ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Posts by the ISKA committee for discussion by members and posts by members for the attention of ISKA committee
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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by conorsmith » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:57 pm

I have led, co-led and organised meets over the last few years, delighted to have been able to give something back. If insurance is introduced, as I do not hold the appropriate level of qualification sadly I will no longer be allowed to offer this help to ISKA.

Both sides can argue the benefits and limitations of insurance. It's final interpretation can only ever be confirmed in a court of law no matter how strong you believe your cover is. I do have an open question though that might give food for thought:

Consider a situation where a leader correctly verifies you have recently passed L2, where insurance says you can now bring them along. What is the situation if you are in L3 conditions and something goes wrong? What protection would you have (insurance or not) having knowingly taken that individual into conditions clearly beyond their ability?

Alan Horner
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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by Alan Horner » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:46 pm

How to respond to all points is getting difficult.
Many made many are certainly valid.

Trip leaders and Qualifications
There no getting away from it that if ISka go the insurance route
Then it's 6/7 meets through the season need to be planned and staffed by qualified trip leaders.
I use don't provide that specific badge ISka will have to define it

Yes it wiould preclude some who have previously given their time.
So ISka would have to think carefully if it's ready as an association to be able to do this.

To answer Chris's request for specifics

The insurance co says that official trips are covered
Ecskc defined this as being coastal journeys within Ireland and uk
Led by a qualified trip leader of the club
We also defined the trip leaders status
ISka would have to go through the same process.

There is none set
Therefore sensible safety margins need to be established
One leader per trip of 40 paddlers might work but it would be a nightmare
Very much depends on sea conditions availability of other competent paddlers etc

This was a specific requirement from the Ecskc leaders group
NOT an insurance requirement
Background was that we get new members joining without any paddling erience at all
If that person shows up for a meet its very frustrating for both leader and the new member
It's better they have the basic skills at l2 (paddle straight, sweep strokes, wet exit) etc
We made it formal to get the cert - this is outside of the insurance issue

L2 is enforced yes
Elitist no it's practical for a general trip
I bet you didn't have any complete beginners on Inish Lackan.

Negligence cover for a trip leader - yes that's fundamental.

Peer v club
I don't have exact numbers but about 1:5 or 1:6
Is reasonable estimate

Comprehensive insurance
We measured it against ICU and yes it is
There are certain enviable overlaps but the small cost eur10per head meant that
We could live with it

Leader responsibility
A leader whether official or unofficial has a big responsibility
Training and ideally a qualification or endorsement of their peers helps with the comfort zone

Association or club ?
Will review your link and come back on it

Good debating worth a pint or two next time we meet.

If ISka do start in earnest on the insurance road there are a lot of considerations
We in Ecskc have done the ground work
We are happy to share the knowledge gained
We too went through the fore and against process and decided that insurance was right for us.

There are more similarities with ISka and Ecskc that there are differences and I don't want or need an East /West divide but a reasoned debate and we do want to preserve the freedom of the sea that ISka stands for. That said there should always be safety considerations
And as I said somewhere above
The ISka members have a duty to their association to protect it and those who run it,
Insurance isn't the be all and end all, training , safety precautions etc are paramount.


Chris McDaid
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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by Chris McDaid » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:44 pm


Thanks for your measured reply. I'd say the most significant thing you've said is ISKA ready for insurance. Personally my view is we're not. As Conor has already stated, he will not be able to lead or organise trips under an insurance regime. Neither will anyone else on the west coast. Leaders and organisers are difficult enough to find as it is, without making it even more so with requirements of an insurance company's terms and conditions. I can fully understand why the ECSKC went down the insurance route and it makes perfect sense to you guys. However I believe it isn't entirely accurate to compare ECSKC with ISKA. ECSKC is a regimented club with rules and constitution etc with most of its members within a specific geographical area. ISKA clearly isn't and has members in every nook and cranny of this island, and the current model of ISKA works absolutely fine and facilitates that disparate spread out membership.

