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AWSA Driver Background check?


Jody_Seal
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I know this web site is designed to be light and non confrontational so John if this gets out of hand please close it.

 

Talked to one of our southern region Directors today and asked how the recent AWSA national meeting went. One of the directives that came out of the meeting is That USAWS is requiring all AWSA drivers to have a background check. Now this is a result of three horrendous accidents that happened in the "Show-ski" Division where at least one fatality occurred. This in my opinion is a Typical knee jerk reaction by the Geezers that are running the sanctioning body. Now keep in mind that as a High school Wrestling coach-volunteer I have to have a screening and back ground check to do so ,,, Not a big deal and understanding that it is necessary.

However each and every one of you that drive tournaments will have to have this background check in order to drive in a tournament from trained drivers on up to Senior level. Here is the kicker they are requiring you as the driver to PAY for this screening!

I know their are a number of rated drivers that frequent this board and would like you to sound off on this new Policy that the Geezers have put forth.

 

Thank You.

Jody Seal

Senior Driver / Judge, Southern Region

 

 

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I believe he is reffering to a criminal finger print background check. I've had a few as an educator. I get why I have them done. I work with kids. I cannot imagine for any reason why one would be needed for a driver. I'd have to hear the background story on the show ski and how having a criminal background would impose an issue. As for paying for your background check, in my cases it was $50 or so. Judges and safety will be next. My guess is this is directly related to liability insurance and the acquisition of it for tournaments. It's most likely standard across policies regardless of what is being insured. Money generally dictates stupid decisions.
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My guess it is driven from the Insurance Company. We have to do background checks on new employees that will drive company vehicles, and one salesman who had too many speeding tickets was an issue until he drove a year without incident.

 

Will this prevent negligence, or just a simple accident or lapse of judgement, no. I hadn't heard about the accident, sounds tragic, but I have no idea what happened, so maybe there was something there that a background check could have caught, like chronic alcoholism or something...

Hard to tell.

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That is really really terrible, I was going to take the course and try to start driving this summer in tournaments, but they can go to hell now. What a huge invasion of privacy, waste of money, and an all around bad idea.

 

This is the land of the free but this would never fly in Canada...

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Pulling your MVR is a lot cheaper, less invasive, and more relevant to the issue then a full background check. Not that I have anything there, but what if some other senior drivers with tons of friends did have something in their past that their friends don't know about, now all the sudden he isn't driving next year, what are people going to think.
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This must be a Global Insurance directed. Show skiing is a different animal than what we do, except for coming back to the dock after a fall and dropping.

 

I do think it would be pretty easy to spot a drunk boat driver in any of the disciplines, all you have to do is look at the path.

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We recently had a driver's clinic here. It was very well done, and only excellent drivers will pass. It's sort of sad of all of the hoops they jump through, just to drive (and sometimes get criticized) volunteering, giving their weekends away, and now this as well? Maybe they'll also make them give drug/alcohol testing before they begin driving a tournament...a thankless job just got more thankless!
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@jody seal now be nice. You know that it is not all jokes around here.

 

Background checks? I would have to hear the argument for.... seems pretty over the top. At a time when we have trouble getting new officials involved.... I am for a zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol but are we going to ask for a piss test before every driver change?

 Goode  KD Skis ★ MasterCraft ★ PerfSki ★ Radar ★ Reflex ★ S Lines ★ Stokes

Drop a dime in the can

 

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I don't think half the drivers I know are going to fork out any cash to drive. How ofter do they have to have these background checks? Every year, two years? If a sanctioning body is requiring it then the cost of the background check should be included in everyone's membership cost, not at the drivers wallet. We need to encourage people to contribute in the tournaments.

