Instructors saftey standards

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Seanie
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Instructors saftey standards

Post by Seanie » Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:05 pm

I was watching the episode of Nationwide with the IFS segment on it. Before the IFS bit there was a bit with a guy who runs a company running canoe trips. I was interested in it so I checked out his website.

There were loads of pictures of kids and adults running weirs in open canoes without helmets.
http://www.gowiththeflow.ie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYCwUoMTh9E[/video]

My question is this, can the ICU or the TDU do anything about this sort of thing?
Has an instructor ever been cautioned or stripped of their qualifications because of unsafe behaviour?

How do the BCU handle this sort of thing?

Adrians
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by Adrians » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:24 pm

Seanie,

Talk about a

Image

topic.... but is interesting no the less.


I would just like to make a comment on the footage that was shown on Nationwide from "Go with the flow", the instructor with the Blue Dry Suit and Sweet lid is Patrick Mc Cormack and is a qualified / experienced & talented open boater.

He runs his own company Irishcanoekayak and was just with go with the flow for that day.

As for the questions you asked Seanie... I might dip my toe in this one later on.

Adrian

dave f
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by dave f » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:35 pm

Hey Guys,

Adrian is right this is a can of worms. I'm not going to debate the rights or wrongs of this, it's pretty self evident. But I will say that for a company doing this, I would say this was extremely dicey from a legal and insurance point of view. Anyone who read the MCIB report on the Gaddagh tragedy will know that one of the key investigation points was if the party followed established best practice. In the video above, they didn't. Therefore this firm could find itself without insurance protection in the event of any incident...not to mention the risk of law suit.

Bottom line, it's one thing for us to break the rules when we are responsible for ourselves...we can make an informed choice. It's a completely different situation when you're responsible for others, e.g. teaching someone to paddle or leading them on a river trip or splash & dash day out. When you are leading others you have a duty of care to look after their best interests from the moment they get on the water to the moment they get off.

As for the ICU/TDU...I doubt they get involved unless some complaint is brought to them formally. Might be worth asking Benny or Conor their opinion on this!

My two cents worth


Thanks for reading!


Dave 8-) :P

Adrians
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by Adrians » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:32 am

Right Oh,


Since I have a bit of time before after work boating in Wicklow this evening said I'd dip my toe in this one.

As far as I understand it the ICU the National Governing Body of of the sport and in turn the TDU (training & development unit) set out the guidelines that are best practice for instruction for paddle sport in Ireland.

In theory you would only have to operate to these standards if you are operating as an ICU instructor or running and ICU course. The standards laid out by the TDU currently have no place in law / legislation, so by not following them you are not breaking any laws.

The kick comes in if you were to operate outside these guidelines and if you were to have an incident of some sort be it major/minor.If this ended up in front of a court / board of enquiry the very first thing they would have done was contact the NGB and see were you following best practice..... And if you weren't following what is accepted best practice you may be open to criminal prosecution.

There are lots of "if & buts in" this situation. And until there was a well publicised test case tried like this it is always hard to guess to guess the outcome.

Another factor to consider is that of Insurance. I recently have gone into the commercial course set up and in getting my self covered found out that it clearly states in my policy that I must follow guidelines laid out by the Irish Canoe Union. I'm not sure but operating a commercial venture without appropriate insurance cover in Ireland is illegal?


As for "Go with the Flow" I won't comment on their set up without the Man being here to defend / explain himself. But it is evident form the video above that "best practice" is not being followed.



Apologies for the uber long post.



Adrian

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Seanie
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by Seanie » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:57 am

Seanie wrote:My question is this, can the ICU or the TDU do anything about this sort of thing?
Has an instructor ever been cautioned or stripped of their qualifications because of unsafe behaviour?

How do the BCU handle this sort of thing?

Conor Ryan
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by Conor Ryan » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:56 am

For the record I have informed the company operator that his practice of running clients/students down weirs and whitewater does not comply with ICU guidelines and the link to his website was removed from ICU website. It is worth noting however that on the piece shown on TV that all participants were wearing helmets when going over the weirs.
Conor Ryan
Training Officer

The Portage King
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by The Portage King » Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:26 am

Can of Worms in a Can of Worms ??? ;)

Is running gentle weirs in an open canoe without a helmet any safer of more dangerous than sliding down a ramp and flying through the air to land on flat water... or indeed racing side by side down narrow grade 4 sections of whitewater ??

All three would have been deemed a bit reckless in my day but at least two of those now appear acceptable...

