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Thread: what do you think??

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Default what do you think??

    So here is our problem, on some of the split party trips that I have run this summer there have been some fishermen that have preexisting health / age conditions that have prohibited me from fishing where I wanted to becasue I was concerned that they would not be able to safely fish. In these same conditions, anyone who was healthy would be fine. So the question is:

    Can I have some kind of waiver that explains that halibut fishing in the ocean requires some basic level of strength and wellness? Any suggestions on how we can educate potential customers on what is physcially reqired to enjoy an ocean halibut trip in the Gulf of Alaska?

    I would hate to have someone who is not fit to be on the boat fall and hurt themselves but on the otherhand I don't want to discriminate against anyone or make it seem like we are fishing in a rough, dangerous ocean all the time.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    So here is our problem, on some of the split party trips that I have run this summer there have been some fishermen that have preexisting health / age conditions that have prohibited me from fishing where I wanted to becasue I was concerned that they would not be able to safely fish. In these same conditions, anyone who was healthy would be fine. So the question is:

    Can I have some kind of waiver that explains that halibut fishing in the ocean requires some basic level of strength and wellness? Any suggestions on how we can educate potential customers on what is physcially reqired to enjoy an ocean halibut trip in the Gulf of Alaska?

    I would hate to have someone who is not fit to be on the boat fall and hurt themselves but on the otherhand I don't want to discriminate against anyone or make it seem like we are fishing in a rough, dangerous ocean all the time.
    You already know this, but the captain is responsible for everything and everyone on board. What you are proposing would be nice, but don't you have the right to refuse your services to anyone anyway? Just don't let them on the boat if you don't think it is safe and prudent. I know that is easier said than done. And also consider how you would feel even if you did have some kind of waiver and you take the 86 year old man in your care out into the open gulf in 8 foot seas when you can't even walk across the boat and he gets hurt? Or worse yet, you have to jump in and rescue him. I understand where you are coming from though and hear your frustration.

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    Member anticipation's Avatar
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    what are we talking about here, because i know many older people who can fish just fine

    i think it is kinda on the customer to know thier limits, they should knw whether or not they are gonna be able to handle a fish, but this is why i ask what you are talking about age or health as in like bad back or what?

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    I am talking about fishermen who are incapiable of fishing due to some physical condition like bad back, neck or joint problems or old age. Whatever condition that might make someone rethink going out in the ocean on a 12 hour halibut trip.

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    I think I heard about a Homer based charter that specialized in longer, farther out charters for bigger fish. I think this is fine, especially if it is part of your booking process and advertising. I think it would be a poor practice to reject people at the docks when they had booked a trip and planned on going out on a certian day. It may be even more reasonable if you were teamed up with another charter more suited for less able customers and could direct them to them, such as someone with electric reels and shorter trips. I know there was a Kenai guide that specialized in trips for the disabled, although I have not seen him recently.
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    That is a difficult situation. As much as possible I would set up your boat so you can accomodate the folks that are going to be at risk. For the last few years of my dad's life, when he was very unsteady on his feet, I would just park his butt in a seat, and he would stay there for the entire trip. The only extra effort for me was to get him a sandwich and a cup of coffee. Fold out seats, grab rails at a comfortable height, foam padding on sharp corners, etc. will help.

    I don't know if a waiver will help you legally, but I wouldn't have any problem signing it and I don't think any reasonable person would.

    I think you are 100% covered with anyone that has been on the ocean, but I don't think there is any way to educate a hard core fly fisherman from Idaho about the difficulty of fishing in 8 by 8 conditions.

    Big_E

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    That's the big issue, not just liability but it is hard to tell some 84 year old guy from Kansas, who saved his whole life to fish in Alaska for halibut and salmon, that he can't go because he has arthritis. Guess I will just do what I always have, and try to keep everyone happy

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    Not only should this apply to salt trips, but also freshwater.
    An example I personally witnessed: Three older gentlemen were on the Upper Kenai red fishing. Getting out of the drift boat was a challenge for one of them to say the least. Said older challenged gentleman hooks up on a medium size red. Next thing you know he is being pulled and staggering out into deeper, swift water. Luckily the guide was nearby to literally grab him by one arm & around the waist and drag him up to shore. Without the guides help, that guy was destine to be a Kenai River statistic.