 

 

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I guess skiers will be next. I haven't seen any communication from our Driver Committee Chair. Must be in the planning stages. It could take a while. Drivers work hard. Don't ruin it. Maybe the insurance companies will test the Sea Doo/Waverunner group, Bass fishermen and sailors.
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By doing this, we reduce our insurance costs by $50,000/year. And, it's not a "background check" - it's a pulling of your driving record. There's a BIG difference. Please get your facts straight before posting erroneous information. Personally, I don't have an issue w/ making certain someone is a responsible operator of an automobile in order to maintain their driver's rating.
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Joe Nothing "Erroneous" Just relaying what was explained to me by a National AWSA director. And from what he told me it is more than a driving record check though that is included in the back ground check. And we as drivers have to pay for it!

 

Our whole USAWS /AWSA system is broken and failing at a rapid rate and all these clowns can do is bunch all USAWS drivers into one big garbage bag. What are they going to do with the Race division?? Their boats are home built wonders of go really fast technology with no back ground company product liability, The drivers that get in them are not trained to do so except that they have the balls to put the throttle to the peg! What about trained standards for Wakeboard, Airchair,kneeboard, Barefoot! these boats are not even run through a testing process such as what our three event boats go through.

We as AWSA have a reasonable education and promotion and acceptance process that has done a excellent job training and qualifying drivers at all levels. This new policy is a hypocrisy across the board. I am far more concerned with the qualifications of our safety personnel than that of our drivers. time and time again I see at tournaments judges that are not safety trained required to do double duty as the first on scene safety swimmer. Many times as a driver I have heard rumblings from my Boat judge that he or she is not qualified to administer to a skier in need of assistance. I my self at last years nationals was required as a boat judge to wear a PFD that did not fit at all and be the safety swimmer putting myself at risk because of the ill fitting PFD! I did refuse to wear it and required the chief safety official to round up a proper fitting PFD, Had I not he would have been just happy because His ass was covered! or so he thought! I see promo boats show up to tournaments as high as the national tournament with out the basic Coast Guard/waterway's required safety gear.

The list goes on and on within our hypocritical sport and I will be glad to continue with the sub-standards that many in this sport are willing to overlook just to knee jerk and make decisions that are really useless in the big picture!

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OK stop. I should have done this when this thread started

 

What exactly is meant by "background check". We all joke around a lot and some of you get excited.... I do not want to this site to be the source of bad or reactionary information.

 

Darwin, you telling Jodi to get his facts straight is somewhat humorous. You guys are like reactionary twin brothers. Love you both.

 

So can we please confirm the facts before this goes any further.

 Goode  KD Skis ★ MasterCraft ★ PerfSki ★ Radar ★ Reflex ★ S Lines ★ Stokes

Drop a dime in the can

 

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Jodi and I posted at the same time so I did not see his above post until after my last post.

 

Jodi,

I could not agree more. I am sort of stepping in and saying: Lets not tell the membership that there is going to be a anal exam when there is going to be a dmv record required. I am not saying I am for any of this. I just do not want this site to be the source of misunderstand.

 

Bring me all your passion but let make sure we express the facts clearly. (Joe is guilty of doing the exact same thing (maybe worse) about the AWSA budget a few weeks ago)

 

I do not know if you two (Joe and Jodi) ever drink beers together but you guys do sort of act like twins. I at least in terms of passion for the sport.

 Goode  KD Skis ★ MasterCraft ★ PerfSki ★ Radar ★ Reflex ★ S Lines ★ Stokes

Drop a dime in the can

 

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Sorry Joe, but this is stupid. It's stuff like this that just pisses me off. So someone has tickets or god forbid a dwi in their past. How does this equate to a higher risk driving a ski boat. What is the metric that proves that. I'm not paying for something like this, even if it's $5, when I'm not being paid to be a driver. I already give plenty to this sport. I'll go back to ski and flee and not have to spend time and effort helping tournaments out by trying to be the best driver i can be. Also, our boat got used at 8 tournaments last year even though it's not a promo. Hell, regionals put 22 hrs on it that we got basically no compensation for. Yet I went out of my way to get it there for them. It won't hurt Charles feelings any if it doesn't get those hours put on it this year. Cause I won't put myself out by getting it to tournaments on my own dime. Not to mention that what that $60k boat costs us is directly proportional to the hrs on it when it sells. 60-80 less hrs is a lot less Dinero out of our wallets when we true up our demo boat costs on the next boat. So not only does the awsa lose a good driver, but they also lose a boat. Phuck the awsa.
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I see it this way. From an outsider looking in. As much read tape as there may be, the AWSA serves a purpose in our sport and a good one. For them to exist they have a budget to meet. If getting insurance for 50k less helps them exist well, than that's what they do. To many details are unknown to go off like this. But it's fun to read.
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This is a subject that is near and dear to me because I already have an issue with the AWSA's lack of a real driver policy. I'm sorry, Jody.... I have to disagree with you that the current driver policy is a good one. It might be fine for bringing new drivers up, but it is severely lacking in maintenance of driving metrics. I'll be the one to call a spade a spade here and if it offends anyone, I do apologize. Currently, we have:

