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Thread: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

  1. #1
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
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    Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Deep breath.....

    Lets use this thread to make recommendations or create a wish list of changes we would like see made to the sanctioning / insurance process. I think there are a bunch of good ideas buried in the "stupid people" thread... so I expect a little bit of cut and paste will be in order. Please educate yourselves by reading the relevant documents.

    Peace, love, and positive buoyancy.....

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    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Thanks for starting this Dave!

    A cut and paste from the thread that shall remain unnamed…

    The Open Water Committee is working towards training and certification courses for event directors, safety directors and referees; we’ve talked about boater safety training as well, but we wanted to tackle the big 3 first. And I encourage any interested members to provide feedback on the currently available Open Water Manual,
    Open Water Safety Objectives, Open Water Safety Workshop Notes and Open Water Clinic Manual which can be found at http://www.usms.org/admin/lmschb/?ut...for_volunteers
    I am working on the Open Water Committee’s Guide to Operations sub-committee and I am truly interested in the thoughts and suggestions on how to improve the documents referred to above and how we can get information better disseminated to the event directors, coaches, and swimmers.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    I would like to see in place a way to recognize the variety of OW events available. Ken suggested a breakdown into 3 categories. I like the idea and think it could be expanded on and made into a useful tool to inform participants, and insurance providers of what to expect.

    Perhaps a questionnaire for potential directors could be prepared for that purpose:
    Body of water: Lake, Ocean, River, Other________
    Vessels present:Non-motorized only, Recreational, Commercial and Recreational
    Quality: Fresh, Salt, Brackish
    Currents: Steady, Tidal, Wind Driven, None
    Max Current Speed Assist:_____mph
    Max current Speed Adverse:____mph
    Course: Loop, Multiple Loop, Out and Back, Point to Point
    Start: Water Standing, Water Treading, Beach (sandy), Beach (rocky), Etc
    Finish: In water, Beach, Dock (ladder), Etc
    Exit (if other than finish):

    Safety
    Vessels: Non-motorized only, Motorized and non-motorized, Motorized only
    Nearest Emergency Medical Facilities:_______minutes away


    etc, etc.

    Obviously this is only a rough and incomplete draft, and I think that any such document should be quite comprehensive and include topics that record the experience of personnel involved in the event.

    Additionally, It would be nice if Safety Plans could be in the form of a template filled in by the event safety personnel.

    I think USMS should explore a way to vary the limits of the insurance they provide to sanctioned event hosts. Some hosting clubs carry their own insurance, and much of the USMS limits are redundant. This might be a way of reducing the sanctioning fees???

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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    8 Bridges 2012 - 22 participants.
    MIMS 2012 - 90 entries all relays
    Tampa Bay 2012 - 19 solo, 12 more in relays
    Swim the Suck 2012 - 65
    Boston Light - 36
    Kingdom swim 2012 - over 100 entries for 7 distances, lots of non masters ages.

    There's a lot of work proposed to sanction for such small turnout.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Bendy View Post
    8 Bridges 2012 - 22 participants.
    MIMS 2012 - 90 entries all relays
    Tampa Bay 2012 - 19 solo, 12 more in relays
    Swim the Suck 2012 - 65
    Boston Light - 36
    Kingdom swim 2012 - over 100 entries for 7 distances, lots of non masters ages.

    There's a lot of work proposed to sanction for such small turnout.
    Whats your point? Do you think these events are too ambitious for USMS?

    I think what I proposed will serve all OW events equally. If USMS isn't interested in sanctioning longer OW events they should just say so. I can accept that.

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    Very Active Member thewookiee's Avatar
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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by chaos View Post
    Whats your point? Do you think these events are too ambitious for USMS?

    I think what I proposed will serve all OW events equally. If USMS isn't interested in sanctioning longer OW events they should just say so. I can accept that.
    I would think a lot of work, regardless of turnout, will go along way in providing the all the participants(swimmers,volunteers, and race directors) the safest and most enjoyable experience.

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    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by chaos View Post
    Additionally, It would be nice if Safety Plans could be in the form of a template filled in by the event safety personnel.
    Dave,

    Attached is a copy of the USA Swimming Open Water Sanction Application template, with safety plan. I initially thought it was over-kill, until I filled one out and found it to be very well done. I’d be interested to hear what you and other event directors think about USMS moving to this type of more comprehensive template.

