MA proposed stupid bill to promote litigation in kayakingPosted: July 24, 2008 Filed under: Paddlesports | Tags: American Red Cross, Business, Kayak, Massachusetts, Organizations, Sea kayak 4 Comments
I always love it when people who have no idea what they are talking about, tell others how to do something. I’m not talking about tourists at Devils Tower
Monument; in this case I’m talking the Massachusetts‘s legislation and how to teach sea kayaking.
Want proof? This was reported as testimony before a legislative committee.
Rep. William M. Straus, D-Mattapoisett is the sponsor of the bill and author of the quote above. As a member of the board of directors of the Trade Association of Paddlesports (but speaking for myself) and a boater for 45 years, I’ve never seen a kayak that I was “strapped into” fully or not fully.
The Massachusetts legislation is proposing that kayaking schools must teach someone how to wet exit.
That is as dumb as it sounds!
The idea is based on, of course, a grieving family person, who is guessing that there relative died when he could not wet exit from his overturned boat. So we need to make sure no one else suffers that same fate, I guess.
First off, no reports show how or why the person died. But that does not matter, the legislature needs to act.
What’s worse is the witness reports about the accident state he victim was upright when he died, that he had rolled back up. Kayak student drowns off West Island. Consequently the new law about teaching wet exiting is not even based on events the law attempts to cure.
Things get worse. A kayak instructor would have to have the following to teach kayaking:
- First aid training approved by the MA Department of Public Health
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training approved by the MA Department of Public Health
- Certification from the American Canoe Association
- Water rescue certification from the American Red Cross.
Is this measure going to save a life? No. What this measure will do is three things.
First it will make the widow feel better. She will feel like she has done something to keep someone from dying. She will feel like her husband did not die in vain. Our loved ones are not allowed to die without a cause or accomplishment in the US we must go out with either a bang or a legacy.
Second it 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 The first aid card of the instructor was out of date, the class did not fully cover wet exiting, the ACA certified instructor left the class for a minute and the non-ACA certified assistant was the only person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.
Third 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. This blog seems to be coming around full circle: People with no clue telling those with the necessary education and experience how to do something.
See House endorses kayak wet-exit training
Dependent upon the kayak and body type, about 50% of people can fall out of a kayak when it is upside down by just wiggling. The issue is not learning how to wet exit, it is stupidly simple. The issue is the legislature does not understand the issues and is trying to impose laws on stuff they don’t understand.
As a student, I feel safer knowing how to wet exit. I don’t see what the problem is.
I contacted the Trade Association of Paddlesports, but I think you are right, that I’ll send them a note.>>Thanks
Interestingly, in order to be officially teaching under an ACA certification, an instructor must have both current first aid and CPR certifications. The ACA certifications themselves contain rescue elements appropriate to the activity (e.g. river kayak, whitewater canoe, sea kayak, etc.). I’m certain that ACA’s Safety, Education and Instruction Office would be happy to work to better inform the MA legistaure on this issue.