1. Sr 3 event drivers who are a detriment to those on the docks and skiers in the water because they are so poor at boat handling. I know of more than a few.

2. Sr 3 event drivers who barely drive enough to get enough credits to keep there ratings and are always scrambling when it comes to the weeks before regionals and nationals to drive at tournaments.

3. Sr 3 event drivers who should pay to have the boat guide marks buffed out of the promo boats after they drive

4. drivers who are so large that there is no hope of them unwedging themselves in the event of a mishap or serious .

 

You want to lessen risk, then the AWSA needs to start dealing with these issues. But they won't and they haven't. I know that point 4 above is a sticky subject and guaranteed to offend some people. But if you truly are concerned with the safety of the skiers, judges, drivers and spectators then it should be part of the discussion. I guarantee you that our EVP in the region can put a name or names to every one of the 4 points I made above. Yet nothing is ever done. Until there is a true driver policy with valid metrics for testing the knowledge AND skill of a driver, then requiring a drivers license record for a street car does absolutely freaking nothing to lessent the risks. Why did I get 16 driver credits last year and we have Srs scrambling for credits mere weeks before nationals? It's not like they need dozens of credits every two years, you know. Why is there no requirement for Red Cross certifications for drivers? Why is there no vision exam required. Why is there no medical checkup required? I'm licensed by the NHRA to drive a car that can exceed speeds of 200mph in the quarter mile. They require stuff like that. I can go on and on here. Requiring a automobile driving record just gives the AWSA and Global Marine warm fuzzies, yet provides no appreciable improvement in the safety of our sport for us, it's members. But you can bet they will eBlast us all and tell us about how much they have improved the safety for us and our families. This is just another in a long list of failures by the AWSA and USAWaterski going back years.

 

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Risk Management Committee Initiatives

 Risk Management and Safety Initiatives: ESIX will continue to assist USA Water Ski’s Risk

Management Committee with its various risk management/safety initiatives, including updates to its

Trained Driver Program (including Drivers Rating Requirements, Driver Screening, Educational

Program Updates and Driver Safety Checklists).

 

USA WATER SKI EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES

Saturday, December 10, 2011 / 8:00 AM EDT

During the past 2 years, USA Water

Ski has incurred approximately $841,000 in sanctioned event General Liability losses (with paid

losses of approximately $650,000 and reserved losses just over $191k). At the present level of

incurred losses, this represents a loss ratio (losses vs. premiums paid) in excess of 300%. Here are

a few of the more serious incidents of note during the past 2 years:

-2 fatalities: 1 skier was hit by another boat while performing stunt (claim settled for $1.35 million

of which USA Water Ski’s carrier paid $650,000); 1 barefoot skier hit dock/pier (claim

pending/TBD).

-1 serious skiing accident resulting in member sustaining 7 broken ribs, cracked c4 vertebra,

broken left and right clavicles.

-1 serious skiing accident resulting in member being dragged behind boat with ski rope around

his neck resulting in jagged cut in skin/tissue 7 layers deep and requiring over 150 stitches.

-1 serious skiing accident after barefoot skier hit bow of another boat and impaled

stomach/abdomen.

