ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Posts by the ISKA committee for discussion by members and posts by members for the attention of ISKA committee
John Markham
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:57 pm

Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by John Markham » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:37 pm

Hello Fellow Paddlers,
My sincerest apologies to all who were offended by my clumsy attempt at humour/satire on the ECSK forum.
Frankie Boyle can sleep easy, I won't be eating his lunch anytime soon.

Also I would like to apologise to the hard working comittee members, I know this is a sensitive issue, and my comments generated a lot of noise which wouldn't have arose had I kept my mouth shut.

Also I would have responded sooner but I just got inter-web access today, I'm not in Ireland at the moment.

Happy paddling,

Posts: 177
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:37 am

Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by brianmacmahon » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:48 pm

No hassle John,

No offence taken by the lefty Westies. Apart from Matt of course but he is a sensitive soul :lol:


Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:51 pm

Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by john.ruston » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:33 pm

Nor sure if this is quite the right slot to post in but here goes anyway !
Can someone explain why sea kayakers are being told we need yet more insurance ?
Is there a salesperson in the ranks ? Lots of questions here.
Do I need personal liability cover ?
For years a lot of us have been stumping up for BCU cover (like the Perkins Slade group insurance). Yet we've all along been getting free Personal Liability protection as part of other schemes we have already bought into. Mine comes with Property Insurance from a major bank.
I had asked them to consider a common kayaking sin - lane swapping. A hypothetical case of me in my wee boat obstructing our local ferry and crashing it - something like a Rule 9b infringement. The Insurers obligingly sent a formal letter certifying cover for 'those concerned'. Get a court judgment and they pay out.
I happen to have BCU /CANI cover but in truth I don't need it.
I've been talked into paying for a service I don't actually need and I am concerned that's it's about to happen again.

I can see that in this age of ambulance-chasing law firms, no win no fee and claims culture in general anyone running an event would want to get cover.
For something like a symposium there is a lively and competitive market in event insurance. This covers things like one-day events, street parties, club fund raisers and the like. Visit the market place, buy cover - end of issue ?!
Or are we about to be told where exactly we have to get this stuff from ?

What's left to insure ? The group paddle ??
The commercial fraternity already have their insurance - but I don't think it's them that's the target here.
I have a nasty feeling that its the folk on a "peer paddle" that someone is gunning for. As one goes about the place, a story keeps coming up about a decline in the number of paddles being posted. Hitherto willing participants in sea trips are getting anxious about insurance and waiting for some 'clarification' - be a long wait friends!
I wondered what Insurance company is going to write cover for a bunch of mates out for a coastal cruise (let alone to play in tidal white water).
Imagine the restrictive clauses. Given the unpredictability of the sea a good underwriter would have little problem arguing that T&Cs had not been met. The small print would make it impractical for all real purposes. Like the Emperor's clothes, it would be no insurance at all.

Who would have to carry this extra insurance burden? Is that everyone, since no one is really in charge?
Its basically a group of pals - and we all have our Personal Liability Cover, don't we !
Seems to me that over the years Irish paddlers have done a good job organising trips without any "Head Office" formalities, and if it aint broke ...

We know that sea tourers are very good at looking after one another. There's huge pride-in-craft and an amazing readiness to share knowledge and skills. By and large the skills needed for safe passage and for effective rescue were developed up and down the west coast of these islands.
The repository of knowledge lies in body of the sea touring fraternity, the "Tag and Bobtail" crew of practitioners - NOT in some Sports Council funded Portacabin in Nottingham, England or any other group appointing itself sea-kayaking's "governing body". We should not be lectured !

Can anyone tell me where our liabilities lie ? Perhaps they are much fewer than one might think. A bunch of paddlers are not a signed on ship's crew with internationally accepted legal responsibilities. We are not a collective. We are a collection of vessels each crewed only by its captain.

I think we are not recklessly, maliciously or negligently to endanger one another, same as on the land. outside of that we might feel a moral responsibility but that is likely NOT actionable.
(As Skippers ) ...We are responsible for our own decision to put to sea - effectively self-certifying our fitness for any projected trip and making our own assessment of sea conditions etc... No one forces us to leave the safety of shore.
Anyone group member electing to convert themself into rock-gooh by disastrous miscalculation can't expect compensation from the others. There is no bystander liability. Reject all other versions.
Perhaps the insurance salesfolk can tell us what it is they expect us to pay for now.
John (Ballycastle)

Chris McDaid
Posts: 168
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:35 pm

Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by Chris McDaid » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:28 pm

Insurance? Specifically the model that the ECSKC use as a template for any prospective ISKA cover. In any incident it is almost certain that insurance company would seek the advice of "experts" in the field. Whether you like it or not, the perceived experts in this jurisdiction are Canoeing Ireland. I seriously doubt that any or most of the paddles undertaken by either ISKA or ECSKC conform to Canoeing Ireland guidelines re ratios etc (it has already been stated in this debate that ratios are not mentioned in the proposed cover). Canoeing Ireland's best practice/guidelines, call them what you will, are seriously restrictive as regards sea kayaking. In the past ISKA has told Canoeing Ireland to "do one" because of this.