    I think USMS should explore a way to vary the limits of the insurance they provide to sanctioned event hosts. Some hosting clubs carry their own insurance, and much of the USMS limits are redundant. This might be a way of reducing the sanctioning fees???
    The problem we run into is that limiting the insurance we provide events hosts increases USMS’s exposure. For example, a there was a liability claim, the claimant would most likely name the event host, club, LMSC, USMS and anyone else they can as parties to the suit. USMS limiting insurance to $1,000,000 means that if the claimant is awarded $3,000,000 then the other $2,000,000 will be paid by the named parties and not the insurance company. And a judge might split the amount based on depth of pockets and not on specific involvement. USMS is not in a position to be a party to this risk.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Rob Copeland; March 15th, 2013 at 01:55 PM.

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    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    Dave,I’d be interested to hear what you and other event directors think about USMS moving to this type of more comprehensive template.
    Overall, I like the template format. I think it has to be more comprehensive than this one, as I would have to respond "does not apply" in quite a few of the spaces... and I must admit that I think there should be considerably more latitude granted to an event for adults than one for minors since the actual participants will be the ones signing any waivers.

  9. #9
    Active Member Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    I think that the idea floated on the thread that shall not be named to categorize swims based on risk has a lot of merit. It seems that is a clear point of consensus there. USMS should develop this idea and use it to educate their prospective insurers on the actual levels of risk involved in different categories of open water events. It seems that presently USMS tells the insurer that they sanction X amount of open water swims each year when they negotiate a new policy. They should demonstrate that not all of the events they sanction carry the highest level of risk by recognizing them as such themselves. It seems the current paradigm encourages the insurance company to assume that all open water events carry the highest level of risk, that every event has 50 props spinning in close proximity to the swimmers. USMS needs to work to dispel this notion.

    Another idea floated over there was about training. That is another way that USMS can reduce risk in a way that they can demonstrate to a potential insurer. I know there is some controversy around the BSA, but their system of using required online training modules for volunteers is really cutting edge. Part of my teaching load is online, I am familiar with several online learning platforms. The methods the BSA use are really excellent. Every volunteer must take Safe Scouting before they can participate in any event as a leader. Then there are several dozen other modules that you can take if they interest you or if they are required for an event you wish to lead. For instance, you must take basic outdoor leadership before you can take scouts on a camping trip. You must take safety afloat if you want to lead a water based activity. There are many others. USMS could model that system, I can imagine that every escort, under motor power or paddle could have to take an Introduction to Supporting Open Water Swimmers module. Maybe if you want to escort distances over 10K you would have to take a Navigation/Nutrition Support module, again motor or paddle power. Then if you were to be a powerboat spotter you would have to take a module on Safety in Proximity to Swimmers. There could be a wide spectrum of trainings produced to suit a variety of events. The trick is keep them short and sweet. It would take a bit of doing, but if volunteers were registered, a la NYC swim, it would be easy to track their training.

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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    As a race director I like the template idea. Until recently there has been very little direction from USMS with regard to these events.

    When I first got started with my event we had a plan and we always had very adequate safety coverage. I didn't write out a safety plan until a couple of years ago and find it extremely usefull now that it is written out. I did have to go online and take someone elses plan and modify it to fit my swim. The example that Rob posted is very close to what I have in my own plan and I thought it was required to have something that comprehensive in order to get a sanction, since that was what my LMSC required. I would disagree with asking for more information than what is already on that template, but would suggest that adding a brief written description of the event along with a map, safety craft positions etc... so that sanctioning personel will get a feel for how the plan will operate and hopefully cut down on the question and answer.
    As an example my event is an 8 mile circumnavigation of an island, we use four mobile powered boats as dedicated safety, one or two start boats that take swimmers out to the starting buoy, relay escort boats and kayaks. Each solo swimmer and each relay must have a kayaker for safety, navigation and to keep your food. The relay boats are responsible for carrying subsequent legs of the relay and are not allowed to approach swimmers unless there is an emergency. The safety boats are assigned areas of operation and as the area clears they are to move into the next area and ask the safety boat on station there to assign them activities in that area. We try and run the event according to NIMS and ICS. We do all this every year if there are 18 swimmers or 53 swimmers it is the only way to cover the course properly. We have never used prop guards, I don't think anybody here uses them and since it is entirely volonteer group which changes yearly, requiring guards would cut down our ability to recruit skippers. As for documenting experience other than licensing skippers with the USCG its not going to happen and those that are licensed are lisensed to be paid as charter boats not volonteers. In Ketchikan its easy to find good boat handlers but not easy to find someone with a license to work for free (boat could cost 400 -800) for the day. I look for people that are calm and confident, I never want to see a boat speeding into anything, all your going to get is a larger accident or one you didn't intend. As far as medical personel go, I would go with EMT-P or EMTs, their treatment will not change and the patient will be transported properly. A doctor or nurse evaluating people only slows the process down and transport to diffinitive care. Anyway those are some of my random thoughts, sorry about the misspellings.