-1 serious accident resulting in member sustaining broken nose and multiple broken facial bones

when ski jump fell onto him while club was attempting to reposition a capsized ski jump following

a storm.

-1 serious skiing accident resulting in member having his leg amputated below the knee after

being hit by boat/prop.

-2 spectator injuries: in separate incidents/locations, 2 minors fell from bleachers onto

blacktop/concrete; both minors sustained serious head/neck injuries and were transported to

hospitals.

 Renewal Terms: Based upon the frequency and severity of losses incurred during the past two

years, the possibility existed that the carrier would issue a notice of non-renewal. Fortunately,

Philadelphia agreed to renew the coverage for an annual premium of just under $142k, which

represents an increase of only $28k over expiring. Given that losses are currently in excess of $420k

for each of the past two years, this is extremely favorable renewal pricing.

 USA Water Ski Boat Insurance Requirements and “Other Insurance” Clause: In an effort to

reduce the losses sustained under the USA Water Ski General Liability policy moving forward, the

“Other Insurance” provision under this policy is being amended at renewal so that coverage under

USA Water Ski’s policy is secondary to and excess of any coverage available through a boat

insurance policy. In a number of claims situations, the boat insurance coverage was not written to be

primary as stipulated under USA Water Ski’s Boat Insurance Requirements, and this resulted in USA

Water Ski’s insurance policy having to contribute more towards the claim settlement than intended.

 

 

We as AWSA sport group have been lumped in with Corky the clown and other disciplines that the only common factor is a tow boat.

Yet we are being penalized for their losses. Show ski, barefoot, wakeboard, race, air chair, kneeboard combined make up somewhere around 48 -50% of the membership USAWS. AWSA and disabled make up the balance. The tragic events that happened were in the categories of show and Barefoot.

In the early 80's the American Powerboat assn jacked up insurance and made the 40 mph classes pay the same amount as the sub 200 mph drag class. This did not go over well with the small stock outboard racer under 80 mph classes. They took their show in a large % and started a new racing association. This hit APBA hard and it took a number of years for their Geezers to realize that the sanctioning body was floundering and decided to insure as appropriate. And what came of all of this was also a safer race enviorment as all class were then required within to up their safety standards and policy's for each race division. You now see in-closed cockpits far better communications and driver safety equipment.

I think that we as AWSA should not be lumped in with Corky and barefoot bubba especially since their safety and driver programs are far inferior to that of the AWSA .

 

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@jody seal. We are on the same page. John and I discussed this yesterday. Coming out of the AWSA board meeting, I had the impression that the leadership of our organization (AWSA board) just goes along with whatever the umbrella organization (USAWS) says/does. What if AWSA broke away from USAWS? We have 8700+members paying dues of $80 ($696k). We sanction 300 tournaments per year at (Class C) $125 each ($37k). Most of the sponsorship dollars are derived from the 3-event side. I have no idea what that total is but let's assume that it would be another $100k. Therefore, with an income of $780k, could we form a separate organization that would provide the necessary services for our members? One could draw the conclusion that AWSA membership numbers are underwriting the existence of the other sport divisions. And yet, the "stipend" that AWSA receives from USAWS is around $40k per year. USAWS was formed in large part to satisfy the requirements of the USOC. We no longer receive funding from that organization.
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I don't think fragmenting the organization will produce positive results. For example, I ski in 3-event tournaments, show ski, and wakeboard. There are quite a few people like me that cross over many boundaries.

 

I do agree that we need to take a hard look at how we are organized and the rules that apply to our sport. Much of what we have in place is based on a historical tightening based on bad experiences (cheating, injuries, death, etc.) that are not a normal event or risk that we face. Many times it would not matter what rule was in place - there was a tragic mistake or a deliberate act that would have occurred regardless of the regulations. We now are stifled by the burden of excess labor requirements and a qualification process that exceeds the time to earn an on-line MBA degree.

 

As a safety professional, I struggle with this daily. It is very easy to create a new rule or regulation to "criminalize" what bad event just happened. It is a lot harder to provide the leadership and training necessary to bolster the individuals and the entire culture. There are no quick fixes. Everything will be a process that requires judgement.