Scenario - let's suppose insurance is adopted, despite the dearth of qualified leaders and a meet takes place. Paddler A gets into difficulty and needs rescued. Paddler B is closest and has the necessary skills to carry out said rescue. Can he/she tho? Unless they're one of the "certified" leaders? Is paddler B putting himself at risk by attempting a rescue which may go wrong? The thought of this scenario makes my blood run cold, that a paddler will consider the insurance implications before committing to a rescue. That is NOT what we're about. It has already been asked on here, do insurance companies have the faintest idea what we do and every eventuality we may have to face? I don't believe they do, other than the underwriters for the national governing body, hence the straitjacket like restrictions which are known as "best practice".

Again, lets suppose insurance is adopted. Do you think that a "leader" appointed by a club or association will be recognised as such by an insurance company in the event of a claim? As far as I'm aware, the only people who can assess and appoint such leaders are again, Canoeing Ireland. Will a "leader" appointed ad hoc, without regard to the national governing body's "best practice" pass muster in a court of law in the event of a claim? Again, I have my doubts.

All over these islands (Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales), there is a shift in sea kayaking communities. They are deserting their governing body's in droves. Why is this? Because of severely restrictive practices. Take a look at SSKEG and NESKA to name but 2.

I was asked by an ISKA committee member to find out what the Scottish group do regarding insurance or lack of. Well here it is......they have NO insurance and nor do they feel they need it, for reasons outlined below......

They have guidelines, which explain in pretty intricate detail what a paddler may face on a trip. Trips are graded A, B or C. Look it up. They also operate a self certification policy, whereby every paddler must make trip organisers aware of their abilities and experience. They have also removed the word "leader" from their vocabulary. They have trip organisers. In reality, at ISKA meets, there are NO trip leaders, only organisers. Decisions are made by consensus by the whole group, just as it should. Adapting the Scottish system would be a perfect solution to this insurance/no insurance dilemma, with the minimum of fuss. In ISKA we have been lax as regards governance, of that there is no doubt. Using an adaptation of the Scottish system would mean that every attendee at a meet would HAVE to be a current paid up member. They would also have to have self certified before membership was accepted. This self certification would include a statement that you accept all liability as to your decision to paddle, a statement of your formal qualifications, your experience, your ability if you have no formal qualifications and a named emergency contact and number. It should also state which safety kit you have eg, flares, VHF, PLB. Only then would you be considered a member (membership cards anyone?) All this info could be held on a database (it isn't difficult) and meets organisers would have instant access to the general ability of those who turn up at meets. In the event of guests turning up, it isn't beyond the wit of man to have the meets organisers armed with a few blank self certification sheets. It isn't rocket science. This method would allow us to continue as the fantastic association we are, and give protection to every paddler. Yeah I know, it's never been tested in a court of law. Neither has the proposed insurance policy.

John Ruston has also made a very relevant point, we are all captains of our own vessels. We are all responsible for our own actions. Does the Captain of the Stenaline Belfast to Cairnryan ferry look to blame the captain of the P&O Larne - Cairnryan ferry if things go tits up? I think not

There is a viable alternative to insurance, it is used elsewhere, and it can and should be used here to preserve the freedom we all enjoy of sea kayaking on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Don't spoil it by introducing rules, regulations, insurance which will result in us operating in a straitjacket, foisted on us by an insurance company who know absolutely nothing about what we do

Last edited by Chris McDaid on Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:09 pm

Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by GeneCahill » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:32 pm

Just my tuppence worth from a newbie in the south of the country!

I'm against the whole insurance thing for ISKA. In my humble opinion, insurance will add legal obligations to ISKA meets. They will no longer be 'peer paddles'. Already on here people are talking about possible legal scenarios - is this what our Association has come to? If a paddle buddy gets into trouble and I'm the closest one to undertake a rescue, will I now need to consider my legal position before affecting a rescue. If I decide to undertake said rescue, will ISKA's insurance policy become null and void because I'm not a designated 'leader" etc? I understand that every sport/activity has certain laws/regulations etc but let's not overcomplicate and try to fix something that is relatively simple and simply not broken.

