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Old 07-19-2010   #41
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Originally Posted by mania View Post
the least maneuverable craft? how do we know if a craft is piloted by someone with skill or not? it sounds to me like the OP didn't have much of that.
You can only generalize, no way of knowing the skill of the people in said craft of course. In general, wouldn't a kayak be more manueverable than a paddle raft, and a paddle raft be more maneuverable than an oar raft? And like I said, being upstream is "more maneuverable" than being downstream all things being equal.

And I wouldn't necessarilly say any pof the parties involved lacked skill. I don't know any of them, so I can judge them on that. I would say the commercial guide lacked any river etiquette, regardless of the time pressures that commercial guides are under. Slow down, let the line clear, then make up the time in a more wide open section of the river. It should have been as simple as that. :Raming speed: was un-called for IMO.

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Old 07-19-2010   #42
Kingston, New York
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 33
Originally Posted by kclowe View Post
Downstream crafts ALWAYS have the right of way.
The standard rule of thumb for paddlers is that the boat heading downstream has the right of way. Until seeing your second post, that's what I thought you meant, but either way there are no absolutes. In many (most?) situations on the river the boat that is downstream of another is the one that should yield. You don't peel out of an eddy or launch in front of oncoming traffic, and surfers (who are basically playing in the road) should yield. It's only when both boats are heading downstream and one is overtaking the other that the boat that is downstream has the right of way.

In case anyone doesn't know, besides generally accepted rules about paddling, there are real laws about the operation of vessels, and your raft, kayak or canoe is a vessel. For the most part, the general paddling rules conform to those laws. About the only exception I can think of would be surfing (or any other play that has you more or less holding position in the current. Under the law, two boats approaching each other pass to the right.

Additionally, there are generally laws about following distance for boats in channels that are too narrow to allow overtaking. It seems to me that the laws on both following and overtaking would be applicable in the situation described.

Originally Posted by loot87 View Post
I'd go farther. If you had a paddle raft and declared ramming speed on a commercial trip, they'd tell the sheriff. I think you should do the same.
Absolutely. If the guide said nothing it would be a simple case of negligence. As the master of her vessel (legally, if not factually), saying "ramming speed" elevated it to assault, and possibly even vehicular assault.

Of course in the real world of paddling we need to be a bit flexible about how we apply the rules, and whether you're in the right or the wrong physics and the law of gross tonnage always apply. I doubt the guide actually intended to accelerate and deliberately ram the other raft, but since she had no way of being sure how every passenger would respond her actions were certainly negligent (in addition to her overall control), and probably criminal.

You don't need to have even the rudimentary skill of a poor raft guide to know that a guided raft full of novices may have very poor control. For other boats that means paying attention and trying to stay out of the way. Still, the rafts have a legal obligation to follow the rules of the road. If they can't maintain control once they're underway, they need to wait longer before getting under way. How bad a guide do you have to be to fail at keeping your raft in an eddy somewhere upstream of the rapid? A few days ago I watched a few guides do that perfectly well with nearly 2 dozen rafts paddled only by their customers on the lower Yough.

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Old 07-27-2010   #43
SummitSurfer's Avatar
Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 435
Wanted to thank everyone for your feedback on this topic.
I'm thinking this was an isolated situation and I don't expect to experience it again.
I'm going tomorrow with some family and anticipate a great day and courteous raft guides on the river.
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Old 09-04-2010   #44
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 16
Last year we ran the Moab "Daily" in 3 days in a large group of (commercial) canoes. We came across a commercial raft group who asked us (from across the river, yelling) if we were planning on camping, and saying how it was really busy, and there were probably some spots further downstream than we were hoping. We knew full well there were 3 spots on river right where we were hoping for. And canoes go faster than rafts generally. We yelled back where we were thinking and that we'd work out something....we spent much of the day with a different raft trying to keep up/in front of us, and as we got to the final rapid, we felt sorry and slowed down so he could go ahead of us.

We did have a rescue in that rapid, and while we were busy, we also saw said rafter drop gear at several of the campsites...and also came across a full-blown kitchen setup at one camp, and an empty tent set up at another. The raft had dropped drybags at the 3rd (and one of the other 2). And not a sole was there.

At least one of the sites appeared big enough to split into 2 groups, plus, we weren't exactly "happy campers" at this point. As we were working at unloading gear, the first rafter came up on us...after some words he consolidated into 2 of the camps, and we carried our boats upstream to the middle site.

This incident was reported to authorities, but evidently at least for that summer was a standard practice for the "daily" rafts to come by and scout sites for the overnighters. Just not cool. I have been around when one person goes ahead and "holds" a campsite before...still feels a little funky, but gear was never left unattended. Especially at 3 sites!!!

Anyway, my gripe. Don't know if the situation has been "fixed" as haven't been down it this year. And some other raft companies on the same stretch were incredibly cool.
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Old 09-05-2010   #45
palidog's Avatar
Frisco, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 55
In Maine, the bumping incident would have been taken care of by sneaking into the offender's boatbarn and spraying armor all on their stearns.
" The Dude abides....."
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Old 09-06-2010   #46
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Farmington, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 707
What does armor all on the stern do.
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Old 09-06-2010   #47
Aspen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 377
It makes the stern super slippery so the guide on back has trouble sitting without sliding around, or falling off. I once did it to my sport bike's seat once when I was detailing it. It looked sharp but was that a stupid and unsafe thing to do.
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Old 09-06-2010   #48
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Fraser, Colorado
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 22
A. I heard about a River Runner guide or two on Brown's doing exactly that to other commercial boats this summer. Certainly they didn't relegate themselves to just other commercial boats. Get a rope.

2) I never put on without a good throwing turkey leg anymore.
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Old 09-07-2010   #49
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 31
Lack of respect

I have been running Brown's for years. True, most guides and private boaters get that guides have a time crunch. I will be happy to get out of the way. Oar boats and paddle boats pilot differently. One guy put his paddle crew into my right side in the middle of Pinball crippling both boats. Then said, "I need speed man". Another gal went for a pass in the middle of Big Drop. She lost two passengers, hit my boat and almost flipped and was then high fiving her crew after the rapid. You don't go for a pass in a raging rapid running at 3400 cfs. There is flat water right after that, I would be happy to get out of her way. She was offended that I brought the matter to her attention in front of her clients.

The bottom line is that this is a resource for everyone. We simply need to respect the agenda of the groups and treat each other with reguard and respect. Do we want "the authorities" to get involved? A bit of respect will go a long way.

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