Please follow these guidelines for both CLSA members and other users of Cowan Lake
1. Approach the vessel or person you think might need aid slowly and carefully.
2. Identify yourself. Example: “I am a volunteer from Cowan lake Sailing Association.”
3. If injury is apparent, state your level of training. Example: “I am not a doctor but I have taken Red Cross First Aid.
4. Ask permission to help. “May I help you?” or “Do you need assistance?”
5. If permission is not given, stay in the area and assign someone to keep their eyes on the people involved, unless other vessels are in distress.
6. If permission is given, communicate to the assisted person exactly what you are going to do, and continue to do so throughout. If someone in the water does not have a life jacket, tell them you are going to give them one, and unless they refuse, provide one and ask them to put it on.
7. For children, ask the parent or responsible adult for permission if present. If not present, assume permission if you think it is necessary to help, and locate the parent or responsible adult as soon as possible and explain what happened. Assume permission for unresponsive victims.
8. Do not laugh or make jokes, treat the situation seriously. A minor situation can quickly become a major incident.
9. Remain calm and do not yell instructions except if necessary.
10. If personal injury beyond minor first aid or property damage over $500 is apparent, the boat operator must file a “Ohio Boat Operator Accident Report.” Give them a copy of the Ohio Boat Operators Guide and tell them the accident report is in the back. Get the name and address of the boat operator (s), description of the boat (s), and make notes about the incident to assist a possible investigation. Do not use the Ohio Boat Operator Accident Report form for the CLSA record.. The Club Safety Officer will maintain a permanent file of these records.
11. If you judge the personal injury requires emergency care, get permission, and call 911 for the life squad. If permission is refused, record as much information as is available and the fact that permission to call emergency care was not granted.
12. Remember that when you are on the water, that CLSA provides the rescue service for all users of the lake not just members of CLSA involved in racing.
Please note: The Ohio “Good Samaritan” act relieves volunteers, acting in good faith, of responsibility in giving first aid. In addition to the Good Samaritan act, Ohio law states that “The operator of a vessel involved in a collision or accident, to the extent possible without risking serious danger to their own vessel, crew and passengers, shall render assistance as may be practicable and necessary. Any person who renders assistance at the scene of an accident involving a vessel is not liable in a civil action for damages or injury from an act or omission in rendering assistance, except for willful or wanton misconduct.” But you must operate vessels in accordance with the watercraft law. “Violations of watercraft law that result in injury to persons or damage to property shall constitute prima facia evidence of negligence in a civil action.” Fear of liability is not a reason to fail to render assistance or give first aid.