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Seems an unusual step and unlikely to make events safer, but I get the insurance angle. I would agree with ShaneH that one of my bigger concerns is who gets behind the wheel when I'm skiing. I have been at events where SR drivers (who are also senior citizens) get behind the wheel and can't ride down the center of the course. Do I want to ski 33 off on one side and 37 off on the other? No. But there isn't anything I can do except skip my round. This isn't easy because many of these folks have given an enormous amount to the sport over the years, but they aren't great drivers anymore. From a skier standpoint I care about that more than background checks but, like I said, I get the insurance angle.
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Breaking away has been discussed many time's since the creation of USAWS back in the mid 90's. As stated it was a pipe dream by the Geezers to get the sport into the Olympics, USOC requirements were to get the ball started. The biggest problem we have is we still have the Geezers at the top. They are more social climbers then real business oriented individuals. I would point them out and name them but that would really get Horton going, all you have to do is take a look at the USAWS executive group and pick out the people that were making the decisions in the 90's they are still their. None of the regions have the huevo's to send these people out to pasture nor can each of the Regions stand as one because many at the top of each region are the same Geezers and Cronies that are on the Executive board.

The Charter for USAWS is still a "not for profit organization" when the world is business and profit oriented.

We keep hiring guy's as executive director for this organization that come from backgrounds of other sports that are truly USOC funded and expect them to understand This sport and it vast differences of sport divisions and then try to model after these USOC funded organizations, so far this is not working and our membership as whole continues to decline.

Does AWSA need to pull away from the umbrella body? Yes! even if it is just for insurance reasons!

I still would like to know their approach on the Ski Race division drivers.

And yea we have plenty of Geezer driver's that should apply for "emeritus" status, just ask the 2010 national men three slalom skiers!!

 

The complete board packet I believe is on line and all members should read it and get more involved with the goings on of the organization. If more members read these reports and corresponded with their directors many of these issue would not be grim and we would be building a sport that is more fun and equitable for all involved.

Still cant believe they are proposing to make drivers pay for their own checks.

Done!!!

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It's not only making the drivers pay for their own checks. But what are the metrics that include or exclude a driver's ability to participate? Who is going to be reviewing this? As political and clique-ish as being a driver is in some areas, I see this as a slippery slope to climb. If a large part of the problem is that boats have not been insured correctly and that the AWSA's insurance policy has then had to pay more than it should have, then why hasn't that been dealt with? Why is it not the sanctioning bodies job to mandate that every boat used at a sanctioned event has to have the insurance binder on file at the AWSA or with the Region. It's not like it's thousands of boats. We're talking less than 300 in the US. With the windows scoring having the ability to track a boat VIN, it wouldn't be hard to create a report to find boats which were used without valid insurance on file. Hell, the windows scoring won't let you enroll someone in a touranment that's not paid their yearly awsa blood money. It wouldn't be that hard to add database entries for tournament boats and insurance.
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Exactly, bos! In the last year on the way to a tournament, I passed one of our Sr 3 event drivers(who has pulled nationals very recently) on the side of the road getting a ticket for speeding on the way to the same tournament. I say we ban him from driving tournaments now. If he's shown the propensity for speeding then he must be reckless behind the wheel of a ski boat.
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For the record I am not for the background check. I just don't even want Fennell in the boat when I ski.

I was thinking the same thing about starting a new organization that is much cheaper and less red tape to officiate, drive, etc

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OB, along those lines...... Charles Mueller is in the beginning processes of digging a 2nd lake to ours with 2 motorcross tracks and a bmx track. In one weekend, the goal would be to have the ability to host a Wakeboard tournament on one lake, slalom and/or jump tournament on our existing lake, Motocross race, 4 wheeler race, bmx race, volleyball tournament, AND concert. Kind of a one stop shop for a family weekend as camping spots will be available too. Mastercraft has stepped up to help fund the deal, even.

 

Our slalom lake will be kept seperate of course. :)

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