    I guess what I'm getting at is I'd like to see catagories of swims and most of all templates from USMS that will standarize the information required for a safety plan. I don't think this will fix the problem of added cost that will make an event such as mine affordable. I do beleive that it will help more directors/planners etc... understand what is required and not hide any potential extra costs.


    Willie

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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Dear Race Directors:

    If you had an open water event previously sanctioned by USMS that you've been forced to cancel for 2013 because of these new developments, you are invited to list them on this thread at the Marathon Swimmers Forum:

    http://www.marathonswimmers.org/foru...en-water-swims

    Alternatively, send me a PM and I will list it for you.

  12. #12
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by grumpytuna View Post
    As a race director I like the template idea…
    Willie
    Willie, did you take a look at the USA Swimming Template attached in a prior post? Does this look like a good start for Masters to follow?

    And if you are a race director looking for more participants, then you should use all available avenues to publicize your event. In addition to on-line calendar of events, I’ve been able to get folks to swims by running open water clinics for our local triathlon clubs and stuffing flyers into Tri-goodie bags.

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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by chaos View Post
    Perhaps a questionnaire for potential directors could be prepared for that purpose:
    Body of water: Lake, Ocean, River, Other________
    Vessels present:Non-motorized only, Recreational, Commercial and Recreational
    Quality: Fresh, Salt, Brackish
    Currents: Steady, Tidal, Wind Driven, None
    Max Current Speed Assist:_____mph
    Max current Speed Adverse:____mph
    Course: Loop, Multiple Loop, Out and Back, Point to Point
    Start: Water Standing, Water Treading, Beach (sandy), Beach (rocky), Etc
    Finish: In water, Beach, Dock (ladder), Etc
    Exit (if other than finish):

    Safety
    Vessels: Non-motorized only, Motorized and non-motorized, Motorized only
    Nearest Emergency Medical Facilities:_______minutes away

    etc, etc.
    This is a great idea & a great start, as is the safety plan template. As someone that works for an insurer, the more clean-cut & formulaic you can make the information, the more category-friendly the risk calculations become. If you can stratify the actual risk/probability across categories the insurers will be able to more accurately project the risk being undertaken on a policy.

    It is relatively easy to place a value with a risk quotient to any race - X person = $X. The only things that change (& likewise that can be controlled) are the probabilities of an incident occuring that would lead to a loss. From there it's a matter of entry fees covering the costs. Higher risk events should have a higher entry fee. This should be understandable & they are most likely the higher cost to produce as well.

    Not that it's preferable by any means, but I would encourage RDs & USMS/LMSC to shop the insurance coverage for an event at any given opportunity. That, ultimately, may be an answer to the problem. In our litigous world with dubious definitions of "accountability," things are not getting easier.

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    Re: Ow sanctions beyond 2013

    Its my understanding that USA Swimming requirements would exclude most swims in Alaska. I am the race director for the Sitka swim, Change Your Latitude, and we looked into USA sanctions for last year as we include a 1k open to 18 and younger swimmers. There is a temperature requirement that both Pennock Island and the Sitka swim are 5 or so degrees under. It also seemed to have a lot of water quality testing requirements. (which for lakes and other confined waterways I understand, but for the Pacific Ocean in remote Alaska?) Last year we purchased our own policy for those participating who were under 18, and this year we have elected to secure a policy (both participant and volunteer policies) for our entire event. It is a bit more expensive but not so much so that we are out of budget, I just had to delay the possible purchase of dedicated swim buoys for our course markers.

    One of the questions that I have had going around in my head about the sanctioning and/or recognizing of OW events is the exposure it brings LMSCs and USMS. Our swim has used the logos of both AKMS and USMS to bring a level of credibility to our event, but it also demonstrates the credibility to the organizations that they are present at the local level all across the country. I would guess that the sheer drop in USMS and LMSC involvement in the hundreds of events across the country is going to hurt the stature and PR they gain.

    I really would like to include USMS and AKMS in our promotional materials, using the event as a potential recruitment tool both locally and beyond. Besides the more sponsor logos the better right...

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