One of ISKA's strengths - admittedly I'm only in the ISKA fold over the last 2 years or so - is the fact that we are not a club but an association. It links paddlers of all ages, abilities and experiences and occasionally we meet up for a paddle. We share experiences, sing songs (some of ye sing better than others!), enjoy a pint or two and we paddle together and learn from each other. For the most part, we all self-regulate. I have opted out of certain trips at symposia because I've felt it was beyond my abilities in a kayak. There have been one or two meets I have attended where I have decided to push myself and my abilities on trips that would be testing. On those trips I have been encouraged by others of greater skill and experience to go for it. I trusted their judgement and I went on those trips, pushed myself and enjoyed myself immensely. There was no recklessness on anybody's part. It helped me become a better kayaker and I'm all the more grateful to those members for their encouragement and faith in my abilities. I've been on trips under the guidance of 'leaders' whose official level matched my own but their experience, technique and skill level was vastly superior to mine. Will insurance clauses now prevent such trips from happening? Will I now be prevented from partaking in trips because my 'official' skill level (regardless of my experience) does not adhere to insurance regulations? Will these previous 'leaders' or 'organisers' now be prevented from doing what they have so successfully done over the last number of years? If so, then it is my belief, ISKA as an organisation will be severely weakened because of it.

Sea kayaking is unpredictable and this unpredictability makes it very difficult to regulate from an insurance perspective. There are too many variables and unknowns that can result in insurance policies becoming null and void. I understand the need and value for clubs to have insurance, but ISKA is not a club and that fact is one of its greatest strengths. Myself and my regular paddle buddies are not members of any club in our area because we don't want the bureaucracy and politics that club membership often entails. (I'm not criticising any clubs here as I have many kayaking friends in clubs and I see that they have many benefits for its members. I have also paddled with club members on paddles and have enjoyed their company, banter and experiences) We just want to paddle and to have fun. We are not reckless and take safety very seriously. We are self-regulating: we are experienced and responsible enough to look at conditions and decide, based on the strengths, weaknesses and honesty of those in our group as to whether a proposed trip is possible at any given time. We are to all intents and purposes a club, without being a club. We are an association of paddlers. We sometimes go on 'peer' paddles with members of local clubs and we are kayaking friends. We are ISKA.

Yours in paddling

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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by DaveWalsh » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:37 pm

### In Ireland it is simply not on to apologise and mean it. Any hint of sincerity or contrition is completely forbidden.

### In Ireland apologies are quite the reverse, used exclusively for sticking the knife in that bit further and adding that all important little twist.

### In Ireland the words “if”, “any” (or even better “if any”), and especially “regret”, are compulsory.

### In Ireland it is vital when “apologising” to convey in this manner, incomprehension that anyone could possibly have been upset by what you did / said (or didn’t), that anyway what you did / said (or didn’t) was utterly trivial, and that even if you have been caught bang to rights, you aren’t one bit sorry for what you did / said (or didn’t), you only regret being caught (you regret having to do the time, not doing the crime).

Ewan and Markham have completely broken all these rules and are manifestly giving good example to us all, which is intolerable.


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Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:51 pm

Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by john.ruston » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:43 pm

Can I quote you Chris ?
"Don't spoil it by introducing rules, regulations, insurance which will result in us operating in a straitjacket, foisted on us by an insurance company who know absolutely nothing about what we do"
These possible restrictions might not be entirely the fault of the insurance companies. They are surely likely to be drawn up with the help of folk inside the world of kayaking. I was wondering if the insurance bogeyman was more of a symptom than a cause. This could be fertile ground for restrictive practice, monopolistic tendencies and a possible closed shop. Great target :)

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Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by EWAN » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:27 pm

Insurance is debated often in other kayaking clubs and is not a sign of terminal disagreement. I am on the committee of another club with a 50 year history and about 400 members, the only claim on insurance that I know of was from a non-member slipping in the clubhouse!

Dave it would be regrettable if any offence was caused by my apology.


Chris McDaid
Posts: 168
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:35 pm

Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by Chris McDaid » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:56 pm


At the end of the day, only the membership at large will decide. I would propose that a healthy and frank exchange of views on this subject take place at the Symposium, with the proposed insurance policy laid out in full for inspection by the members, so we all know exactly what we're voting on. I've enjoyed this debate immensely and it's enlightening to hear the opinions of fellow paddlers. We may all have different viewpoints but ultimately we all want the same thing, to enjoy our time on the water and be safe.

It has been a very healthy debate so far, and not in any way "fractious" at all, just an honest exchange of opinions and relevant questions


Brian Blake
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:46 pm

Re: ISKA Committee Meet & Email

Post by Brian Blake » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:40 am

It would help this debate if we knew exactly what would be covered by any proposed insurance cover.
It would also help if an ISKA committee member didn't post disingenuous comments on another forum. This debate hasn't been fractious.
The other committee members have kept out of it and left it to the members to discuss, which is only right and proper.


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