A different question about clubs

Since several threads pertaining to club/group liability have popped up recently, I would like to pose a new question, or at least one I have not seen mentioned:

Can a club turn down or expel somebody who is doing ridiculously dangerous things despite having been strongly advised not to do those things?

For example, I recently saw an adult paddling a single kayak with a toddler sitting in his lap. No PFD on either person, very cold water (under 50 degrees). Adult was obviously a beginner, and he was dressed in t-shirt and shorts.

I realize that IF this goon were attempting to go on a club trip (either as a member or as a guest visitor), he could be drummed back to shore and told explicitly he was not part of the club outing (which assumes that the trip has a leader willing to make such a statement). But would that do any good if he capsized and got either himself or the kid in trouble? What if a boat ranger/CG had to rescue him? Would they view him as representing the club or would they take him at face value: a stupid parent? What IF he were a member and persisted in paddling with the group, or continued to paddle in this fashion on other trips? Has any club actually expelled someone for being a menace to himself or others?

(Don’t laugh; the attitude around here is that a stupid kayaker represents all nonmoto boaters generally. Too bad they don’t have the same attitude about stupid moto users!)

turn down or expel - - -
not only can you … but i think you should. anyone paddling around this time of year in shorts and a T-shirt, without a PFD and with a child in their lap is a definite liability to your club and all members bear responsibility i’d think. i’m not a lawyer but i’d not want such a person associated with anything i’m a party to.

Nature will take care
of all of us in one form or another. Relax, have a beer, and do what you think is right for you. You needn’t take on responsibility for others. What if noone died in accidents? Think about that…

I don’t belong to a club but
have been to a few an read there “rules” for members , an that would fall under safety and grounds for nonmembership . You could also call the coasties and 911, the coasties could give em a ticket for no floatation an when on shore the local authorities could pop him for endangering the welfare of a minor . The co. I work for , we’ve seen folks at the put-in without pfd’s and given them to them , never had one decline . The past summer I warned a woman and her 8 yr. old not to go out because of wind and wave They ignored me and went out , half hr. later I resued the kid from the drink an towed em both to shore .-the short story

“can” a club
I would think people in a club could do what they want but tacit social contracts usually do the job. I used to be in a club where a member initiated trips where inadequate screening and his lack of responsibility put people into dicey situations. No one died and only a few stitches were needed but “the word” got out after awhile. Good education all around. Other trip facillitators who were hard-nosed about screening got like minded folks and their trips had fewer mishaps. I think the first person was “taken aside” a few times then it sunk in.

What we do
Being a club president myself, I would have a hard time with expelling anyone. We have certainly excluded people from paddles because they didn’t meet our minimum requirements, but we do it in an educational manner. If that doesn’t work, we scare them with horror stories of what has happened to others in their situation.

Most times, people listen & accept the decision, and come back better prepared at a later date. The ones that don’t listen, we never see again anyway. They expel themselves, thinking that we’re a bunch of self-righteous snobs. That’s fine with me.

The goal is to educate, not push people away. Successful clubs find ways to INCLUDE as many people as possible in a safe, sensible manner. Exclusion should be reserved for when there is no other option, and done in as positive a manner as you can.

My $.02


Their club, their rules
I attended a C&C paddle Moonlit paddle once and the host was so anal she made me look liberal (and I thought I was a control freak).

But whenever my daughter and friend complained, I replied, “she is responsible for us all. If someone gets hurt by NOT following her rules, she could loose her home and business so while here, we play by her rules. If we don’t like them, we quit, leave and do it on our own.”

With me…

Whenever anyone goes paddling with me, I insist that they all have a PFD in their boat plus a paddle leash, painter/tow rope, water, hat. sun-screen, etc.

If they are a good swimmer (I’m not), they can have the PFD in the boat but if they are 16 or under or a poor swimmer, they need that PFD ON their body.

Again, these are my rules and I normally do only flat lakes.

When I do the sea or a river, I change the rules and require PFDs on the bodies, etc.

Old USAF saying, “Safety condusive with mission goals” And the main goal with me is to have fun so be safe but not OSHA safe.

If everyone thought as a leader
Don Allen, 40 years plus leading and teaching leaders for AMC taught that everyone needs to think like a leader in order to be a good follower, and in order to know whether the leader is someone worth placing ones trust in.

Most problems in clubs occur because many folks wish to show up, and not think, have someone else do the work, either because don’t know how, don’t want to know, or think kayaking is about zoning out not tuning in.

This makes for big problems. The implicit contract is that we come to each other’s aid. But if the leaders don’t require the followers to think then all suffer and if the followers don’t contribute then it is all to easy to think someone is anal a controller, etc. Geeze, life is short who wants to lead or even just paddle with folks who have this less than constructive energy. There are so many folks who are willing. Those are the folks I most value.

"Leadership happens"
Good post. Even someone who does not consider himself skilled or a leader could get into a situation where he is either a leader or he leaves someone who needs help. It’s a matter of who knows more, not if he is at any particular level. You can call it the blind leading the blind, but in an emergency, if someone clearly knows more than the other, he will likely feel some obligation to help. Unless he has become totally scared off by the spectre of a lawsuit.

The notion of thinking like a leader is good in another way: if you ever paddle alone, you ARE the leader because nobody else is there to show you the way.

Cycling clubs do it all the time
And I’m sure organizations like ADK do as well.

Giving the boot precludes ‘el stupido’ from suing you and your organization for ‘allowing him to do whatever stupid act got him hurt’

Second to that
Our paddling group has usually had someone who needed monitoring more than to be sent back to shore. But yes, in my cycling club if there is no helmet or a persistent set of dangerous habits they are not allowed to ride with us. That includes parents who don’t oversee their offspring on a ride.

But really - it’s a lot easier to ride away from a less than safe person on a bike than to paddle away from an under-dressed person in a boat. The bike rider may go out and get themselves nailed by a car, but is just as likely to go home and get out of harm’s way. The under-prepared peson in a boat could kill themselves. You may not want them back for the next paddle, but once they are sitting in the water the better alternative may be to just keep them with the group, under watch and paddle real near shore.


Just the problem Celia
Celia, just as you say I get torn by this dilemma. If the club

rules require pfd, minimal equipment, etc, and you allow them along, you are supposed to tell them they are not part of the group. If they go off by themselves, more risk for them. If they get hurt and you let them along, even unofficially, probably some liability I would guess. One more reason for not having show and go since once someone is not screened and shows they understandably get upset when told no can’t go.