To be succinct, the ECSKC model isn't comparable to ISKA for the reasons I've stated above. I fear that introducing insurance before the organisation is remotely ready for it would have a very negative impact. Whether we'll ever be ready for it is open to question, as it entirely depends on people stepping up and taking responsibility to get qualified and stepping up to the plate. I cant see that happening anytime soon. We on the west coast are very aware that the ECSKC has the vast majority of ISKA members compared to any other area, and while the adoption of insurance wont affect the East Coast guys at all (you already have it and are used to it), everywhere else it will have a very negative impact on ISKA activities. I would suggest that a countrywide view of the possible consequences of insurance requirements should be considered. It may work for you guys, but that doesn't mean it will work for everyone.

The proposal that I submitted to the committee (as I was asked to do) is a viable alternative and when it is made available (the committees job, not mine), it should be carefully considered. There is a very real and relevant disquiet on the west coast that ISKA meets as we know them will be nowhere near what they currently are.

Finally, on the Inishlackan meet there were novices on it, I was tasked to look after one of them. On a trip of 25km in far from benign conditions, the meet was a great success because we all pulled together as a group to make sure everyone was safe. Thats what its all about for us, working together as a group to ensure safety.

I see no reason why ISKA meets outside of the Symposium and training weekends cannot continue as peer meets

Again Alan, thanx for the reasoned debate


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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by afinn » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:46 am

An interesting discussion on this contentious issue....
Firstly, I would like to say that the comments on the ECSKA site about Facists, PBP, Pinkos etc are utterly despicable, it has taken me a few days to come to terms with them, I have tried in my head to excuse them, I saw them and the next day logged on fully expecting them to have been removed, but no, they were still there, shocking, utterly shocking..
People who read what I post will know that I do not get into putting people down, ever, that to me is cowardice, the losers way out,to do so on a forum, not face to face is utter cowardice....
A member of ISKA, a MR D Walsh, posted, bravely, about his position. Why do I say bravely?. He has the courage of his convictions and his beliefs,plus his many years of experience in kayaking, oh yes, and writing books about the subject, that does not make him right, nor does it make him wrong, but he posts, he does not demean or put down, he just says it like he believes it to be,rightly or not, depending on your POV, I admire that immensely. He is educated, experienced, measured in his comments and from what I know of him, well balanced. He does not hide behind a keyboard and call people names, even in supposed jest. A facist? What a disgusting term, what a disgusting thing to call someone who you happen not to agree with. I realise that I am giving out about people here, but, it is a long time since I have been so upset by a comment.

Insurance, I am now ambivalant on the subject, pretty much. Always against it, I now am still not in favor, but try to see the point of view of those that want it, well some of them at least. It is, to me difficult..ish to see the point of view, but we do live in litigious times.
I joined the club, it had no insurance, I got excellent help and guidance, I capsized ...a lot...I got rescued...a lot..thanks again...
Then insurance came in, or at least a piece of wood, thinned out to make paper which apperantly says that the leaders are insured, so maybe a placebo? Has it affected the way the club operates, not really I suppose. Does it promote CPD, dont think so really, most of the paddlers I know want to improve for personal reasons, to be better, to be able to paddle in challenging conditions, to be safe, both for themselves and for others, they were like that when I joined, they do/did not need insurance as an incentive to improve. Some of them do have MORE bits of paper though, bits of paper are, or are deemed to be important, I have a few myself, (although not for kayaking,im not good enough),I will get some for kayaking, eventually, and if someone wants to give me one for rolling, in a harbour, I will not accept it, I will deem myself to be capable when I can roll in conditions where I am likely to need a roll, in rough water.....I am as you might glean, a bit ambivalent on bits of paper too.
So, back on track, have things changed, no, not really. Do the leaders who do indeed give much of their time to the club need protecting, perhaps.The question I have is though, one that no one seems to want to answer, is, are they really protected, does the ins company know what we do?
I find it difficult to believe that the club leaders are covered against a person drowning for example, remember the potential payout would be in seven figures,for a premium of less than 2 thousand pounds,young people pay twice that to drive after passing a test.
Would I lead a paddle (if I was good enough to do so) even with insurance, BUT, as THE leader, designated, not on your life, not with that policy, out at sea, in all sorts of conditions, which can and do fluctuate,for less than 2 grand, the company, in the event of an accident, have too many outs, then as the "Designated Leader" I can be sued privately.....why, because I AM the leader, no one to sue, ergo, no need for cover....
ISKA is not a club....
Peer, peer, peer is the way I think....
I remember a person telling me once, "A bank will only lend you money if you dont really need it"....think about it.....
An insurance company will only insure you when they are fairly certain that they will not have to pay out, for ins...required for ins are locks on doors and windows, not just any locks either...smoke alarms, burgular alarms, etc etc..chance of someone burgaling quickly and easily,..... slim...
The Stags of Broadhaven in a F3/4 and a 4 mtr yea, right......