Fire at will!!! :)

lorcanon
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by lorcanon » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:24 am

There's one important difference. Someone flying down a ramp or racing on grade 4 water are (or should be) aware that what they're doing is risky. Someone being led down a weir by a more experienced paddler (or instructor) is putting their trust in someone else to keep them safe.
Lorcan

The Portage King
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by The Portage King » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:48 am

Fair Point Lorcanon...

However the point I was trying to get across is that these sorts of events are now run by clubs and therefore, presumably sanctioned by the ICU, albeit indirectly.

paddymcc
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by paddymcc » Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:07 am

I was their the day the Nation wide piece was shot and my job was simple take the camera man down the river and keep him dry and get the shots he needed which I did and I do nnot work for Go With The Flow I oporate my own company, this topic is opening a big can of worms, The insurance thing that people are bringing up is not valid as who knows what a private companies insurace policy consists of their are many different things that can happen as regards policies and regulations, Photos are Photos and to be honest In open boats helmets are not compulsory and You may find lots of people paddling open boats dont wear them at all this may have changed recently but to my knowledge helmets are not compulsory and to note go with the flow now do wear helmets on the river.. Their is a difference between kayaking and open boating and the grades of wtaer which they happen on. K boat racers going down wiers dont wear helmets! Should the ICU change this? Sea kayakers dont wear helmets but may have to land in big surf on a rock beach should they wear helmets?
I can understand that looking in from the outside of a different aspect of paddle sports things may seem strange but sure why not give open boating a try before you start to pick at certain things such as wearing helmets. I do for the record make my students and clients wear helmets but this is for insurance reasons and just to keep it all extra safe, Their is a time and place for certain things.
If ya fancy trying some open boating though give me a shout ill give ye a good taste of the good life :P

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Seanie
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by Seanie » Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:01 am

"Photos are Photos" ... what is that suppose to mean?... rocks are rocks and trees are trees!! :D

Paddy, I wasn't talking about racers or insurance, I was talking about customers, which appear to be kids for the most part. I'll expand on what I was getting at, DUTY OF CARE. Is an instructor or "a guide" taking kids and novices down a weir without helmets meeting the duty of care required?

I don't think it does, and ICU guidelines are in line with this. I also think the use of bicycle helmets in some of the photos speak volumes about this company. And I don't think I'm looking from the outside in, I have tried canoeing, in Canada and the people I paddled with all wear helmets on moving water.

But I didn't want to speak in specifics just about this company, I wanted to know how the ICU dealt with this sort of thing and Conor outlined that he communicated with the company, etc. Cheers for that.

tiernan
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by tiernan » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:52 am

Their is a difference between kayaking and open boating and the grades of wtaer which they happen on. K boat racers going down wiers dont wear helmets! Should the ICU change this? Sea kayakers dont wear helmets but may have to land in big surf on a rock beach should they wear helmets?
My answer to this is Yes and Yes...

Could some one explain why this is "Opening A big can of worms" ????

Is this a common open canoe occurrence? For both paddlers and customers?

The majority of the time i've seen a helmet is action is when unsuspecting paddlers slip at get ins/outs of rivers. Are open canoe paddlers immune to this element of gravity?

I've heard arguments for and against the LBT, feather of paddles and how to roll (a kayak), never thought i'd see anyone try to justify not wearing a helmet. After a comfort factor (which can be solved easily by getting a comfortable helmet) i cant see any reason why canoe/ seakayak/ K boaters dont wear helmets.

My 2 C

Tiernan

p.s. still would like to know how this is opening a can of worms!

Adrians
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Re: Instructors saftey standards

Post by Adrians » Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:27 pm

Hi Tiernan,

Well the reason I made the can of worms remark at the start is fairly straight forward. Firstly I am against the trial by internet forum type thing situation, especially when it concerns some ones business / lively hood. The situation of safety standards is a big big grey area, as I said the ICU is the NGB of the sport but its guide lines & awards scheme have no place in law.

So while it is fantastic that practically everyone working in the industry accepts & follows the ICU recommendations, if for some reason centres , guides etc decided to do their own thing they would not be breaking any laws.

To the best of my knowledge the Health and Safety Authority has yet to ventured into the world of outdoor education to any great extent, and until this happens we will have an unregulated industry that exists today. We are lucky to the Irish industry is more often than no very well self regulated.

- of course if an incident were to occur it would be back to the "best practice" situation that I mentioned above.


As for the comment re helmets and what disciplines should wear them where nessary, I'd be 100% with Tiernan on that they should always be worn. Personally I would do without my PFD before my helmet. ( hypothetically speaking that is, as you should always wear the correct PPE)


Adrian

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