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Thread: Hovercraft rescue

  1. #9
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    Default Re: Hovercraft rescue

    The potential liability problem is an odd one in many ways. I've had occassion to be deeply embroiled in the BMAA Inspector liability issue over the past couple of years and have been exposed directly to a fair bit of contact with lawyers as a result. As far as I can see, there are a few points worth noting (these are just my views, not a legal opinion):



    1) If an inspection or certification is carried out by what a court might reasonably interpret as a "competent" individual, then that individual carries a duty of care to perform his duties to the standard that might "normally" be expected. The law does not define either "competent" or "normal". In the vast majority of cases, this is left for a jury to determine, based on the evidence presented.



    2) MOT certificates and testing are often quoted as examples of why an inspector cannot be found liable. This is a red herring, as the law surrounding MOTs is unique and provides a degree of protection to the inspector that doesn't exist elsewhere, as far as I know.



    3) Any body that sets itself up as an "authority" can expect to become liable to some extent for whatever it is that it seeks to represent, support, promote or regulate. It makes no difference if the body is a company or a voluntary association.



    4) The standard of proof in court for a non-criminal claim, such as damages, is lower than for a criminal charge. Instead of the jury needing to believe "beyond reasonable doubt" they only need to believe "on the balance of probabilities".



    5) These cases always involve issues surrounding what duty of care can reasonably be expected in each individual case. It's relatively easy with minority adventure sports to put a spin on this in court and make things seem dangerous. The chances are a jury will have little or no specific knowledge, so they may be swayed by arguments about the dangers that should "obviously" have been avoidable.



    Ironically, the more effort put in to regulate by an association, the more likely it will be that the association will be seen by a court as being a competent regulator, which will lead to an expectation of greater responsibility passing to it. This is a double edged sword - if the association gets it 100% right then all is well, if it doesn't then it might have been better for it to appear less competent!



    The US have dealt with this problem by introducing a law that limits the liability of volunteers in recreational activities (the Volunteer Protection Act 1997). An MP here tried to get a similar law introduced here a while ago but failed.



    This is a topic that you only tend to get interested in once you are affected. I did not renew my BMAA inspectors ticket two years ago, as I personally find the liability too much to bear.



    Jeremy




  2. #10
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    Default Re: Hovercraft rescue

    Russ,

    In your case tremble would be more appropriate.

    You just have to have a dig!!

    Please ignore me and I will willingly reciprocate.

    Kip

  3. #11
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    Default Re: Hovercraft rescue


  4. #12
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    Default Re: Hovercraft rescue

    had same thing, had hovercraft ready to use we had floods 2 miles away and in evesham 5 miles away there was serious water. didn't really know if i could help anyway but felt any attempt to turn up and help would have been refused. oh well their loss!!


  5. #13
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    Default Re: Hovercraft rescue

    In all honesty, if they were dumb enough to accept the naive and wildly optimistic offer of help from the average hovercraft enthusiast, matters would only get worse.



    Can you imagine amateurs turning up in unsuitable, race-derived craft with insufficient bouyancy, poor water resistance, no lifejackets etc etc. Standing up in god-knows-what conditions to yank a pull-start "Hang on, just got to fuel her up again mate - got any two stroke oil?" "Don't s'pose you've got a plug spanner?" Constantly spraying everything with water and unable to carry enough to make the journey worthwhile becuase otherwise it won't go over hump....



    It is of course a worthy suggestion that hovers could be of help, but th erelaity would be very different. Having said which, I've no doubt larger, well sorted craft such as John's would be effective. But as the RNLI told me once, they've tried using hovercraft before 'but they always break down' , so its extremely unlikely that any amateur organisation will be called on to assist.




  6. #14
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    Default Re: Hovercraft rescue

    I know I'm biased but Sevtec type craft could have a role to play. The Vangaurd I recently finished has positive floatation, fixed VHF radio carries full safety equipment and so far has been totally reliable. I am not long back from the Cromarty firth where I did a modest 40 miles, carried three adults and safety equipment and only used two gallons of fuel All this out of a 23hp/14' hovercraft.

    As has been said before the issue of insurance and liabilty, training and suitable craft get in the way. Had hovercraft been around when I was a child this would not have been the case, folks just got stuck in and helped the best they could. Perhaps some private hover enthusiasts could get themselves trained up, their craft approved and registered with the powers that be. Then if they are needed they could be called out to help. I don't suppose this will ever actually happen but you never know. Woaw !!! was a pig flying past the window !!!!!!!!



    Regards to all



    Steve H

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    Thumbs down Re: Hovercraft rescue

    Hi my name`s David Beard I'm a trustee of ASRHGB (asrh-gb.com) we were ready to assist contacted ever one from the prime minister's office at the RSPCA the latter were the only one`s to answer but declined our offer we had two osprey 5 craft ready to go and a 3rd in reserve . We were desperate to help but to now avail . You can imagine how we felt when the italians arrived .

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