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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by patriciacarraher » Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:58 am

I am glad that the issue of insurance has been opened to the membership. The form of democracy I believe in means that leaders have a responsibility to others to provide them with enough support and information to enable them to come to their own conclusions.

Thanks to all who have given constructive information on the topic of insurance here, it certainly is a complex issue.

I have a question if anyone can answer it. I heard that in the event of an incident and it going to court, the judge will not look to the designated trip leader but to the most qualified person/all equally qualified people on the water in the group. To me that seems to mean that if you are a level 4 paddler and another level 4 paddler is the trip leader, in the event of an incident, the judge would decide that you were equally responsible and ask what advice did you give, how did you conduct yourself during this incident, etc??? I hope I have not made this question too complicated and wordy. Does anyone get the gist of what I am trying to say?

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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by brianmacmahon » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:17 am

Bravo Alan Finn, bravo.

On behalf of my fellow socialist pinko lefty westies I would like to confer honoury WISKA membership to you.
You are now an honoury Westie like the esteemed Mr. Walsh. A dubious honour indeed. Wear it with pride.

Last edited by brianmacmahon on Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by brianmacmahon » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:12 am

It's great to see these issues being fleshed out so to speak.
I'd like to thank Alan Horner particularly as he has debated the issue valiantly as opposed to his fellow east coast compatriots who only seem to be able to resort to name calling.

Okay let's address a few elephants in the room so to speak.

Patricia I'm not sure where you saw or heard how a judge proportions blame. I've researched this and I can't find a single successful claim against any kayaking body either in the UK or Ireland. I did find one action taken against a provider but that was a business and not a club. Judges have no idea how sea kayakers operate. They rely on precedent and the law. They also rely heavily on paper trails.

David Walsh founder member of ISKA is a Solicitor of many many many ( that might be one too many's ) years experience and I myself studied law and have worked in the family firm for a number of years. I know one thing if you write it down either as a constitution or as procedures or indeed have said procedures otherwise known as terms and conditions imposed on you by an insurance company then you open yourself to litigation. I'm sure David would agree with me. Experience has thought me that if there is insurance then litigation follows.

Alan Finn (Honoury Westie) suggested that insurence as a safety net may be a actually be a plecebo ! He is absolutely right. I'll let you into a little known secret ! Insurence companies do NOT like to pay out. I GUARANTEE you that if you examine the terms and conditions imposed by the insurence provider for ECSKA you'll find so many "outs" and loop holes to count. Conor pointed out a few scenarios that an insurence company would immediately have issue with and void the claim and Conor would know he is in the insurence business. Sea kayaking has too many variables. You can't grade the sea.

The leaders on the east coast are relying entirely on a placebo. Instead of offering them protection I would argue that it has exposed them to ligation because a solicitor can log onto ECSKA website and read their procedures and guidelines.

Food for thought !!

