We all know that the sport that we partake in can have its dangerous edge. Sometimes we forget that the majority of the non paddling public look to us as having something alittle haywire upstairs, warrior like even. This is great whilst talking up your favourite run in the pub or place like this.
These non paddling"Lemmings" see people paddling rivers with no helmet or no BA and dont think of it to much. Until we have a drowning. Then all of a sudden the MSA and its counterparts are halfway up someones colon trying to put blame where it most probably shouldnt be, all because the general public has seen that these White Water Paddlers have slack attitudes to saftey. This starts the investigation gauntlet and we have unneccesary scrutiny from outside sources who WILL in time put uncalled for over the top rules and conditions in place that will make our sport less enjoyable and accessable. Just look at what happened to the rafting industry in NZ.
Think about this example:
Your mate paddles a section with no helmet. You lead the team. He hits head and passes out. Drowns in about 3 minutes. You were aware that he didnt have his helmet and didnt try to stop him from paddling without it. Now at the inquest to his drowning they tell you that you were negligent in that omission and allowing him to enter the river they now intend to charge you for involentary manslaughter.
This is a big stretch but is possible (Vicarious Liability). At the moment we are looked upon as having a dangerous sport and take precautions to lessen the danger of serious injury or death.
Lets keep it that way. We dont need to look like cowboys. It still looks cool to get the good run wearing a helmet and BA. (Especially to those that dont paddle)