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CNYScouter

Safety Afloat question

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I recived an e-mail about a June canoe trip for my son's troop and part of this said:

 

This would have to be a parent/scout trip if we have no one with BSA Lifeguard certification.

 

From the Guide to Safe Scouting:

 

1. Qualified Supervision

 

All activity afloat must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of the children in his or her care, who is experienced and qualified in the particular watercraft skills and equipment involved in the activity, and who is committed to compliance with the nine points of BSA Safety Afloat. One such supervisor is required for each 10 people, with a minimum of two adults for any one group. At least one supervisor must be age 21 or older, and the remaining supervisors must be age 18 or older. All supervisors must complete BSA Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense training and rescue training for the type of watercraft to be used in the activity, and at least one must be trained in CPR. It is strongly recommended that all units have at least one adult or older youth member currently trained as a BSA Lifeguard to assist in the planning and conducting of all activity afloat.

 

This says that it is recommended but not required to have someone trained as a BSA Lifeguard so I don't see where this is coming from.

 

The CPR is not an issue as we have Doctors, nurses and a couple of EMT's as leaders.

 

To me just because the Troops says its a parent/child activity doesn't make it a non-Troop activity and the G2SS needs to be followed.

 

The CC also uses the "parent/child activity" as a reason to not fill a tour permit for this. (I know my son or I won't be going on this trip)

 

 

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CNY,

Being as we are in the same council, I can tell you from past experiance that there are several people at coucil level that think all canoeing should be done at summer camp standards.

 

We have disputed this with them for years while running our annual Oswegatchie River Run for 8 years. We just quit trying to explain it to them and went ahead with trip.

 

Whoever sent you email is wrong, you are not required to have lifeguards if they are all BSA rated swimmers.

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"The CC also uses the "parent/child activity" as a reason to not fill a tour permit for this."

 

Quack, quack, quack. If it walks like a ...

 

Nobody is fooled by that lame idea. Parents aren't fooled, nor are the attorneys they will hire to sue the troop, the council, and the Scout leaders involved if an accident occurs.

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Has it ever been required for Safety Afloat that a person must have BSA Lifeguard certification for a canoe trip?

 

CC inisits that when he took Safety Afloat it was required and it must have changed.

 

The main resoan I won't attend this is becuase if the CC thinks that for the Troop to go canoeing they need someone with a BSA Lifeguard certification and by calling it a "parent/child" activity they can get around the G2SS.

 

FScouter said:

Nobody is fooled by that lame idea. Parents aren't fooled, nor are the attorneys they will hire to sue the troop, the council, and the Scout leaders involved if an accident occurs.

 

Sure they are.

No one else in this troop has any complaints about doing it this way.

If they were I think someone else would step up and say something.

 

I am not planning being around this group much longer.

Once the Sea Scout Ship is up and running I am not going to have much to do with this bunch

 

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Safety Afloat is not stand-alone from Safe Swim Defense, it is a supplement to SSD.

 

Here's the POLICY part from G2SS:

 

"and be dedicated to full compliance with all nine points of Safety Afloat."

 

Now, to me, dedicated connotes "not skirting around, but rather meeting intent and letter of policy."

 

I suggest all read this segment. While it's not boldface, it pretty well says the intent:

 

"All activity afloat must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of the children in his or her care, who is experienced and qualified in the particular watercraft skills and equipment involved in the activity, and who is committed to compliance with the nine points of BSA Safety Afloat. One such supervisor is required for each 10 people, with a minimum of two adults for any one group. At least one supervisor must be age 21 or older, and the remaining supervisors must be age 18 or older. All supervisors must complete BSA Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense training and rescue training for the type of watercraft to be used in the activity, and at least one must be trained in CPR. It is strongly recommended that all units have at least one adult or older youth member currently trained as a BSA Lifeguard to assist in the planning and conducting of all activity afloat."

 

 

Now, you can parse if you want to, but the idea is simple: "BE PREPARED."

 

Where have I heard that before?