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    Capt
    What you could do is offer two kinds of trips (one and inside calm water type of trip and the other a no holds barred trip).
    Just spell out what is expected of the customer and the type of weather/seas etc to be expected.
    You can set it up to have several easy trips per week and a couple of the more hardcore trips per week.
    You can also adjust scheduling depending on bookings.
    This will give you the chance to make everyone happy.
    It is not written anywhere that you can only offer one type of trip.
    Just a thought.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRIFTER_016 View Post
    Capt
    What you could do is offer two kinds of trips (one and inside calm water type of trip and the other a no holds barred trip).
    Just spell out what is expected of the customer and the type of weather/seas etc to be expected.
    You can set it up to have several easy trips per week and a couple of the more hardcore trips per week.
    You can also adjust scheduling depending on bookings.
    This will give you the chance to make everyone happy.
    It is not written anywhere that you can only offer one type of trip.
    Just a thought.
    I totally agree with Drifter 016. It seems that if you make it clear during booking that there are two types of trips offered.
    For the one trip people need to sign a waiver saying they are physically fit enough to handle the open ocean conditions in less than ideal conditions. The other trip could be for people who want a more tame experience of fishing in protected areas. Of course I am not sure how many folks would admit they need to stay in protected waters. It would really take good communication up front to make it work well.

    I applaud your effort though to help the folks who otherwise may not make it out. We will all be there someday and we will all probably have a trip or two that are beyond our capabilities before we realize/admit that we cannot do it anymore.

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    I rent out apartments in my second (semi-retired life) and I think that "discrimination" is not a legal issue with regards to their physical ability to take the trip. This is qualification not based on race, creed, national origin or sex, it is a valid saftey concern for the customer and actually your crew. As far as ADA and reasonable accomidation of business to meet the needs of the handicap population compairing your business to that of a cruise ship is very different. What you do is more like adventure based travel and I believe that those outfits have people sign legal liability waivers disclosing that there are physical requirements and increased risk in participating in that kind of that activity.

    In your case it is tough to know where to actually draw the line but as for myself I would probably turn down the guy who is 79 years old, overweight with supplemental oxygen because of emphysima and has had 5 previous heart attacks. You might offer a July & August silver salmon fishing in the bay type of product, but if you do that do you add an EMT/Nurse as part of the crew? If you did that would it change the amount and type of insurance that you would have to purchase?

    Interesting problem, the business is probably there, but older disabled people with the money that want an Alaskan adventure, what will it cost to accomidate them and what additional business risk is there in expanding the market of potential customers?

  12. #12

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    There's a Valdez charter outfit that says on their website something to the effect of "People with back or other physical problems are not encouraged to take this trip" and they indicate they fish some 3 hours from port in the GOA. I'm not sure of the exact wording, but I think I get their meaning right. The don't exactly mince words, either. My take from your comment, Andy, considering that I'm the other half of that "mixed party," is, how about the guys expecting you to "go where you (the captain) want to go" as you say yourself you were prevented from doing? I think it's entirely prudent to have up front on your website something stating the likely or even possible rigors expected with a 12-hour day of halibut fishing. You have a big boat. It can safely stand some fairly heavy weather. It might be uncomfortable, but safe and plenty productive.
    "The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing" Assyrian Tablet 2000 B.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    That's the big issue, not just liability but it is hard to tell some 84 year old guy from Kansas, who saved his whole life to fish in Alaska for halibut and salmon, that he can't go because he has arthritis. Guess I will just do what I always have, and try to keep everyone happy
    On the other hand Andy its not cool for a guy from Utah or what ever to not be able to have a crack at the really good fishing because some one is not able to handle the conditions. Thats not right either. I would make it clear what you are going to fish and where when you book. I would not be happy to stay inside the bay when i paid to go with you because of your rep for big fish and not get a crack at them. Not an easy question to deal with

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    I Saw what Dave Wiley put on the Orion Charters website and wil work on something a little more specific. I talked to Nik today and we are going to add some content to our website and our confirmation letters stating something like "Our halibut trips venture into the Gulf of Alaska, were we can encounter adverse sea conditions. If you have some preexisting physical condition that will prohibit full particpation in this type of trip, we would be happy to assist you in finding a more suitable fishing trip" and "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone that appears to be unable to meet the minimum physical requirements of an ocean halibut trip" Or something like that.

    That way if someone "forgets" to mention that they can't stand up on a boat or something, we can refund their money and avoid taking someone out we shouldn't.

