Initial thoughts were:
What is the purpose of an APA? And why is the formation thereof posted as a sticky on all the international sub forums?
The forum as it stood was , and hopefully will be, unless the APA overwhelms it, a lovely international collaboration of thoughts and feedback about packrafting around the world, although of course the Europeans/Brits have their own forum. It has largely been free of rules and regulations, which allows for lateral thought and extension thereof about how to develop packrafting as a pursuit, from the point of design, and use. It has been a forum which was not restricted too much by legalities.
Some years ago I put up a post about my home made inflatable PFD, made using wine bladders. It was put up as a concept. Soon after, someone sent me a post pointing out that I needed to be careful to ensure that my wording did not suggest people use such a PFD, because I might be held liable for any bad outcomes from using such a design. I took a very big backward step, and reworded things. I hadn’t contemplated the legal ramifications of making such a post.
Maybe naive, but in Australia, we mostly make our own choices about what and how we do things in life. There are a small number of legal firms taking cases on a contingency basis, but generally it’s pay for service in Oz ( in the US contingency fees make a much higher proportion of legal income). In some opinions, this is why Australia is not such a litiginous society ( I am a medical practitioner, and these are also the thoughts of my medical indemnity insurer, which is the basis for my comment).
I would like the forum to stay relatively free of “legal overtones”. I would like it to stay as a relatively free expression of design concepts, without people having to be “careful” about their posts, as per my example above.
Once an APA is formed, it will no doubt require some associated “guidelines”, which are then likely to be seen, or interpreted as “rules”. In the US you may require rules, " so you reduce your risk of being litigated against" In Oz we don’t. My point is that if you guys in the US want or need an APA, have one, but please don’t impose it on everyone outside the US. Start your own group outside the packraft forums. Recognise that people can do what they want to do, and what they wish to take responsibility for.
Have a look through the very early forum posts. Hig and Erin did their amazing trip. I recall that they used sleeping mats as PFDs, wrapped under their rain jackets. Great idea. In recent years Roman suggested thigh straps. The response related to risk of entanglement ( and litigation). We’ve moved beyond this. I recently posted about using aluminium helmets for rafting and cooking. Read the responses. Absolutely no facility for lateral and constructive thought. This is what I am anxious that the forum may lose if the APA becomes a driving force in THIS forum.
I hope I’ve made my point adequately. If not, I’m happy to extend my reponse.
Sent from my iPad
On 25/03/2013, at 1:06 PM, Bradmeiklejohn69 <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I saw your comments on the packrafting forum about the American Packrafting Association and am really mystified. Can you tell me what exactly you don’t like about APA? What are you afraid of? What are the legalities you speak of?
I like to believe that APA will be a force for good and will provide benefits to packrafters everywhere. I will listen closely to your concerns if you will share them with me.
Brad Meiklejohn, President