) is now deemed as a commercial venture. This, "Guided Excursion" means that your canoe or kayak now falls under the commercial regulations for small vessels which includes commercial vessel registration.

I will be honest with you. Since the announcement I have seen some of the most ridiculous posts by people on canoeing forums. Post by people who know nothing about the regulations but still very willing to tell the world how Paddle Canada and Transport Canada are destroying our canoeing heritage.

I will admit that when Transport Canada announced the changes there were lots of questions to be answered as the regulations are very vague and open to a lot of interpretation. To help understand them better I worked with several other Paddle Canada Program Development Committee volunteers to go through and sort out what everything means. It took a while to sort through which included many, many calls and emails with Transport Canada representatives but I think we created a good summary document with an FAQ that is posted on the Paddle Canada website.

Even though there is still some uncertainty about some areas here is what I know for sure:

Published in Issues

Simpsons Lawyer

This is the type of thing that brings my blood to a boil quick.

The lawyer for a man ticketed after his power boat hit a kayak on Lake George, New York, killing the kayaker, is asking that the charge be dismissed because the state navigation law doesn't apply to kayaks.

The lawyer is arguing that the operator isn't responsible because kayaks are not specifically mentioned in the regulations and thus not entitled to the right of way that sailboats have. Of course the Assistant District Attorney disagrees.

The full story is here.

Published in General News
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