Jump to content


Photo

Two Different Kayak Safety Bills in Massachusetts


7 replies to this topic

#1 markskipaddle

markskipaddle
  • Guest
  • 41 posts

Posted 22 October 2009 - 11:44 PM

I just got back from paddling in Maine so I am a bit late with this update.

There are two different bills that were both reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security this fall.

The House bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Khan & Rep Strauss.
http://www.mass.gov/legis/ bills/house/186/ht02/ht02281. htm


The Senate Bill is sponsored by Sen. O'Leary.
http://www.mass.gov/legis/ bills/senate/186/st00/st00974. htm


The Senate bill was passed and was sent to the House and the House bill was passed and sent to the Senate. Both bills were engrossed meaning they passed but there was no roll call and most Reps and Senators don't even know that these bills passed.

The House version does not address the wearing of lifejackets but has some requirements for kayak instructors and requires instructors for hire to teach the wet exit before novices use a sprayskirt. It doesn't make any sense for the legislature to decide how kayaking should be taught but as it is written I can't argue that any of the provisions are unreasonable. It makes no sense that sailing, rowing, or canoeing instructors don't have to meet the same standards that kayak instructors do but I can't argue that having kayaking instructors know CPR, or have some very very minimal level of training is unreasonable.

Basically if the House bill passed nothing would change in Massachusetts except some outfitters who currently allow students to paddle plastic boats with nylon sprayskirts before students have practice a wet exit would have to change their procedures. Our current procedures at CRCK do not allow any of our students to use a sprayskirt unless the have practiced a wet exit and removed the sprayskirt while under water.

It took a couple of years but Rep. Straus listened to the issues that kayakers have raised with prevoius kayak safety bills and was willing to make changes to the bill.

Senator O'Leary's office has refused to return my calls and as far as I know has not been willing to discuss the bill with any other kayakers.

The Senate bill is a mess. It requires kayakers to wear lifejackets but not people in canoes, rowboats or any other type of boat. To me this sends a dangerous message that kayaks are more dangerous than canoes when in fact more kayakers wear lifejackets and the boats are generally more stable. Here is a link to a PDF I put together highlighting some of these problems.
http://www.paddlebos...sources/pfd.pdf

The second problem with the Senate bill is that it requires all kayak instruction to begin a class with the wet exit even if no one was using a sprayskirt! If a group of Girl Scouts came to our dock to rent boats we could send them right out. If they wanted an instructor the first thing we would have to do is have them flip over. If we gave them kayaks and canoe paddles they would not have to flip over or if they went out in canoes they would not have to flip over. To me this will end up being a strong disincentive for people to get instruction.

I cannot find a single report of a kayaker being entrapped in a kayak without using a sprayskirt but so far Sen. O'Leary refuses to discuss this issue.

Here is a link to what I wrote a couple of years ago on the issue. It needs to be updated with the bill numbers but the basic info still applies. http://www.paddlebos...s/kayakbill.php

I would prefer that neither one of these bills pass but the bills are not going to go away unless many many more people are willing to contact their State Representatives and State Senators every two years when these bill get reintroduced. Right now the most important thing is to call your State Representative and ask them to oppose passage of the Senate version

When you do contact your Sate Reps. and Senators it is important that you reference which bill you are talking about.

Personally I am not opposing the House version but I have been working to make sure that the Senate version does not pass.

I would be interested to hear what others think about this strategy. Please contact me if you would like more information
Mark Jacobson
617-965-5110


Manager
Charles River Recreation
Weston Ski Track-Charles River Canoe & Kayak-Kendall Square Community Ice Skating
Phone 617-965-5110 Fax (617) 965-7696
www.PaddleBoston.com // www.SkiBoston.com // KendallSquare.org



#2 markskipaddle

markskipaddle
  • Guest
  • 41 posts

Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:58 AM

I forgot to mention that the Senate version of the bill still does not recognize the use of Type V PFDs which include all inflatable, pull over, and rescue vests. While I can't imagine that this would be enforced it still is an issue that should be raised when you call or e-mail your State Rep or Senator to show how poorly drafted the Senate bill is.

