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Old 04-14-2004   #1
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 30
Westwater Ranger issues with Lotus PFD's

Yesterday I was at Westwater. The Ranger checking me in would not allow me to go down the river with my Lotus Lowrider due to the fact that there is no specification on the PFD that states it can be used in whitewater kayaking or whitewater rafting situations. I needed to use my friends PFD to go down the river. It was also a coast guard approved type V PFD but it stated on the tag it could be used for whitewater kayaking situations. Even though your PFD is coast guard approved it does not mean that the Westwater Rangers will allow you to paddle the river. This could ruin your trip!! Heads up, check to make sure your PFD follows the Westwater/Utah BLM regulations!


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Old 04-14-2004   #2
JCKeck1's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,471
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Whatever you think of Alvin personally, those rangers go well beyond anal retentive sometimes. It can be really frustrating - even the middle fork rangers are willing to chill out a little bit - especially for something as stupid as that. Thank god for dead of winter westwater runs

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Old 04-15-2004   #3
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 30
I know the rangers are just trying to do their job. It is too bad that Utah is that strict on something that is obviously ok and safe. They were looking out for my safety. I just don't want anyone to go to Westwater and not be able to boat due to a technicality.

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Old 04-16-2004   #4
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 112
at some point many government employees evolve into that subhuman status of the bureaucrat. sounds like that dude has made the transition from being to think for himself, use common sense, and take responsibilty for his decisions, and is now a fully certified bureaucrat in a perpetually state of brain freeze. sad story.
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Old 04-16-2004   #5
ski/kayak bum
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
your an idiot! maybe you should give a damn and serve your community the way these guys help to preserve our playgrounds. yes sometimes things go too far but that is no reason for name calling. get a clue. matobs, i'm sure that you are a sad story. don't come boat with me.

PJ---I hear that NF Gunny is running, how about a sunday trip? whatever pfd you want to wear is fine with me!
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Old 04-17-2004   #6
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,892
Here's what is says in the stipulations, Section 3:

"g. a properly-sized whitewater type I, III, or V life jacket (approved on the label for paddling, whitewater, kayaking) in good working condition for each member of the party."

Sounds like the issue was with the "approved on the label for paddling, whitewater, kayaking" part. Its surprising that a whitewater PFD didn't say so on the label.

I've had rangers warn me because the labels on some second-hand Type V PFDs were getting worn and wouldn't be legible with a bit more wear. This was even though the PFDs were obviously outfitter grade and still in great condition with no tears or worn out spots.

Here's the link to the stipulations:

While its easy to slam the ranger for being a stickler, if its Alvin, remember that he's seen a lot in that canyon & he's probably been on a body recovery or two there or elsewhere. Not only that but there may be pressures on him from above (management) to make sure everyone's following the rules to the letter.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-17-2004   #7
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 30
Your correct Andy


I see your point. I am not trying to bash the rangers at Westwater. You are right about the law. Alvin showed me the legal doccument the rangers have to follow. I just don't want others to waste a trip to Westwater, be all excited to boat and not be able to go on the trip. My PFD was new. I had taken it down the Piedra once. I was not allowed to use it due to the fact that the PFD had no writting on the label that stated it was specifically made for whitewater kayaking. Thanks for informing all of us on the actual rules. I should have found them myself and posted them in my first post.

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Old 04-21-2004   #8
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 373
Hey PJ,
What exactly does it say on the back of your PFD? I've got a Lotus P-vest and it says it is a:
Special use device-type V PFD intended for boaters/rescuers specifically trained in its use....... and only as a substitute for a type III PFD.

The only boating related jargon on there is the word boating, nothing about kayaking, but it is a rescue vest. Would the USCG approve a vest suitable for rescue but geared toward recreation (type II sports)?

I am heading down on an overnighter Friday. They've never hassled me before or my friend who boats a Low rider... I know they are picky about condition of the vest, had a friend get a warning for a very small tear in the fabric, but it is clear that Lotus vests are made for whitewater.

We'll see.

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Old 04-22-2004   #9
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 14
Here's my two cents-
I also use a P-vest, so even though I never saw a ranger I was in violation of my permit on the Lower Dolores last weekend. This effects me too.

Most of us use the word boating interchangeably with kayaking. Perhaps this is something to contact Lotus about. Maybe Lotus can post a *.pdf file somewhere of the approval for these jackets. It seems to me that if one were to have in hand a copy of the Coast Guard approval which specifies kayaking or whitewater that a ranger might be more willing to talk. Of course the approval documentation might be many many many pages. Also, Lotus may not actually have specific approval for whitewater use on these jackets. In that case we may be out of luck.

Last year my folks also had a similar permit problem at Deso with a Rio and Lola from Lotus.
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Old 04-22-2004   #10
Spits Hot Fire
N. Cascades, Washington
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 978
ah'ight, I'm curious...I've got a stohlquist brik, it's a similar vest. Does this mean I can't take it either??

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