Boating Safety and Expert Witness: Dr. Robert B. Kauffman
Boating safety is a thread that runs through most of
the career of Dr. Kauffman. Teaching, creating new materials, developing
new models, or conducting research are all contributions that he has made.
If you click on the vita section, you will find that most of the activities
involve some aspect of boating safety. Some of the highlights of his involvement
in this area are listed below.
|Dr. Kauffman negotiating Powerful Popper on the
BOATING SAFETY HIGHLIGHTS
- River Safety Symposium. Conceptualized and
organized the first River Safety Symposium that examined the large number
of river fatalities that occurred during the 1970. The symposium was
sponsored by the American Canoe Association, The American Red Cross
and the Pennsylvania Fish Commission.
- Accident Process Model. Conceptualized a model
depicting the accident process that was used as a foundation for the
film Cold, Wet and Alive and Beyond the Last Buoy.
- Cold, Wet and Alive. The now classic hypothermia
film was made in 1989 by Russ Nichols for the American Canoe Association.
Obtained the grant, co-wrote the script, and did numerous other functions
on the film. Earned a CINE Golden Eagle Award for the film. In a 2005
survey of boating education administration, it was still the number
one boating safety video shown in the country.
- Heads Up - River Rescue for River Runners.
Obtained the grant and was project manager for this second ACA film
on river rescue. Again, it was made by Russ Nichols. The film earned
a CINE Golden Eagle Award. In addition, it resulted in the development
of the Rescue Curve which in 2006 became a model used
in a new outdoor leadership textbook.
- Life Jackets Float, You Don't.
Obtained the grant and was project manager for this ACA film on life jackets. 2009.
- Almost a Perfect Day.
Obtained the grant and was project manager for an eight minute video on the environmental stressors for the National Safe Boating Council. The film earned a CINE Golden Eagle Award. 2012.
- River Canoeing and Canoe Camping Wallcharts.
Conceptualized and designed two large boating safety wallcharts. The
River Canoeing Wallchart won an international award.
- Coastal Kayaking and River Kayaking Wallcharts.
In 2005, provided the background information for two new scaled down
versions of the wallcharts for the ACA.
- BOD - American Canoe Association. From 1998
to 2006 served on the Board of Directors of the American Canoe Association.
Served as Secretary of the Board for four of those years.
- Instructor Trainer. Has been an Instructor
Trainer Educator of canoeing, an Instructor Trainer in canoeing and
rafting, and an Instructor in River Rescue. Most of these certifications are currently out-of-date.
- Potomac River Study. Conducted a study of fatalities
on the mainstem of the Potomac River and found that most fatalities
occurred at moderate (the river is well within its banks) and not at
flood or near flood levels. Most people perceive flood conditions as
being dangerous. In addition, the study recommend a gauging system to
warn river users. A product of this study was the development of the
Drowning Trap. It found that most people were drowning
at water levels that they didn't perceive as dangerous.
Potomac River Study (Part 1) Research content
Potomac River Study (Part 2) Site recommendations
Potomac River Study (Part 3) Site recommendations
- Expert Witness. Served
as an expert witness on over fourteen cases (see listing). Most of the cases involved rafting fatalities and injuries.
At least one case went to trial.
- Boating Fundamentals. Designed, researched
and wrote book Boating Fundamentals - A manual of boating safety
for the National Recreation and Parks Association in 1995. The book
was innovative in that it utilized three elements: text, graphics, and
- Articles. Wrote numerous articles on boating
safety (see Vita for a listing).
- Risk Management Textbook. Wrote a textbook on risk management in the recreation and parks field.
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Kauffman negotiating Bastard Rapids on the Upper Yough
MY PHILOSOPHY - My "carrot"
and "stick" approach
I have dedicated a good portion of my life to boating
safety. I have attempted to educate people on how to do the right thing.
I have created films, books, and educational materials. In addition, I
have taught numerous courses on canoeing and river rescue. This is the
"carrot" portion of my involvement in boating safety and boating
education. On the other hand, some people and organizations need the "stick"
or the threat of a lawsuit to help them do the right thing. I am happy
to oblige them since sometimes the "stick" is a necessary alternative
to the carrot. In summary, I hope that people do the right thing because
it increases boating safety and reduces accidents. However, for those
who don't take this approach, I am more than happy to assist in using
the "stick" to help modify their behavior.... and yes, I have assisted the defense also.
Normally, I average one or two expert witness cases a
year depending on the amount of time required in the case. Feel free to
contact me regarding availability and interest. Email is usually the best way to contact me.
Kauffman surfing on his off-side the top hole in Ramcat Rapids on
the Middle Yough
|Sunset over the Everglades