I for one do not want ISKA exposed in this way.


Chris McDaid
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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by Chris McDaid » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:33 pm

Very relevant points posted recently. there is no place for personal slurs when a supposedly rational and measured debate is taking place.

I'd say the critical questions which need answered are as follows..........

1) If insurance is brought in, how many leaders will be left who are "qualified" and willing to take ownership of ISKA meets? As I've said already, leaders and co leaders are hard enough to find as it is. If you are someone who is willing to step up, please name yourself on this debate, as ISKA would need to know how many "leaders" are available and willing.

2) Placebo effect regards insurance? I'm no expert but know that getting an insurance company to pay out involves a lot of box ticking. Are we certain that we will be covered for what we do? In every possible scenario?

3) Again, referring to last summers Inishlackan meet, there were NO named leaders. All the experienced kayakers looked out for those who were not. Ref AJ Finn's comments "no leaders, no one to sue". Can someone explain why this philosophy needs to change?

4) Protection against litigation against the committee? Why is it needed? The committee dont lead trips, they only facilitate them. We have no constitution which a solicitor will pick apart, there is no paper trail. Decisions on what kinda paddles are undertaken on these meets are done as a group, on the day with due regard to prevailing conditions and paddler ability.

5) Other than an insurance company, who will gain financially by the adoption of insurance? Given the unprecedented level of funds currently in the ISKA coffers.


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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by brianmacmahon » Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:10 pm

Ahhhh now we are getting to the meat of the issue.

Who benefits the most ?

- is it the leaders who are afforded protection from the litigious ISKA membership.
- is it the membership themselves who now have the added expense of forking out extra money to the insurence company.
- the insurence company themselves are obviously quids in safe in the knowledge that any claim can be easily dismissed.
- is it the committee themselves who are also "protected" from their litigious membership.

- is it perhaps individuals who have a commercial interest in sea kayaking ? after all insurence is a very pointy stick that can be used to drive the membership down the certification path. An expensive path indeed.

Make no mistake I am in agreement that ISKA should drive training forward. I have no issue with paying for that training. I've had excellent instruction over the years from Eileen, Sean, Ali, Ronan. Money well spent. I also attended one of the training weekends. I'm all for seeing more of that but it should be voluntary and not at the end of a big insurence stick !!


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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by DaveWalsh » Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:24 pm

I propose a compulsory chill pill all round.

I got onto the East Coast Forum (its easy – try it) and I find that only a couple of its people were saying anything inappropriate, and one at least is definitely light hearted about it. The main “culprit” appears, in fairness, to have assumed the discussion was private, and, was making a very fair point and asking a valid question*****, just making a dog’s dinner of the process. He thought he was amongst his own, among friends as it were - so no harm and all that (a Willie O’Dea moment, as it is called in some circles), and again to be fair, a couple of the Eastie leaders there did pull him up on it. I agree that that one posting might have been removed by whoever controls their Forum, and maybe it is just that someone was asleep at the wheel, but in any event we are where we are, and lets move on.

It’s a pity there are two discussions at all. At this precise moment one seems more than enough. Were there one only I would for instance have seen that the word “dictator” was never (as reported) used, only the term “fascist”. As I amn’t and never was a fascist, that accusation didn’t bother me. On the other hand, now I find I didn’t even know that I did stand accused of other things - wearing a smoking jacket, bravery, and being measured in my comments. I don’t know which allegation is the most contemptible. Outrageous. I’ve never heard the like said about me, and me with the bus pass.


***** PS. If I understand him correctly, the fair point raised is that some people in opposition to insurance are attached to positions more out of emotion than logic. I for one put my hands up to that. He then questions how the ICU insurance scheme works. He is right to ask. Imagine if it works paddler by paddler and not club by club, everyone could choose for themselves, no debate, we all go home. Good may yet come of his intemperance?

PPS (and anyway I’m sure he has learnt the meaning of the old saying “never kid a kidder”).

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