 

To CNY: While you are the one who has to live with these folks inside your district, I'd recommend a heart-heart talk with the Troops COR and UC. If something goes wrong, the Chartered Partner's liability insurance may well take a hit :(

 

FScouter,

 

Let's pray nothing happens. Given my understanding (I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV),, if something happens this will be entirely on the leaders and Chartered Partner's backs... BSA and Council have more than met the "reasonable man" standard by providing training, policies, and "best practices."

 

It's sorta like sod surfing ...(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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CNY,

Safety Afloat Hasen't changed in MANY, MANY years. Lifeguards have never that I know of been required. While its good to have one and is recommended its not required.

 

I know of no reason why they just don't do Tour Permit and do it right. If they have SA/SSD defense leaders then they have meet G2SS requirenments. Why fudge on something when there is no reason.

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"Safety Afloat Hasen't changed in MANY, MANY years. Lifeguards have never that I know of been required. While its good to have one and is recommended its not required."

 

When I started as a scoutmaster in the early 90's, a lifeguard was required for canoe trips. That is why I initially attained the certification. It has not been required. I think that it is a great idea to have someone BSA Lifeguard certified, but it is no longer required..

 

"I know of no reason why they just don't do Tour Permit and do it right. If they have SA/SSD defense leaders then they have meet G2SS requirenments. Why fudge on something when there is no reason."

 

My son's unit (I am an SA) tried to skirt the rules. There was no need to do that. It is foolish to use the parent/child activity ruse. File a float plan oulining the acivity giving times, dates, put in, take out and leader resources/qualifications. We do a trip on the Bois Brule in nortern Wisconsin. I have a book that details the two trips we take. I throw photo-copies of the narrative and map from the book. I give copies to each parent, the CC, COR, the leaders on the trip, and a copy with the tour permit. That way, everyone in the unit is on the same page.

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My son's troop has a rule that any boy who has not yet passed the BSA swimmer test can not canoe unless a BSA lifeguard is in the canoe with him. I thought this was BSA policy, but maybe it's just our troop. Everyone, of course, wears a PFD, but the troop is extra cautious with the non-swimmers and beginning swimmers.

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A scout or scouter who is not rated as a "Swimmer" may only ride as a passenger in a canoe and only if accompanied in the canoe by a qualified Lifeguard (BSA, Red Cross, etc). ALL participants MUST wear approved PFDs at all times.

 

Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat training are now available online at the BSA web site. I just ran through Safety Afloat again and it only took about 15 minutes. I recommend everyone do that as a refresher.

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There are two issues here that are confusing and lead to conundrums.

 

First: (G2SS)

"3. Swimming Ability

A person who has not been classified as a "swimmer" may ride as a passenger in a rowboat or motorboat with an adult swimmer, or in a canoe, raft, or sailboat with an adult who is trained as a lifeguard or a lifesaver by a recognized agency. In all other circumstances, the person must be a swimmer to participate in an activity afloat. Swimmers must pass this test:" (goes on to explain swimmers test)

 

If all scouts are at the "swimmers" level this section won't apply. If all are not, then life guard (or lifesaver) training(s)would be needed. What exactly is "lifesaver" training/certification? I can't help with that one and can't find anybody that knows the answer.

 

Second:

"All supervisors must complete BSA Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense training and rescue training for the type of watercraft to be used in the activity, and at least one must be trained in CPR. It is strongly recommended that all units have at least one adult or older youth member currently trained as a BSA Lifeguard to assist in the planning and conducting of all activity afloat."

 

Neither BSA Safety Afloat nor BSA Safe Swim Defense provide "rescue training for the type of watercraft to be used in the activity . . ." So where does a "supervisor" acquire this training? For that matter, BSA Lifeguard training (nor Red Cross Lifeguard training)provides this.

 

I am not a legal eagle, nor do I profess to being one, but I find myself being very cautious when the policy says ". . . it is strongly recommended . . ." My legal eagle buddy however, tells me this leaves the door very much open for him to make my life miserable if there is an incident and I didn't follow the "strong recommendation." If nothing else he says he'll sue me anyway and one of the first questions he'll ask is why I didn't follow such a "strong recommendation" from higher on the totem pole than I. So if nothing else it's a CYA situation, at least for me.