#3 brambor

brambor

    Potato Salad

  • Paid Member
  • 743 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Windham, ME
  • Interests:The Great Outdoors and it's delivery vehicles (ski,kayak,bike,hike)

Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:08 AM

Can we lobby the senators to include our NSPN logo tailgate flags in the bill?


biggrin.gif


QUOTE(markskipaddle @ Oct 23 2009, 08:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I forgot to mention that the Senate version of the bill still does not recognize the use of Type V PFDs which include all inflatable, pull over, and rescue vests. While I can't imagine that this would be enforced it still is an issue that should be raised when you call or e-mail your State Rep or Senator to show how poorly drafted the Senate bill is.


Aries, Qajariaq, Nordkapp, Aquanaut, Tango


#4 EEL

EEL
  • Paid Member
  • 2,108 posts

Posted 23 October 2009 - 10:31 AM

QUOTE(markskipaddle @ Oct 22 2009, 11:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Senate bill was passed and was sent to the House and the House bill was passed and sent to the Senate. Both bills were engrossed meaning they passed but there was no roll call and most Reps and Senators don't even know that these bills passed.


Not familiar with MA legislative process, but given the way they were passed in both chambers it seems extremely likely a bill on this subject will be enacted by both chambers and the only question at this point is what provisions will it contain.

Ed Lawson


#5 Brian Nystrom

Brian Nystrom
  • Guest
  • 1,536 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 October 2009 - 05:11 PM

QUOTE(EEL @ Oct 23 2009, 10:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not familiar with MA legislative process, but given the way they were passed in both chambers it seems extremely likely a bill on this subject will be enacted by both chambers and the only question at this point is what provisions will it contain.

Ed Lawson

If the process in MA is anything like it is in Congress, the two bills will go to a committee where the differences will be ironed out, then the final bill will be re-submitted for a vote in both houses. That means there may still be an opportunity to defeat it. One thing's for certain, if any version of this passes, there will be more to come, both for kayaks and other paddle craft. The kayak registration proponents will probably look upon it as an opportunity to ram their bill through as a means to pay for enforcement of this stupid "safety" legislation.

#6 djlewis

djlewis

    Ayuh

  • Paid Member
  • 2,171 posts

Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:20 PM

QUOTE(Brian Nystrom @ Oct 23 2009, 05:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One thing's for certain, if any version of this passes, there will be more to come, both for kayaks and other paddle craft. The kayak registration proponents will probably look upon it as an opportunity to ram their bill through as a means to pay for enforcement of this stupid "safety" legislation.

From what's happened so far, I think that subsequent stuff will be mainly for kayaks.

Kayaking, sea kayaking in particular, is obviously being singled out for attention here, despite the clear evidence that they are much less a safety problem in the end than canoes.

The question is, why?

--David.


#7 brambor

brambor

    Potato Salad

  • Paid Member
  • 743 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Windham, ME
  • Interests:The Great Outdoors and it's delivery vehicles (ski,kayak,bike,hike)

Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:44 PM

QUOTE(djlewis @ Oct 23 2009, 08:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
From what's happened so far, I think that subsequent stuff will be mainly for kayaks.

Kayaking, sea kayaking in particular, is obviously being singled out for attention here, despite the clear evidence that they are much less a safety problem in the end than canoes.

The question is, why?

--David.


maybe we just need to follow the money. If sea kayakers can afford a boat for a grand plus another grand in necessary equipment lthen they could be pumped for further fees.

Aries, Qajariaq, Nordkapp, Aquanaut, Tango


#8 ccarlson

ccarlson

    CarlC

  • Paid Member
  • 673 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Raymond, NH
  • Interests:Outdoor stuff in general... kayaking, bicycling, hiking, traveling, skiing, etc.

Posted 26 October 2009 - 11:31 AM

QUOTE(djlewis @ Oct 23 2009, 08:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
From what's happened so far, I think that subsequent stuff will be mainly for kayaks.

The question is, why?

--David.


For much of the liberty-limiting legislation that gets passed, selected targets are the "easy" ones... typically those with relatively small and/or passive voter populations and no lobby.



Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users