Re: Whitewater rafting and liability waivers
The Hollisters (jastl@SLIP.NET)
Sun, 8 Feb 1998 12:33:36 -0800
Rickey Steverson wrote:
> Was daydreaming about major fun things for the scouts in my troop. Thinking of a
> whitewater trip to Chattooga River in NE Georgia, and a bundle of questions came up.
> First, do you have to use a "offical" rafting outfitter? I mean one that is somehow
> sanctioned by BSA or something to that effect. If so, is there a way to find who they
> may be?
> I know of a handful of commerical outfitters on this river, but is there any Scout
> councils offering raft trips for Scouts outside of the typical summercamp setup?
> And lastly, have I lost my mind? Hey, this is a BIG outing!
This topic reminds me of a problem I had last year with our troop's
whitewater rafting trip. The waiver they wanted us to sign was one of
the worst I've ever seen. It absolved the company of liability for
everything INCLUDING their own negligence, failure to call for emergency
medical treatment, etc. I could not in good conscience sign such a
waiver, and so my son had to stay home from what was probably the most
fun event of the year. Worse, I was the only parent in the troop who
wouldn't sign the waiver, although our CC admitted that I was the only
parent who actually READ it. It seemed out of line to me; not a
standard liability waiver at all. (I was imagining all sorts of nasty
potential scenarios - reckless rafting personnel allowing some kid to go
without a lifejacket or stand up in the boat, a child drowning or dying
of injuries due to delays in calling for medical help, etc.). The troop
was not responsive to my concerns; everyone else had signed it, so why
couldn't I? And I wouldn't be surprised if they use the same company
again for this year's trip.
In retrospect, I don't know that I did the right thing. My poor son
felt terribly at being the only boy who couldn't go on the outing; the
troop had a great time with no accidents. And perhaps even if an
accident HAD occurred, there'd still have had some legal recourse
despite signing a waiver. Any thoughts on this?
Anita H. <JASTL@slip.net>
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City