 

Fortunately, for our troop it hasn't been an issue. I had life guard certification in the past (let it lapse) and have rescue technician certification including still and swift water rescue training (this should certainly work for "lifesaver" training). My older son has Red Cross certification and my younger has BSA certification, so that's covered the last eight years worth of troop float trips. And for many years there has always been at least one other scout or adult with BSA certification.

 

As for "it's a family outing" (planned, supervised, and executed by the troop, with scouts/parent participants?), FScouter is right - quack, quack! It's not what you say you're doing, but what you're really doing that counts.

 

Bottom line is G2SS stops short of a requirement, but then opens the door to question the action (or rather lack thereof).

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I should have checked the G2SS first before asking.

The e-mail did also say that "Mrs. XXX would be available to give the swimmers test to new scouts that want to go"

So non-swimmers are not allowed to go.

 

This really goes to show that since no one else has questioned this that the troop doesn't have anyone else currently trained in SSD/SA and by saying this trip is a "parent/child" outing they can skirt the G2SS.

 

I would talk to our UC if someone could tell me who that is.

No one in the troop knows who it is

The DC is not sure who it is either and I was told my district doesn't know who all its UC are.

 

I also have no idea who our COR is.

I have never meet them and they have never been to a troop function.

About the only function they perform is they sign the leader application when one of the committee people bring it to them.

 

All I know is that I am staying as far away from this trip as possible.

 

 

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Eagle74

 

"My legal eagle buddy however, tells me this leaves the door very much open for him to make my life miserable if there is an incident and I didn't follow the "strong recommendation." If nothing else he says he'll sue me anyway and one of the first questions he'll ask is why I didn't follow such a "strong recommendation" from higher on the totem pole than I."

 

It won't matter if you did have a lifeguard, or if everyone was, or how many rules you followed to the letter. If we are on an outing and something unfortunate happens your going to get sued. Thats what the liability insurance national provides is for.

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"Thats what the liability insurance national provides is for."

 

Remember that insurance is not to protect you, but to protect them (BSA). Having been in those situtations before, not with BSA but with my former profession (Law Enforcement) you are allways best to seek your own legal council. Sorry if I sound cold, but in these situations it is every man/woman for himself.

 

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Yah, thank goodness for nld and eaglebeader offerin' a bit of rationality in the face of all the amateur attorneys on the forum. Quacking sometimes means you're a duck and sometimes means you're a quack.

 

Seems like CNY's troop does a fine job of communicatin' when something is a troop event and when it's a parent/child event. A good enough job that CNY understands it clearly, and it seems like the other parents do as well. They also appear to be doin' a good job of doin' swim checks and such. Not sure why everyone's gettin' all riled up.

 

Yah, a non-BSA trip is on either the CO's or the individual parents' responsibility, eh? So what? Get a grip, friends. We have other kids play in our yard and send our kids to birthday parties at the water park without frettin' over predatory lawyers and insurance coverage. Don't you? If it's really run as a parent/child event, with each boy's parent present to supervise, where are all the legal boogeyman arguments comin' from? This is ordinary risk.

 

The only requirement is to be honest and honorable about communication. Seems like CNY's troop is doin' exactly that, sufficient that CNY can make an informed decision about participation. If CNY came to me as a UC, I'd be inclined to suggest findin' another youth program if he/she isn't comfortable with any of the local scouting programs. A boy should be in a program that the parent trusts and can be supportive of. Scoutin' is run by amateurs and volunteers. That might not be a good fit.

 

Yah, and for the record:

 

* CNY's council can make stricter rules than national like requiring a lifeguard on all float trips. Apparently they do. Local councils can also choose not to require tour permits within their council service area.

 

* In the event of a problem, SA really won't help you. As a former river guide, I've yet to see a BSA unit meet the industry norm for standard of care, and that's what's really goin' to matter. SA might hurt you. "All participants in activity afloat must be trained and experienced." Black letter policy, that. So none of us ever take middle school boys or beginners on trips? "All supervisors must complete... rescue training." How many BSA river canoe groups really have every adult and youth leader trained in swiftwater rescue? The G2SS is designed to protect the BSA, eh? It may be used as evidence against the volunteer.

 

Unless, of course, you're runnin' an informal family trip.

