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#7899
Liability for organizer of group meet-ups?
Rich-D-Fish - 6/19/2013 9:03 AM
Category: Travel
Replies: 10

I am curious from any divers out there with legal experience in relation to dive meet-ups. As I put together many shore dive and boat dive groups, is there any legal exposure to myself as an "organizer" should anything bad happen to a diver at one of these events. For shore dives my part is simply picking a date and location and sending out an e-mail asking if anyone would like to join me. It’s up to the individual divers to show up, pick a buddy, and make the decision to dive or not. For boat dives I go a little further by making a reservation with the boat and collecting the money from everyone to pay the boat with one big check. Each and every boat has their own liability waiver all divers have to sign. It has been suggested by a couple people that I might want to do the same to protect my exposure. Any thoughts?
#1359
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RockRat2008 - 6/19/2013 11:01 AM
Interesting question and certainly something to think about. A running group that I run with just recently did the same thing - The person that co-ordinates when and where we run just said that everyone who shows up for a run will have to sign a liability waiver to have on file for the group runs. I’m not sure if there was something that happened that sparked this all of a sudden but suspect there might have been.


It certainly wouldn’t hurt you and could definitely protect you so I would think you might want to consider it.
#8590
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dalehall - 6/20/2013 7:42 AM
I’ve been putting together trips for the last 7 years and have never had an incident. Never even thought about it until I read this thread. Now you got me thinking.....
#7899
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Rich-D-Fish - 6/20/2013 7:47 AM
Here is what I have done so far. I always bring a printed roster to the boat with me to help remember all the names, plus help the DM on the boat register everyone. I’ve added a signature line next to their names and a body of text at the top of the page I copied for another charter’s liability release waiver. I’m going to have a lawyer check it out tell me if it’s good enough. I’ll report my findings here.
#7899
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Rich-D-Fish - 6/20/2013 7:49 AM
Like a friend of mine told me. "Don’t be afraid of getting sued by any divers on the boat. Be VERY afraid of their crazy relatives who will sue anyone and everyone even remotely involved in the unlikely event of a death."
#4072
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oceanfloor - 6/21/2013 3:16 AM
I never have a Divebuddy sign a liability form so I won’t be asking anyone else that joins us to sign anything either. Other divers are/ or should be old enough to make their own safety decisions.

Although, if your a dive professional acting in an official capacity then you should be insured and all required forms signed.
#7899
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Rich-D-Fish - 6/21/2013 7:09 AM
From oceanfloor: I never have a Divebuddy sign a liability form so I won’t be asking anyone else that joins us to sign anything either.



I agree for a shore dive. In those instances I’m just meeting a buddy in public. But a formally chartered boat in my name is another story. If someone were to have a bad accident on a boat they would probably try to sue the boat and it’s Captain, which is why ever boat I’ve been on has their own liability release waiver. My fear is that when someone goes sue crazy, they do their best to sue ALL involved parties, like grenade effect. Since I’m the one that not only picked the boat, picked the date, invited the divers by e-mail, organized the list, collected the cash, wrote the one check to the boat in MY name.....I think I might actually become a non-direct target. I’m just thinking it would be safer to have my own liability waiver in this instance, just like the boat has.
#1359
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RockRat2008 - 6/21/2013 7:31 AM
From oceanfloor: I never have a Divebuddy sign a liability form so I won’t be asking anyone else that joins us to sign anything either.



There is a difference in diving with a regular buddy or two. I would never ask any of my dive buddies to sign a waiver either.



This question is if you are an event organizer, even in an nonofficial capacity. If you organize a dive trip, even by saying "I’m diving the Jetties tomorrow - Everyone reply who wants to come and I’ll provide drinks and burgers" and 20 divers show up they aren’t all "your buddy". If one of them does something stupid and gets hurt then that could open you up to liability.
#7899
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Rich-D-Fish - 6/21/2013 10:52 AM
Ok, since I apparently don’t have any divebuddies who are lawyers (or at least won’t give free advice), I thought I would share with you all the body of text I came up with for my Liability waiver. What do you think? Would I be covered? Of course the form would be dated, and I would have each diver sign next to their name which would be listed below this text.


I, (undersigned) hereby affirm that I am a certified diver and I thoroughly understand that diving with compressed air involves certain inherent risks including but not limited air expansion injuries, drowning, decompression sickness, embolism, oxygen toxicity, inert gas narcosis, hypoxia, hypercapnia or other barotrauma or hyperbaric injuries. I also thoroughly understand hazards of scuba diving include those hazards occurring during boat travel to and from the dive site including, but are not limited to, slipping or falling while on board, being cut or struck by a boat while in the water, injuries occurring while getting on or off a boat, and other perils of the sea. I understand and agree that neither Richard Forster (organizer), the boat captain or crew, or owner(s) of the vessel may be held liable or responsible in any way for any occurrence on this dive trip which may result in personal injury, property damage, wrongful death or other damage to me or my family, heirs, or assigns that may occur as a result of my participation in this boat trip and scuba dive(s). I, (undersigned), BY THIS INSTRUMENT, DO HEREBY EXEMPT AND RELEASE ALL THE ABOVE LISTED ENTITIES AND/OR Individuals from all liability and responsibility for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death, however caused, including, but not limited to, product liability or the negligence of the released par- ties, whether passive or active. I acknowledge that I have read the foregoing text, fully understand the potential dangers incidental to engaging in this boat trip and scuba dive(s), am fully aware of the legal consequences of signing this instrument, and that I understand and agree that this document is legally binding and will preclude me from recovering monetary or non-monetary damages from the above listed entities and/or individuals, whether specifically named or not, for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death caused by product liability or the negligence of the released parties, whether passive or active.
#5050
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diverray - 7/20/2013 8:44 PM
If you’re doing something that makes you likely to be sued, your insurance company would want to know about it (homeowners, liability umbrella policy?). They may be able to help you with the appropriate forms. You don’t want to get in a situation where you are being sued and your insurance co. denies coverage. As stated above, you will be sued, not by divers, but by their heirs, and defending that waiver could get pretty expensive. The waiver doesn’t really keep you from being sued. It is your defense in depositions, court, etc.