responsibility in a group

4 guides 22 guests -bore you put back in you discuss towing a guest and decide to share the tow w/another guide halfway. After crossin from is. to E shore you are 2nd from lead and group is strung out , yer lookin back to check on group and guide/guest that where gonna do tow , notice guide boat upside down after a bit it’s still upside down so ya stop an keep yer folks goin to front they are alright and gaining on lead . You paddle back to 2nd from rear guide tell em bout drag guide , they say they are alright but you want to be sure so ya go to them and as ya get there ya see guide do an unsuccessful rescue on self ww/asst. from guest. You do TX on guide all ok , put guest on tow , catch up w/rest of group . Question is -is it your responsibility to tell the owner what happened or the senior lead guide ?

My Opinion

– Last Updated: Oct-27-04 11:02 AM EST –

There are some variables:

1. Do you know the troubled guide? Is this a professional who should not have been on the water due to illness or is this a green guide who lacks the skills to be affective? It it was the former I might talk to him or her privately about their responsibility to be working at their best or letting the owner and other guides about any hinderences, before launching. If the guide was just under trained I would talk to the owner or senior guide about setting up some remedial trainings. Hopefuly they can be trained affectively, if not they will fail in front of the owner or senior guide.

2. What was the clients reaction? Were they going with the flow or obviously upset at having paid for a trip with un-prepaired guides? The owner needs to know about this incident if there is a strong possibility that this will give him or her a bad rap or a negative image. These small businesses need good word of mouth advertising. They say that a happy client will tell 3 other people and an angry client will tell 10 other people.

The more I think about it the more I say that you have a responsibility to tell the owner. This a tough business and any outfitter is one law suit away from closing. Maybe this guide can be relegated to crowd control on bigger trips but not allowed to be counted in the numbers of full on Guide.

The Senior Guide obviously should have the responsibility to as well. I don't think it's "tattling", but instead making sure that you are actively working towards providing a safer trip for the clients and a safer business for the owner.

should be standard after a day on the water.

talk about what worked, what didn’t and what you could have done differently. not tattling - learning and growing with the experience.

if it isn’t a standard practice think about incorporating. also, if the guide involved isn’t going to volunteer that info and you have to work with him/her again, your coming forward to owner may spoil any further relationship on the water and animus won’t help future group dynamic. on the other hand, management needs to know. hopefully they have enviroment where they are understanding and accepting and will help with process, if they are any good at all, they understand that sometimes, things happen. we are all always growing whether we understand and accept it or not.

Reporting process
I would suggest it should be the lead guide to submit an incident report and the owners should act on this report to ensure adequate training is maintained for all guides. As “you had to be there” It may have been significant if the conditions were anything but calm.

Thanks Toph
Ya know I was gonna mail ya privately on this one , but then thought it would be interesting to hear a bunch of opinions . Durning pre-trip no talked about bein “off” in anyway . I did NOT do what I usually do when paddling w/someone I have never paddled w. And that is to find out what kind o skills they feel they have . This was not done as I had paddled w/the 2 senior guides before and the guide is an outdoor professional . And that’s wrong too , cause it doesn’t really tell ya what field they are versed in . The guide was the one that said the guest was gonna need a tow before we went back , I did ask em if they had the capibility to tow and they did reply YES. On the way back I did question em about the whole thing and found out why it didn’t work . Also explainin to em why an the proper way .Me being a occassional guide for that outfit I did not go thru the usual motions of a debrief afterwards as I would usually do with the staff and outfitter that I paddle for primarily . The ole "they do things differently " here an I’m just a fill in .

thanks all
earlier in the season I was invited to a procedure meetin they had , my suggestions of (and my own trip log sheet ex. ) a trip log and debrief after was poopooed away by 1st an foremost their senior guide , an yeah he’s a BCU card holder instuctor . An the owner as well let it be so , but again if the lead ain’t gonna report it then havin a trip sheet don’t matter . Sorta like me being the only one on the water w/his vhf on .

huh…all my training experiences within the BCU have included a post paddle debrief as part of the process.

even when we do a paddle that isn’t training specific, if we don’t have a formal debrief, we go get lunch, dinner and a beer or whatever and discuss the day.

Your role is not clear

– Last Updated: Nov-02-04 9:30 AM EST –

Were you a guest, a guide, a quasi guide, is this just not clear from the messages or was this not clear in the actual situation. Maybe that is why you are having less than clarity about your responsibility.

If one of the guides, you must discuss with the owner or you will at the least create reduced trust, levels of secret keeping that will blow up latter, and make it harder for all to learn from the choices made. If this org cannot tolerate hearing the facts and being constructive the owner and guides all, not a good place to work or be a guest at.

If a guest, it depends on your feel for how genuinely able the owner is to hear you and deal with it. I have had great and less than great experiences with this. On instructional course last year off Maine, I was asked by owner about a situation, he sounded sincere, I was tactful but he really got in my face, it became a pis.....contest with him and I left with a very bad taste in my mouth. Be careful.

From what you have shared it is not clear how well it was dealt with, except do you know that the owner got the truth the whole truth and nothing but?

pissy outfitter?
what outfit in maine were you with?

more clarity
From what I’ve read if I was a customer with your experience I’d contact the owner. If I was a quasi employee helping out then it would be a confirmation of the previous experience where customer feedback forms or incident reports aren’t used.

I’m not a good writer but your description is kind of sketchy as to what your role is and what the 4guides hierarchy is.

I’d be curious why one of the “guides” dumped it.

My short experience with two tour companies as a “helping employee” and as an instructor is that there can be a supplemental employee to the ACA guidelines of one guide to ten clients that can often complicate a decision making hierarchy where company policy and tone is communicated.

I have heard of and met guides for flatwater protected trips that were NOT experienced in rescues in open water. I have seen trips started by experienced guides and friends ‘helping out’ then in subsequent trips turned over to less experienced guides with less help/access to “guides in training”. It’s the latter scene that starts the constellation of tiny steps leading up to an accident report.

Feedback forms for customers on 3x5 cards is useful. Regarding a post trip review I think that’s a natural thing to occur when driving back with another employee you’re car pooling with but if there’s NOT a procedure for it except in the context of an accident report then a LOT of feedback will get lost with changeover in employees. A particular trip could be in the brochure for a few years but if there’s not the same continuity in employee training,documented review/feedback as there is marketing glossy brochures things can get,sloppy.

it’s not fair to businesses and employees responsible for this anecdote to use a public forum because we weren’t there,I’d suggest an e-mail.


– Last Updated: Nov-02-04 9:30 AM EST –

Lee I agree that is why I did not specify