    Ironically today, as I was punching through 7 footers at Cape Res, a guy came up to the wheelhouse and told me he has an irregualr heart beat ( Afib) I asked him why he was telling me know? He said he forgot to mention it before we left....He did live to tell about today but that is exactly the kind of thing We need to know about before we go out into 7- 8 footers and 20 knots of wind....

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    Spent most of my formative fishing years accompanied by my aged step-grandfather. He blew a gut out on a CCC labor project back during the war and never really had good trunk strength or balance. Our boat was small - 20' and we were fishing off the west side of Vancouver Island. We about had to tie him into a deck chair out back when things were bouncy and hand him the rod. You could tell he was just suffering whenever we were running in bouncy water. We'd seal him up tight on the back deck for the bumpy ride out sometimes because the ride is better out there, but really splashy. He'd be sitting in a deck chair and all you could see through the hole in the front of the raingear was his nose poking though. He was tougher than hell and knew what he was getting into - we couldn't keep him away from those trips.

    All this to say, I feel your pain, and wish there was an easy answer!

  16. #16

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    I used to help a friend of mine in Calif. by crewing with him on a charter boat out of Fort Bragg. One trip a couple showed up with a young kid in a wheel chair, the Captain decided to let the kid go as the Ocean was fairly calm that day, after everyone helped the kid on board the parents left, the Captain thought he was with some people that had helped him on the boat. The Captain and Crew did not realize until half way through the trip that the parents had left the kid on the boat in a wheel chair by himself. The poor kid was sick as a dog the whole trip. The Captain really lit in to the parents when we got back to the dock.

    Robert

  17. #17

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    As someone already stated, I would think about putting on your web site (as well as any hard copies of literature, or on any agreements that you may have that customers already sign) that the type of fishing that the charter customers will be doing and the environment in which they will be doing it can be strenuous. Maybe have them sign off that they've read and understood this. Then just go where you'd normally go fishing. If someone says they can't handle it because of a disability, then they knew what they were getting into beforehand. Maybe you could spend part of the time fishing where the water was a little better. But people who go on a charter who are willing to put up with the physical part of it, they shouldn't be short-changed because someone else can't handle it. I mean, if a few people on a charter are seasick and can't fish, does the charter head in to better water where the fishing isn't as good? Or do they just not fish and those who can fish, do? I'd just hate to see people held back because of a few. Guess I've been on charters where I've puked my guts out but just kept on fishing and wouldn't think of asking the captain to go to calmer waters where the fishing wasn't as good.

  18. #18
    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Hey windvane, a charter boat out of Ft Bragg? Bragg isn't anywhere near the ocean. Where did you guys launch from?

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    The first physical test for should be whether or not they can get down the ramp at low tide in the rain without assistance and without taking a digger.



    I was recently out on a trip from Seward and we had two older gents on board, both with back problems, grimacing in pain through the waves around the cape...they didn't complain and didn't slow us down or keep us from getting where we were going, so they passed.

    It's a tough situation for you skippers and operators. It's also kind of tough for the customer, because they may be fine in 90% of situations, but you just never know what you're going to hit out there. They probably would opt not to tell you about a condition rather than miss a trip.

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    Capt,
    For what it's worth, as it relates to a fishing operation, I was told many years ago by my attorney that , in Alaska, no operator can exempt himself from liability, nor can any client waive an owner's liability. I'm not an attorney, and don't know what the liability laws are now.....maybe someone on this site is, and can provide current legal info for Alaska. I do know that I regularly sign liability releases in the lower 48 for hunting(mainly New Mexico and Colorado), but don't know if they have any legal force and effect in those states. I sign them because I want to hunt with the outfitters that require me to sign them!!
    Your very real concerns are whether you can keep everybody safe, while providing all with the trip and experience you want to provide. About all you can do is what you are already doing..........explaining to someone that appears to have an issue what they can expect as far as physical challenges, and let them make the decision before getting aboard.
    I'll pass along a personal experience I had out of Seward with a very well known operator. On a VERY rough outing into the gulf, a distinguised lady became SEVERELY seasick. She finally asked the captain to leave the wheel, and come back to where was sitting. She then demanded that the skipper pull over to an island, and let her off the boat. He explained that it was too rough to get her ashore, and that the water would be getting better. About 5 minutes later, she hollered up at the skipper again, and demanded that he come back again to speak to her..........whereupon she DEMANDED that he SHOOT her!! This is really a true story! The captain, upon hearing her new demand, very calmly said to her " I'm very sorry ma'am, but I only have enough shells for halibut ". Classic!

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