I understand the emotions and concerns, but this law would create a nightmare for Search & Rescue, Fire & Law Enforcement.

If my adventures don’t include some type of “potentially life-threatening distress” I’m not having fun. SAR and EMS would follow me around just to cut down on phone calls.

A man died this summer when his “friends” allowed him to drown and disappeared. See Forrest Fenn treasure hunter Eric Ashby missing after rafting accident. Basically, a photographer saw the man in distress and did not report the issue. The friends of the man in his raft did not report him missing for ten days. His body was eventually found.

I’ve worked that section of the Arkansas River for fifteen years as a raft guide. That photographer on the bank, if the one identified in the article, sees hundreds of people in distress every day. They get pulled out of the river and continue rafting. A large percentage of the people are guides.

The photographer is looking upstream; the rescues occur downstream. The photographer is doing his job. On top of that, there is no cell phone coverage where the photographer is.

So, a group of the deceased friends are attempting to make a law requiring you to call 911 if you see someone “potentially life-threatening distress” you would have a duty to report it. See Eric’s Law: Friends of missing man seek legislation.

First off, your definition of life-threatening distress, my definition and the little old lady down the block are vastly different. People in my neighborhood send out emergency notices if they see a snake on the sidewalk. For them that is life threatening. (You should read my response to those posts……..)

In those situation’s Search and Rescue (SAR), Fire, Ambulances and law enforcement would be constantly chasing bad complaints.

The last thing I need is someone not understanding what I am doing calling in someone to yell at me for doing it because I’m stressing the idiot watching me.

I understand how frustrating it must be to lose a friend and believe someone saw them at a time when they could have been saved. Even so, it could have been saved is as nebulous as it gets, and it can only get worse. So there are a lot of flaws in this entire idea.

It has been long established in the law that there is no duty to rescue. Consequently, there is no duty to call 911. I still remember reading about that issue in law school. As an Eagle Scout and former EMT, that sort of bothered me. However, reading the case law, it made a lot of sense. As I’ve “grown” in this area of the law, I not only understand it more, I support it.

There is a duty to rescue if you are the person who put the person in peril. So a commercial raft guide has a duty to rescue people in his boat. A non-commercial guide may have a duty to rescue if he intentionally knocked someone out of his boat.

There are also some duties to rescue in some states. Spouses may have a duty to rescue the other spouse; Parents should rescue their children; common carriers have a duty to rescue their passengers,

There are several states that have an implied duty to rescue because they have created Good Samaritan laws for the people who call 911.

However, overall there is no requirement to call 911. Nor other than an isolated incident every decade, is there a need for such a law. 911 is inundated with calls as it is and rarely is a rescue required.

And the other issue underlying this entire discussion. Searching for Treasure!

And as far as searching for treasure; There are people wanting to stop that too! What idiots. Let me die having fun, doing the thing I want to do. If I don’t have the training and experience to get myself, home, that is my problem; Not the person who created the treasure hunt.

The western hemisphere was discovered because of treasure hunters. The US was founded based on looking for treasure. It is the very nature of our existence.

Quit allowing people to tell you to have fun, requiring you to have fun only their way and trying to get you arrested when you do have fun.

Pay attention to your state legislatures this year, if you want to continue in the outdoor recreation industry without the burdens, others would like to place on you.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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By Recreation Law    Rec-law@recreation-law.com    James H. Moss

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