Friday, August 14, 2009 4:32 AM
While I have a history of letting pretty much anyone that asks, go on a trip, for the groups safety, I've been pretty insistent on having at least a minimal level of safety skills demonstrated prior to sign up for Experience Required Trips.
By Demonstrating your self rescue (float, cowboy or roll) it reduces the amount of stuff you have to learn during an incident and reduces the likelyhood that you'll take the rest of your friends out as they try and help. Compared to more formal kayak groups such as the Mountaineers or Washington Kayak Club, we're pretty loose on qualifications to go on trips, compared to other meetup groups we've managed to avoid permanent injuries or death by skating kind of a middle ground on paddler qualifications.
Since none of our trips are professionally guided, I try to keep the ratio of people I trust to help lead, high enough for the groups safety. I do this by either upping the number of assistant organizers, by requiring experience or by keeping the head count down.
While it's pretty easy to do by simply reading the information I post and I don't own the Puget Sound, people jumping into the trips by just reading the information I post and not meeting the qualifications or going through the RSVP process can increase the risk to the other members of the trip, because now we have to deal with your safety whether we want to or not, we may chose to deal with it by cancelling the trip, changing the route, or other methods, any way we do it it's a headache and it's not fair to the people that took classes, demonstrated skills and RSVP'd.
While I have successfully rescued multiple capsizes of people not on my trip while on trips in the past, it's not very fun and I really don't want to be in a position of having to do it again. My skills are fairly marginal, and I have mainly depended on strength and fitness in the past, which I really don't have now.
So please respect the safety of the other group members, develop your skills, demonstrate them and sign up for trips using the RSVP process as we have designed it, or plan your own trips and don't overlap ours.
Respectfully and with a little frustration - Saul