Understanding of the ACA Waiver & Release of Liability & Medical Disclosure

All schools, clubs, and organizations need to protect themselves from potential lawsuits.  In addition, trip leaders, instructors, and helpers need to be aware of any existing medical conditions that may arise during a class like this one.  If a student/participant has special medicine or medical care procedures, they need to inform the instructor so they can provide appropriate care if necessary.  Liability waivers are a common industry practice and generally provide some protection against litigation.  Instructors should give a pre-class waiver talk even if the waivers were signed well before class.

The ACA Waiver Components:

  • Participation is voluntary.  Everyone is responsible for themselves.  If you feel an exercise is unsafe, don't participate - it is as simple as that.  If you decide to leave, please notify the instructor.  Any risks associated with the decision to leave are assumed by the participant.
  • There are some inherent dangers to this sport that are beyond anyone's control.  We do our best to limit the risks but accidents do happen.  By signing the waiver and participating, you are acknowledging knowledge and acceptance of risk and will hold all involved with this course: instructors, participants, ACA, sponsoring organization, helpers, and property owners harmless.
  • You have agreed not to sue the ACA, clubs, or individuals that make this class possible.  Furthermore, others may not sue on your behalf for damages.  You fully understand and accept the risks inherent in conducting this class and are participating on your own free will.

Medical Disclosure

Discussing medical issues may be uncomfortable, we understand that.  Unfortunately, there are a number of special conditions that may be tricky to diagnose in the field like siezures, heart issues, severe allergies, diabetes, etc.  Fast accurate diagnosis is important to us and your well being.  Some conditions require special medicines like inhalers, epi-pens, drugs, etc.  Make certain you bring whatever medicines you need with you and let us know where they are located should an emergency take place. It is an industry best practice to have each participant complete a medical disclosure form on the first day of the class.  If your sponsoring organization has one, use it.

Here is a simple example of a medical disclosure form.

Although not specifically required by the ACA, most trainers use some sort of medical disclosure form.  The ACA doesn't provide a common one (yet) so you will need to make your own.  As the leader of an ICW (Instructor Certification Workshop), you will need to review these forms and take great care of this very sensitive information.

Challenge By Choice

Whenever participating in an ACA course or event, you will often hear the term "Challenge By Choice". What exactly does this mean?  As a participant, you are free to skip participation in any of our planned activities for any reason whatsoever.  We encourage you to take part so you can learn new skills but that decision is purely your own.  In addition, we instruct all others in our group/party to respect your decision.  We will cover some core skills, like the kayak wet release exit for instance.  Persons that choose not to perform this exercise are not permitted to attach their sprayskirts for obvious safety reasons.  Challenge by choice is but one example that stresses you need to take responsibility for yourself and is a great stepping stone to prudent river judgement.