 

 

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Yah, thank goodness for nld and eaglebeader offerin' a bit of rationality in the face of all the amateur attorneys on the forum. Quacking sometimes means you're a duck and sometimes means you're a quack.

 

Seems like CNY's troop does a fine job of communicatin' when something is a troop event and when it's a parent/child event. A good enough job that CNY understands it clearly, and it seems like the other parents do as well. They also appear to be doin' a good job of doin' swim checks and such. Not sure why everyone's gettin' all riled up.

 

Yah, a non-BSA trip is on either the CO's or the individual parents' responsibility, eh? So what? Get a grip, friends. We have other kids play in our yard and send our kids to birthday parties at the water park without frettin' over predatory lawyers and insurance coverage. Don't you? If it's really run as a parent/child event, with each boy's parent present to supervise, where are all the legal boogeyman arguments comin' from? This is ordinary risk.

 

The only requirement is to be honest and honorable about communication. Seems like CNY's troop is doin' exactly that, sufficient that CNY can make an informed decision about participation. If CNY came to me as a UC, I'd be inclined to suggest findin' another youth program if he/she isn't comfortable with any of the local scouting programs. A boy should be in a program that the parent trusts and can be supportive of. Scoutin' is run by amateurs and volunteers. That might not be a good fit.

 

Yah, and for the record:

 

* CNY's council can make stricter rules than national like requiring a lifeguard on all float trips. Apparently they do. Local councils can also choose not to require tour permits within their council service area.

 

* In the event of a problem, SA really won't help you. As a former river guide, I've yet to see a BSA unit meet the industry norm for standard of care, and that's what's really goin' to matter. SA might hurt you. "All participants in activity afloat must be trained and experienced." Black letter policy, that. So none of us ever take middle school boys or beginners on trips? "All supervisors must complete... rescue training." How many BSA river canoe groups really have every adult and youth leader trained in swiftwater rescue? The G2SS is designed to protect the BSA, eh? It may be used as evidence against the volunteer.

 

Unless, of course, you're runnin' an informal family trip.

 

Beavah-

 

With this statement you are making an assumption:

 

Seems like CNY's troop does a fine job of communicatin' when something is a troop event and when it's a parent/child event. A good enough job that CNY understands it clearly, and it seems like the other parents do as well.

 

The Troop has done nothing to inform parents the ramifications of doing this as a parent/child event.

The only reason I understand this as I have attended training (and joined the training staff), posted on this forum and asked questions to learn how the BSA program works.

I have also sat though a presentation to a CO by a DE how the BSA insurance works.

 

Most people have no idea how the insurance works or any of the liability issues they can face if something happens by doing thins

With a non-participating CO Im pretty sure they have no idea the risk the troop is putting them in doing things this way.

 

I work with woman whose son just crossed over to the Troop.

When I tried to explain to her why I wasnt going on this trip her statement to me was since the other troop leaders had more experience than her, she trusted that they were doing things right

 

Our council SA training is exactly what is done online with no added requirements (Ive checked).

The CC is someone who took SA, once years ago, is going by memory and cant bother to look what is correct and since no one else has the training they dont know better.

 

In this council the only time a tour permit is not required for a troop is for weekly meeting held in your regular meeting location.

If the Troop decides to meet down the street in the park, the council requires a tour permit

 

So Beavah, from your post I get the impression you are saying as long as a Troop declares an event as a parent/child event you can get around following G2SS?

 

A Troop can play paintball, skydiving and do drag racing and not follow the G2SS by just saying this is a wink-wink parent/child event and explaining the risk?

 

From the training I took, if it is promoted in troop meetings, attended by troop members and run by troop leaders its a troop event, no matter what the Troop or anyone says.

 

I would really have question the integrity of a UC, who coming to them with a safety concern, told me that if I didnt like it, to find another troop

 

Arent we as Scout Leaders supposed to follow the G2SS so youth can do these things in a safe environment and so the parents can trust that we are providing that safe environment and not trying to find ways to skirt around things?

 

This is one of just many reasons why I am trying to start a Sea Scout Ship.

If the troop is going to skirt the safety issues, not turn in tour permits and not follow G2SS and then I am going to held personally responsible if anything goes wrong, Im not participating.

 

 

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